Accidents happen and we can’t do anything to stop them. We live in a chaotic world. The best we can do is aim to limit their occurrence and severity. Where running a healthcare business is concerned this becomes an even more pressing concern as we try to remain profitable over the long term. If we can manage the risk of an accident in any part of our business then we generally do. We wouldn’t accidentally manage our financial accounts, or accidentally complete our CD register. We wouldn’t leave it to chance.
Marketing is full of somewhat ridiculous terms that try to carve something new out of the accepted marketing cannon. Sticky marketing, permission marketing, content marketing, digital marketing. All marketing but with a new skin. Now, we do not want to add to this ever growing list because we believe in keeping things simple and executing well, however we are going to add to the list. We’d like to introduce you to the latest concept in marketing…
We’ve already established that when something is important to our business we take steps to manage the risk of it going wrong, of an accident happening. This is common sense and is the superficial veil of security that we blanket ourselves with on a daily basis. The narrow space between us and complete chaos.
Now consider this. Most of us would class the decision made by our customers to use our products as an important one for the health and future success of our business. Stands to reason. No brainer. If we accept this, then why do so many businesses fail to take control of their ability to influence this decision through their marketing? Why do they leave it to chance by not ‘doing’ any marketing at all? Surely not doing something can’t have a negative impact.
We assume that by not acting, developing and executing a marketing strategy, we might not be doing any good but we aren’t doing any harm either. Well, here is the news, it’s not that easy.
The end result of the marketing process is communication with your customers and prospects, that is intended to influence their behaviour towards your business in a positive way. The snag is that you can’t stop communicating just by choosing not to do it deliberately or by putting it off and ignoring it. Every customer interaction with your business will communicate something about you, whether you have planned it or not. By not acting on purpose you are accepting that accidental communication is good enough for you and your business at this point. That you don’t have anything to say and that whatever you are communicating accidentally is fine. It could be good or it could be bad. It could encourage the behaviour you want to see or discourage it. No problem. Let it slide. You don’t have the time or money to worry about what customers feel, think or do. It’s low down on the priority list.
Don’t be offended. This is not a hard sell. At least, not of our products. Perhaps of our idea. Business owners are all busy and oversubscribed. Always. Forever. So it is hard to find the time to invest in something that may not appear concrete or that you don’t understand well enough to appraise it’s value.
If we can influence your behaviour through this communication, our aim would be to inspire you to act, to do so with intent, with understanding and foresight. Grab hold of your marketing strategy and the messages that you are communicating and whatever you do don’t leave it to chance. Market deliberately. Communicate deliberately. The messages you send on purpose will not just help your business prosper but will help the pharmacy profession convince society that we have a lot to offer, can contribute to public health and that we deserve paying for our efforts.
Where to start then? There are a lot of places you could start. Every point at which a customer comes into contact with your business needs attention. Make a list and you are off the starting line. However, it’s important to know what you want to communicate in the first place. That is where your marketing strategy comes in. Invest the time and effort in developing a robust marketing strategy and the mists will clear. Marketing and communication will no longer be a vague concept that you know is important but you put off.
You can then review each customer touch point and take action to make sure you are communicating the messages you want to get across. Don’t forget that humans are sensual creatures and our senses respond to our environment way before our brains do. Communication isn’t just written, it is spoken, seen, felt – experienced.
When you have a clear view of what you want to communicate and a neat platform from which to communicate it you are ready to start communicating, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be doing anything by accident. That baring the natural tendency of humans to misinterpret things you’ll be managing the risk of miscommunication and the damage it can do to your business.