Article Date: 9/1/2013

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

Do They Know What You Do?

Invest in marketing/merchandising ideas that tell patients what your practice provides, and watch your business grow.



Here’s a question I pose at every speaking engagement: “What do you do every day?” I get answers ranging from “help people see better” to “provide eye care.”

These answers aren’t incorrect, but the true answer is that we run a business. That business is you. So, what makes your consumers want to buy from you? Merchandising plays a significant role.

A wake up call

Some of you may think “I don’t have to merchandise. I am a doctor.” You do if you want to grow your practice. Merchandising and, on a larger scale, marketing as a whole, are key elements of every thriving business.

Merchandising, if done well, is simple, effective and may largely go unnoticed on a conscious level by your consumer.

Questions to ask yourself

To determine whether you’re effectively merchandising your practice, ask yourself:

► Do my consumers know I provide medical eye services? How do they know? (Stop, and give some serious consideration to this question). Does someone in your office verbally communicate that to every consumer every time he/she presents to your office? Is there a sign in the office that tells them? Can they actually see that sign?

► Do my consumers know they need sunwear? Do they know that you can help them see better outside? How do they know that? Who tells them? If you are uncertain of these answers, check out Jay Binkowitz, O.D.’s retail strategies feature on page 26.

► Is your optical effective in helping you sell? If you want to know how to improve your optical’s look with some simple steps, read Jennifer Brady Cook, M.S., O.D.’s feature on page 24. After all, if your practice is like most, you derive a large percentage of your revenue from that part of the business. Maybe it’s worth looking into — don’t you think?

How and where to spend

This month, our marketing columnists cover how and where to spend your marketing and merchandising money to get the most return, as well as different technologies that you can use in your office to enhance your strategies.

Don’t miss the article on the smells and sounds of the optical by Senior Editor Jennifer Kirby. Her article takes a fascinating look at how simple techniques can subconsciously impact purchasing decisions.

Also, Kirk Smick, O.D., F.A.A.O., discusses how he’s invested in staff and his practice to meet the needs of the ever-growing culturally diverse population.

Parting words

My challenge to each of you this month is to ask yourselves:

What one thing can I do this week that will help merchandise some product or service I provide? Maybe it is creating a poster for your exam room or putting a sign in your optical that says “Ask us how to see better outside.” There are hundreds, if not thousands, of things you can do, but I want you to pick just one. Save some of your other great ideas for next week. OM

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