Marketing has evolved substantially over the past few years with the introduction of smartphones and our ever-increasing reliance on the internet. So why are we still talking newspaper ads and direct mail when we discuss marketing? Especially when we understand that, in 2016, 60% of all of our members’ prospect calls came in from a digital source with an investment of only 16.2% of our marketing budget. Does that not beg the question: Why traditional?
The answer to this question goes beyond the simple “our target audience is still consuming traditional media” statement. To a large extent, this statement is very true…today. In audiology, our target audience still leans a bit toward the traditional side. But going beyond that, we really need to understand where the purchase decision initially stems from within our audience. And that generally happens before they even turn on their computer or pick up their smartphone. It starts with the awareness your practice has built throughout the market. That awareness can be built in many different ways. It grows a little bit each time you run a newspaper ad, send a direct mail piece, air a commercial, post on your social site, or place an online ad. Your patient may not pick up the phone and call you immediately, but if your marketing message is clear and consistent, you will leave an impression that will resonate with them. And when they have their trigger moment that sparks their need to research better hearing, they will most likely move their search online. And when that first item that pops up during their search directs them to you, your marketing mix has done its job well. And “marketing mix” is the key term to answer the initial question here. A strong and diverse marketing mix that includes both traditional and digital media is the most effective approach to marketing your practice.
So How Should You Embrace a Good Marketing Mix to Grow Your Practice?
- Integrate your online presence with your traditional advertising. Regardless of what tactics you’re marketing with, your message and creative should be consistent. This helps you build that awareness and keeps your marketing from competing with itself.
- Track your results. Not all markets are created equal, so traditional and digital results will vary. Proper tracking will provide the needed transparency to identify developing trends so that adjustments can be made as needed. We now know a good mix of all tactics is essential to success. Tracking will help fine-tune what that mix is, specific to your practice.
- Don’t be afraid of digital marketing. It is proven to work even with our older audience. Digital has opened up a new channel of communication through social and mobile media that should be embraced, as it will only become more important.
- Don’t shy away from traditional marketing. It’s performance has declined over the years as digital has started to compete with it, but it is still driving a strong 40% of our members’ patient flow. Traditional is also essential in driving awareness of your brand throughout a very important segment of your market.
- Finally, be careful of who’s pitching you the next big thing in marketing. Digital marketers will tell you that traditional media is dead. Traditional media will sell you on the growth of their products. Neither are 100% correct.
So maximize your practice’s opportunities by going to market with a good marketing mix that includes both traditional and digital media. A well-rounded approach will be synergistic in building awareness for your brand that results in patient flow to meet your goals.