Who Isn’t Your Customer?

Who Are You Selling To?

Or maybe a better question to ask would be,

“Who are you not?”

You’ve been taught to think that demographically hearing impaired people over the age of 50 or 55 are your target market. But how well do you track the demographics of who actually buys hearing aids from your practice? My guess is that you focus on what brought a patient to your office and you analyze what happens once they cross your threshold.

  • Did they buy?
  • How many units did they buy?
  • What was the average selling price?
  • What was the cost of goods?
  • What brought them to your office?

But there are a host of other qualitative factors that should be analyzed including,

  • Patient age
  • Discrimination score
  • Degree of loss

Who Isn’t Your Customer?

You should also be analyzing who comes into your office and not just to determine why they walked out without doing anything about their problem. Gather data on who they are,

  • Their age
  • Zip Code
  • Degree of Loss
  • Discrimination Scores

There are any number of ways to group individuals, for example, gender, race and employment status also come to mind. You may find (if you dig deeper) that your customer is a much smaller segment of your target market. If that’s the case it might be time to change things up a bit regarding your marketing. Figure out what you have that’s working and for whom. Then experiment with marketing designed for a different niche of your target market.

The ratio of people who wear hearing aids to the number of people who need hearing aids has changed very little over the past 20 years.   It’s time to look at everything you’re doing differently or 5, 10, 20 years from now you’ll still only be providing better hearing to 20% of the people who need what you do.

Are You Setting Your Practice Up for Failure?

The success or failure of a business is dependent on a variety of factors.  By monitoring several key components of your practice, you can gauge the overall health of your practice on a weekly and a monthly basis.

Often times, practices do not reach their full potential for reasons the practice owner cannot clearly explain.  The problem with this scenario is that when the practice suffers a downturn, not only does the owner not see the downturn coming, but they’re also unsure why or how to resolve the problem if they can even identify what the problem may be. The other side is equally important. If you are reaching your goals but do not understand how or why then how do you know if you will reach them in the future?

For example, it’s the middle of the month and your goal is to sell 20 hearing aids, currently you’ve sold 5. There are a total of 10 hearing tests scheduled through the end of the month.  You know that the audiologist has a 70% closure ratio and an 80% binaural ratio.  What does all that mean?  It means that you can anticipate that those ten people will result in 11 hearing aids.

Is this an exact science, no?  But let’s say you had 3 hearing tests scheduled through the end of the month.  Based on the numbers above you could anticipate only 3 hearing aids to be sold by months end.  At this point you could pray for a miracle or know that something will need to be done to get at least 7 more people into the office by the end of the month.

This is when all the other programs begin to make sense.  If your recall program is working, let the recall person know that you need 7 more people. Or view your marketing data and drop an ad that has, in the past garnered 7 patients (keeping in mind your budget and any timelines).  Or ideally initiate a combination of the two programs.  Either way you are being proactive.

Sitting on the sidelines crossing your fingers and hoping it all works out may have been your mantra in the past, but in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace that’s not really a very good idea.

Using Data in Your Marketing

Let’s start by deciding whose data you’re going to use when planning your marketing. In a perfect world a multitude of data accumulated by other individuals would be at your fingertips. Your job would be to merely sift through the data choosing the marketing pieces with the highest return on investment (ROI), determine a budget and make a plan. How easy would that be, heck you could probably plan an entire years worth of marketing in under an hour.

Good News, Bad News

The bad news is that in most markets, even in the franchise realm data gathered far and wide is often too vague for anyone to rely on at the local level. This doesn’t mean that you should discount the data provided by these larger entities. Use their data to spot trends, but collect your own data to make decisions about your business.

Big Data

From Forbes

Large corporations regularly use big data to get insight on consumer behavior, target their marketing and to boost revenue. But small businesses typically do little with big data. Until now, most owners have considered it too difficult, too expensive and just plain intimidating.

That’s changing. These days an increasing number of small businesses are collecting and crunching volumes of data to lift their sales.

“Small businesses shouldn’t be scared off by big data,” says Steve King, partner at Emergent Research. The growth of the Internet, wireless networks, smartphones, social media, sensors and other digital technology is fueling a big data revolution. Big data was the exclusive domain of statisticians and large corporations but not anymore.”

What can a small business do with big data?

For a start, it can boost efficiency and sales

King gives an example. The Spillers Group, a company that owns three restaurants in Dallas, uses a data application called Roambi that enables it to share among management all the business information it collects, including point-of-sale data, labor metrics and accounting numbers. With Roambi, Spillers can link managers’ pay to their restaurant’s performance. The app has also cut Spillers’ labor costs 10%, saving thousands of dollars every two weeks.

“Before their data was a hodgepodge,” King says. “They had sales data in one place, supply data in another place and staffing data in another—and they never looked at how to bring them all together. So they were inefficient when it came to scheduling and supplies. When they brought the data together they discovered quickly they could cut costs by making minor changes. That’s a huge win.”

Small businesses that use data intelligently can do business better

They can improve pricing and just-in-time supply chains. They can find cheaper suppliers that are closer to their location and that offer more price transparency. Small businesses can also use data to tailor products and services to individual customers.

Businesses can identify key customers and treat them better

They can understand customer patterns, know when they’re likely to come in and reward them for multiple visits. “All this big data is helping to level the playing field for small businesses,” King says. “Even though the field is still tilted in favor of big business, big data is a way for small business to fight back. A lot of this stuff is made easy for small business, like Google GOOG -2.3% Analytics. You don’t have to be a data scientist to use these tools and get good insights.”

Why Data is Important

    • The more you know about each of your leads, the faster you can zoom in on the strongest prospects, engaging them with content that’s personally meaningful to them.
    • Quickly identify and rectify problems
    • Data can be used to decide which products and services should be marketed and which should be eliminated.
    • Aids in assessing employee performance

Accumulating data is a necessary evil. The alternative is to run your practice on a wing and prayer, not a strategy we’d recommend.

 

 

 

What Key Components Should You Measure in Your Practice?

The success or failure of a business is dependent on a variety of factors.  By monitoring several key components of your practice, you can gauge the overall health of your practice on a weekly and a monthly basis.

Often times, practices do not reach their full potential for reasons the practice owner cannot clearly explain.  The problem with this scenario is that when the practice suffers a downturn, not only does the owner not see the downturn coming, but they’re also unsure why or how to resolve the problem if they can even identify what the problem may be. The other side is equally important. If you are reaching your goals but do not understand how or why then how do you know if you will reach them in the future?

For example, it’s the middle of the month and your goal is to sell 20 hearing aids, currently you’ve sold 5. There are a total of 10 hearing tests scheduled through the end of the month.  You know that the audiologist has a 70% closure ratio and an 80% binaural ratio.  What does all that mean?  It means that you can anticipate that those ten people will result in 11 hearing aids.

Is this an exact science, no?  But let’s say you had 3 hearing tests scheduled through the end of the month.  Based on the numbers above you could anticipate only 3 hearing aids to be sold by months end.  At this point you could pray for a miracle or know that something will need to be done to get at least 7 more people into the office by the end of the month.

This is when all the other programs begin to make sense.  If your recall program is working, let the recall person know that you need 7 more people. Or view your marketing data and drop an ad that has, in the past garnered 7 patients (keeping in mind your budget and any timelines).  Or ideally initiate a combination of the two programs.  Either way you are being proactive.

Sitting on the sidelines crossing your fingers and hoping it all works out may have been your mantra in the past, but in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace that’s not really a very good idea.

 

 

 

10 Things to Improve Your Hearing Aid Marketing

For us, the senior market is the one that matters most.  This may provoke a “duh” moment from many reading this article.  However, it’s important to understand how seniors think, what turns them off and what hearing aid marketing and advertising concepts they are drawn to. Let’s start with the term “seniors”.  After the 12th grade no one ever wants to be referred to as a senior anything again…ever.  Ultimately it could mean the difference between substantial business growth and the loss of a sizable chunk of market share.

The top ten things you can do to improve your marketing and advertising of the baby boomer and pre-boomer generations.

  1. Target women, they make the decisions.
  1. Don’t use humor about aging.  Getting old is not funny.
  1. Don’t use scare tactics.  Discouraging news about aging will not motivate your patient to respond to your ad or to purchase hearing aids.
  1. When using photos in promotions and communications remember the following.  As a group, senior citizens see themselves as seven to ten years younger than they really are.  Think of it this way 50 is the new 40 and 60 is the new 50.
  1. Use words in copy that hold out the promise of youthfulness and independence.  Both are concepts that patients will identify with.
  1. Remember your demographic (I know I’ve said that before, but it does get forgotten).  Understand that just like the auditory system, the visual system changes as we age.  Use larger fonts and brighter colors.
  1. Trust is a major issue for seniors.  Use experiences of real people to communicate with them.  Testimonials about the benefits of hearing aids can be a beneficial advertising concept.
  1. Make sure real people answer your phones as much as possible.  Don’t subject potential patients to answering system decision trees when they call.
  1. Refine the way in which you track marketing results to include demographics such as age and gender.  Who is actually responding to your ad and who is purchasing hearing aids?
  1. And lastly, do not reject the old mediums for the new.  Print advertising and word of mouth still capture considerably more patients than inbound marketing.  There is a place for both.

If I have to choose one that I think is of primary importance it would be…tracking. Why?  Marketing and advertising are regionalized, what works in New York City is most likely not what will work in Atlanta GA. One of the costliest items in the expense section of your P&L is advertising and marketing.  You should constantly refine the way in which you track marketing results to better understand your demographic and how they are responding to your marketing attempts.

Ideally you want to spend as little as possible to garner the number of patients who are candidates for hearing aids that your practice needs on a monthly basis.  Too often we run ads and inserts, or host open houses and consumer seminars, etc. with little thought as to why a prior ad or event was or wasn’t successful.

A minor change to an ad, for example, an ad run on a Monday may have a better or worse response from the public than the identical ad run on a Friday. Patterns will develop. Carefully cultivate and store information from the patients who respond to your advertising/marketing, particularly those who purchase hearing aids.  After all, they’re the ones you want to make sure keep coming in your door.

Experience may teach you how to better manage hearing aid marketing and advertising events, but tracking the results in as many ways as possible will allow you to make better decisions about where to put your marketing dollars.

Reasons to Track Your Return on Investment

Here’s how the conversation went, “Have you tried any direct mail or newspaper inserts lately?”  The answer, “We tried both, they didn’t work.”  Next question, “What was the (return on investment) ROI for each?”  The answer?  “I don’t know.”

If you don’t know where your patients are coming from and how much it cost you to get them in your door, then you have no idea if your advertising and marketing campaigns are worth repeating.

Advertising and Marketing tend to be costly items in everyone’s P&L. Ideally you want to spend as little as possible to get the number of patients needed on a monthly basis.  Too often you run ads, inserts, email campaigns, open houses, etc. with little thought as to why a prior ad piece or event was or wasn’t successful.

Experience may teach you how to better manage the event, but tracking the results in as many ways as possible will allow you to make better decisions about where to put your marketing dollars.

A minor change to an ad piece can significantly impact the ROI of any ad.   For example, the same ad run on a Monday may have a better or worse response from the public than an identical ad run on a Friday. Another example might be an ad that you ran in color.  You may end up with a lower cost per lead even though the ad was more expensive.

Investing time in establishing a tracking system will pay dividends in the long run in other ways.  Each month when you start putting your advertising and marketing plan together you’ll have historical information that will make planning your marketing and advertising strategies quicker without sacrificing quality.

Patterns will develop if you carefully cultivate and store information from the patients who respond to your advertising and marketing, particularly those who purchase.  After all, they’re the ones you want to make sure keep coming in your door.