Article Date: 5/1/2013

O.D. to O.D.
o.d. to o.d.

We Are Who We Are Perceived To Be

Take charge of how you want your practice to be seen by patients through planning and practice.

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BY SCOT MORRIS, O.D., F.A.A.O.

Chief Optometric Editor

We are who we are perceived to be by our “consumers.” Their perception of us is formed by how we market ourselves.

Marketing defined

We market ourselves, intentionally or not, by the products we offer, our staff, our technology and, most of all, our “selves.” Not everyone who reads this is comfortable with the fact that marketing isn’t just a promotional print-out sent every once in a while. It is how well we meet the needs of the consumer. Marketing is a relationship: Consumers have needs, and businesses try to serve them.

Some practices “get” marketing while others struggle to find their identity and communicate it to their potential consumers. Marketing is inevitable. We do it every day. It should be intentional though, and that takes planning and practice.

Two forms

In essence, there are two forms of marketing: inbound and outbound.

Inbound marketing, often ignored, is what people (our perspective consumers) say about us or to us, via their words or wallets.

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well, the product or service fits him and sells itself,” legendary business writer, professor and management consultant Peter Drucker once said. Of course, the only way to understand our consumer is to ask the right questions, be willing to listen to the answers, and make constructive changes to meet his/her needs, not ours. Inbound marketing is the foundation on which great outbound marketing plans are built and executed.

Outbound marketing is what we (businesses) say to the marketplace. It takes place both in the practice (internal marketing) and outside the practice (external marketing).

Make constructive changes to meet the consumer’s need, not yours.

Drucker’s words in OM

This month, OM focuses on marketing fundamentals. As our marketplace gets increasingly competitive, we all need an edge. OM wants to give you the tools to have that edge.

G. Timothy Petito, O.D., discusses shopper segments, so you can identify your target markets and meet their needs. Walter O. Whitley, O.D., M.B.A., F.A.A.O., and our Marketing columnist, Leah Colby, O.D., focus on how to develop a marketing plan that actually works. Also, Evan Kestenbaum, M.B.A., and Kevin Gee, O.D., talk about how to attract current patients, “you haven’t seen in a while.” Marketing guru Justin Bazan, O.D., discusses how to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

In addition, many of our other columnists share ideas on how to market specific parts of your practice by being the “one-stop shop” to take care of all your consumers’ needs, including nutraceuticals, sunwear, vision therapy, contact lens solutions and much more. In all, this month’s OM covers more marketing than any other optometric magazine does all year. The “How To” is all in one place. Your move. OM

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Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: May 2013, page(s): 4