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Marketing: In and Out of the Office

After having a few conversations with some friends, a subtle challenge with external marketing has consistently emerged that creates a barrier between our desire for successful external marketing, and its effectiveness.  It comes down to whose terms are you on.

When people are in your office, they are there on your terms.  You have an opportunity to mold and shape their experience.  Questions can be answered.  Concepts can be shared. Concerns can be addressed.

Outside your office, however, is a different matter.  Now you are on their terms and their concepts.  You have little to no control over their perceptions, impressions, or understanding.  Communicating the value of your services is more challenging when you are removed from the equation.

Essentially you have two options to address this challenge.  First, you can attempt to educate and reposition them on a new concept about you, chiropractic, or your services.  For example, you may want to encourage children to have better posture in your advertisements.  While this seems obvious to us why we are talking about it, the public may not perceive us as taking care of children, in general, and can lead to misunderstandings and ineffective results.

Changing perception externally requires persistence, consistency, and patience. And it can be expensive and ineffective to accomplish.  For example, KFC spent millions of dollars telling the public that they have grilled chicken too.  While true, and consistent with their main ingredient, the campaign was largely seen as a failure.  There are a variety of reasons it didn’t work, but, mainly, it was because the public wasn’t expecting or ready for that change.  They knew what KFC was, and they weren’t going to change.

The second option for addressing the challenge is to meet the public’s expectations where they already are.  Embrace their language and their concepts of what chiropractic is.  Provide them with a safe and comfortable environment to have their perceived needs met.  I find this process helps set people at ease because they are engaging with me on their terms and are more comfortable with it.  Once they are in the office, now you have an opportunity to address other issues and work on educating them more efficiently and more cost effectively.

By the way, the vast majority of the public views chiropractors as being able to help back pain, neck pain, and sometimes headaches.  Right or wrong, that is where they are at.  Obviously we can do more to help them, but, given our limited marketing budgets, it is cheaper and easier to do it in office, than out.

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