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Chapter 16: The Customer’s Needs and Wants ... and Noise

Last week, we kicked off the holiday season with Thanksgiving, a national holiday centered around gratitude. Yet most celebrations tend to center on food. Hours, sometimes days, are put into food preparation and presentation. They say food brings us together. They also say being together reminds us to be thankful.

Maybe you've experienced it: hours spend fussing over the food and enjoying the meal, and just minutes focused on gratitude. It's so easy to get caught up in the details, making sure everything is right, getting organized, being with others, etc., that we get off topic. It happens to all of us in many different ways. In fact, I used to have a client who described a partner saying, "He'll miss the race because he's too busy tying his shoes." His point was, you can get lost in the details of trying to get something right and miss an opportunity.

This happens with the marketing communications surrounding your practice. If you are good at it in the first place, you know that benefits are important to the customer, not necessarily features. I simplify it for clients by saying, "Features are what is important to us; benefits are what is important to them. So, we need to stay focused on benefits." It's a common problem to get lost in the details of an explanation, be it verbal or written, and lose focus on what's important to the audience.

Here are some common ways we see practices' messages wandering away from what a customer wants and needs, into distractions that muddy or undo the important message about your practice: that you have what they want or need.

  • Talking about yourself too much.

They say talking about yourself too much is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on a first date. It conveys a sense that you are not interested in the other person. It says you are more interested in what you have to say than what they have to say. Look at your marketing message. Does it talk too much about features? Does it acknowledge your interest or understanding of the prospective patient's needs? You are on a first date with every new prospect. What does your first impression say?

Words are important regardless of the medium you are using. Make sure your message is something that a prospective patient wants to hear. It's how you get a second date.

  • Using the wrong message in a medium.

Each medium has an optimum use. You can expect connectivity in some media and broadcast dispersion in others. It's important to fashion your message so it is effective in the medium in which it is being used. If you are using the wrong medium for your message, you are wasting most of the contacts you are making.

  • Wasted Opportunity

You may only get one chance to make an impression on a prospective patient. What are they seeing? Are you talking about your service or something else? Is it clear that you have authority and credibility? It's easy to get caught up in promotional marketing, but you have to think of everything you put out as a potential first impression. If you don't, you are wasting opportunities.

It's true that you can attract people with a little fun and special offers, but at the end of the day, people stay with you because you build trust. Keep that in mind if you offer a promotion.

Are you doing your 2019 planning now? If so, keep in mind the importance of having strategies that are on point and on target. Once you hit that target, make sure your message is about patient benefits if you want to begin a conversation.

If you need help planning your 2019, Dog Star Media offers complimentary consultations during this time to help you choose the correct strategy for your needs. You can contact me at donald@dogstarmedia.com for help in taking that step.

Chapter 15: Noise in Your Website

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