In my last article, I discussed the definition of marketing. Here’s a quick review of that information:
- Marketing is NOT advertising. Advertising is what you do when you have finished the marketing process. It is the HOW of the equation. How do you spread your message? Advertising!
- Marketing is the WHAT, WHO and WHY of the equation. It is the process of refining your message to be highly targeted, valuable and important to your target customer.
- Remember, your target customers NEVER buy products. Rather, they buy solutions to problems that matter to them. If you are offering a product instead of a solution, you’re destined for failure.
Why it’s called “Marketing.”
Marketing is not something you can hold in your hand. It’s not a tangible thing like a business card or brochure. It’s not an event, web page or billboard. I hope that by now you’re seeing marketing as a process.
It’s called “marketing” because it’s the process of understanding, defining, and targeting your market. Just as “shopping” is the process of going into shops to seek something, “marketing” is the process of examining your market to seek the best way to approach your target customers.
Since marketing is a process, it’s difficult to buy it. Oh sure, you can hire a marketing firm or consultant, but in my experience many of those are simply advertising people. They will try to sell you on advertising and promotion first, and worry about the message second. Advertising first is the wrong approach!
Marketing is a process best done YOURSELF!
Only YOU know your strengths, weaknesses, goals, interests, and therefore only YOU can craft the correct What, Who and Why components of the message.
But this doesn’t mean you have to do it alone.
The best help comes from someone experienced in the marketing process who can ASK YOU THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. By guiding you through the question process and helping you refine your answers, the capable marketing consultant really becomes a coach and leads you through a process that YOU ultimately control.
Consultants try to do it for you; coaches help you do it yourself. Consultants create dependence; coaches create independence. By now, I’m sure you can guess which one I am.
So I’m going to ask you some questions. You’ll recognize these questions from the last report. Please spend some time on each one, and answer as honestly and thoroughly as you can. The better your responses, the better your results. OK?
First let’s identify the problems you solve!
Remember, nobody ever buys a product. Customers buy SOLUTIONS to PROBLEMS that MATTER to them. The more important the problem, the more valuable the solution.
So the first question you must answer is this: What problems do you solve that matter to people. Each of the underlined items is important.
Problem: It must be a problem, and not just a wish. I may wish to win the lottery, but that doesn’t mean I have financial problems. I may wish to be 10 pounds lighter, but that doesn’t mean my weight is a problem. A problem is something that NEEDS to change.
Solve: This means you have a very high likelihood of providing the outcome the customer wants. This is not a “we’ll give it a try and see what happens” situation. You need to be confident that you will actually SOLVE the problem in the way the customer wants it solved.
Matter: The problem must matter to the customer; it needs to be important. For example, I occasionally have elbow pain. It’s not severe, and it doesn’t really keep me from doing things I want to do. So though I have a problem, and you can solve it, it really doesn’t matter enough to me that I’ll pay for the solution.
Specific: One more thing. Make the problems specific. Don’t say “Pain.” That’s WAY too general to target to a specific audience, since pain is universal to the human condition. Everybody has pain from time to time, but it’s hit and miss whether your potential customer has pain right now.
Instead, say chronic shoulder pain. Knee pain. Migraine headaches. Something very specific. And remember, you treat a lot more than just pain. Choose from the full panoply of problems you help.
OK, got all that? Let’s get to it. I want you to come up with 3 problems you solve that matter.
DON’T SKIP THIS – go ahead, click, download, print, and complete at least 3 worksheets. It’s okay…I’ll wait.
Now Lets Focus on the Market ie. – The People with the Problem
OK, now that you’ve clearly defined three problems you can solve that matter, it’s time to start building the roadmap.
We’ll need to start by choosing one problem upon which to focus.
Look at the three problems you chose. I’m betting they’re fairly specific. They should be. For example, let’s suppose your three problems were Sjogren’s Syndrome, Urinary incontinence, and menstrual issues. Pretty specific, right?
Market Size (Prevalence)
Now, estimate the size of the market for each of the problems. That might look like this:
Most common in women over 40.
Between 1.5 and 5% of the population have this problem.
3-17% of women (depending on age) and 3-11% in men (again depending on age.)
Most prevalent in the elderly.
Universal prevalence to menstrual issues among women.
Represents a host of problems.
Next, we need to evaluate each problem for what I call concentration. “Concentration” refers to the similarity between people with the problem. Are they demographically similar? Do they tend to associate with one another? Is there a specifically identifiable population with the problem? Are there support groups, foundations, societies, etc. devoted to this problem? The idea here is that a concentrated population with the problem is easier to reach with your message of hope than a widely dispersed population.
Again, let’s consider my three examples:
Sjogren’s Syndrome: Highly focused. Very specific population, some support groups and resources available. Specialized care required. But also dispersed throughout the population, and consequently more difficult to find targeted potential patients.
Urinary incontinence: Focused group, generally the elderly. Not as much in the way of community interaction and groups, but generally easier to target through retirement communities and over 55 organizations.
Menstrual issues: Not very focused, since half the population will likely suffer from some sort of menstrual problem at some time in life.
It’s useful to visualize this information on two axes as follows:
As you can see, items appearing in quadrant II are highly prevalent, meaning there are a lot of people with the problem, and highly concentrated, meaning they generally share a similar lifestyle and demographics.
Quadrant II problems are the easiest to market.
This isn’t to say problems in other quadrants should be ignored in marketing efforts. Rather, the quadrant system tells us which problems are most likely to bear fruit, and also indicates what sorts of marketing efforts may be required. You will market to Sjogren’s patients differently than you will market to menstrual issue patients.
The obvious next step is to choose one of the problems in your list and build your marketing message.
Is the process starting to come into focus? Are you getting excited to try it? You should be…crafting the right message for the right audience makes it easier to reach them, resulting in a higher acceptance rate! This is why marketing can be fun!
In my next article, we’ll review how to quickly craft your marketing message!
While you’re completing your worksheets (admit it…you haven’t downloaded them yet..have you?)
Take a few minutes to review the AcuGraph diagnostic system. There are a lot of gimmicks out there. They’re all designed to attract new patients – and that’s about all they do.
AcuGraph does MUCH more. In my opinion it is the best tool for acquiring and retaining patients. Click here or the image to the right.
When you see how the AcuGraph improves patient retention, treatment effectiveness and recruiting…you’ll understand why it has been the #1 technology solution for the Acupuncture industry for the past 11 years.
Need to catch up? Here are the links!
Alan Gifford’s – Practice Marketing – 6 part series