In Their Shoes

Putting together your marketing plan? Put yourself in your
customers’ shoes and ask yourself “What’s in it for me?”
You can have more than one answer but you only need to ask that one question.
You are someone’s customer, right? Whether it’s a hardware store or
the grocery store or a bank or a gym or a shoe store – you go to someone
for services. When they are marketing to you, you want to know
“what’s in it for me?” Your customers are not any different.

Meet your customers’ needs

The other day I was reading Beef Magazine online. The
industry took a survey that noted 85% of adults delay decisions on what they
are having for dinner until 4:30 p.m. that day. That means the meat sector
needs to market products that meet the needs of “time-starved, hungry
American families.” Sure they can talk about grass-fed, no antibiotics,
organic, lean, and on and on but if they forget to mention how fast and easy it
is to make dinner, they are not meeting their customers’ need for speed.

Determine their needs

What are some O&P customers’ needs? It depends on the customer,
of course. Some of the possible customer relationships include: facilities
buying from vendors; patients buying from facilities; and physicians referring
to practitioners. These people are looking for a few key attributes. Savings
and fit/function are two elements that should be kept in mind when working with
clients and customers. If they can get the same product or service elsewhere
for less money, there is a chance you might lose their business.

  Image: © 2011 Yu

Though these two elements are important, great customer service should
not be overlooked. Provide service worthy of a return visit. Appreciate each
interaction you have – new relationship or old.

Your message

What marketing message do you send to effectively communicate that you
meet those needs? Here are some key phrases or ideas that you need to include:
Great customer service; turnaround times; ease of scheduling appointments;
savings; time; money; fit/function; comfort; you (the customer) are special;
and we make you (the customer) look good.

Let’s take a closer look at the last one, Image. Who doesn’t
want to look good? Who doesn’t want to feel special? If I own a patient
care facility that counts on referrals from other health care professionals,
how do I let them know that by sending their patients to me, I will make them
look good?

First, do not expect them to know that the patients they send you are
happy and well taken care of. “They should know we’ve got the best
customer service in O&P” is the wrong answer. Sending them copies of
testimonials from satisfied patients lets them know, in the patient’s own
words, how smart they were for sending that patient to you.

You like to save time, money, be comfortable, feel special, look good.
So do your customers. You can out-market your competition just by focusing on
making sure your customers know that you have “heard” their needs and
know exactly how to meet them.

Elizabeth Mansfield

Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of
Outsource Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at

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