Don’t Be Afraid to Swim Against the Stream …

In today’s convoluted, hyper-active media landscape, sometimes you must take a different tact or approach to effectively engage and convert prospects into customers.  Just because there is the “way it’s always been done”, doesn’t mean it’s the best way, or even an effective way.  Sometimes you need to act differently.  Let me give you an example.

We are currently working with a doctor group in SWFL.  This group, along with hundreds of others, have been annually investing significant money into printed “medical” directories, or guides, which are then distributed to households within the groups targeted area.  These directories generate big money for the companies that create them.  Their effectiveness should be seriously questioned.  I do not know about you, but I can tell you, I can not remember the last time within the last 5 years that I actually “opened” a printed directory to search for anything.

In today’s instantaneous, need it now society, if you did actually need a doctor, who would actually take the time to: 1) remember where you put the directory; 2) look for the directory; 3) open the directory; 4) and then peruse hundreds of listings until you found a suitable doctor, 5) call the listing found.  And even if you did, the information provided would be almost irrelevant to help you determine if this was a good match or not.

A better solution would be to simply type “find me a doctor” in Google, Bing, even YouTube, and within seconds hundreds of listings providing the basic information would be at your fingertips.  Combine this with patient reviews, testimonials, live chat, photos of the doctors and staff, ability to direct connect, videos, and more — all delivered to your device of choice, be it desktop, tablet, or phone, within seconds.  Want even more specific information, no problem.  Simply refine your search using parameters such as address, specialities, etc. and even more specific information will be displayed.  Need a Dermatologist in Lakewood Ranch, Florida that works with kids — simply type that into google and instantly your wish is fulfilled.  Why would a consumer spend a significant amount of time searching some 100 page directory?  The answer is, they wouldn’t, yet hundreds of doctors, lawyers, and professional service groups continue to invest millions of $$$$ in these outdated go-to-market directories.

Understand, as former VP of the Bellsouth Yellow Pages account, there was a time when directories (I.e., Yellow Page style books) had a place within the marketing mix.  Most businesses had no other choice.  It was the reason that you always saw businesses with names like AAA Car Group, or AAA Chinese Take Out.  These businesses understood, that AAA always put them in the first place among their categories listings.  In essence, this was the precursor to SEO heavy sites that scored high within search bots.  But those years have long passed.  Yellow Page revenues have crashed.  These directories had to evolve and become relevant.  And many did. The best directories created searchable databases, that in essence provided the same information as Google and Bing, but in a more relevant space.  But soon even that wasn’t enough.  Peer to peer and word of mouth became crucial within the marketing landscape.  Sites like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Angie’s List are prospering and growing, yet it seems that many professional service groups continue to “swim it’s the other fish” and invest significant money in this approach, even when they have no tangible proof that these listings generate any ROI whatsoever.

Just because this is how you have always done something is not a reasonable answer to continuing doing something.  But thousands do continue, often with the answer “I’ve always done it before, if I don’t I will lose business”.  Maybe.  But probably not, since often there is no way to measure the effectiveness of this passive approach.  Better to aggressively market your business and put your marketing budget into something more dynamic, and measurable.  In today’s  data-obsessive society, If your marketing spend can not be proven, with real time statistics, you probably shouldn’t be investing in it and maybe it’s time you try something different.  Only lemming blindly follow — as they plunge to their death.  Don’t be a lemming.  Be creative.  Be innovative.  Be media agnostic. Think of what you want to accomplish, and who you want to target — and then develop a strategy that can be effectively measured. Educate. Entertain. Engage.  Be different.  Swim against the stream.

If you need help generating new customers and increasing market share, feel free to contact CRE8EGY and let us review your current marketing strategy to see if swimming against the stream can work for you.