I get this question.
Not like get it from other people, I mean like; “I get it”. I understand where it’s coming from. I might have even asked this same question at one time.
However I do know there is a difference between advertising and marketing, and I also know why chiropractors would think if you’re running a few chiropractic ads, then you are also marketing.
On the other hand there are those who know there is a difference between the two, but maybe feel intimated by the “marketing” word.
Let’s face it, we are chiropractors and that’s the profession we are trained in, not marketing. So for a chiropractor to know how to effectively market his or her practice would be about as ridiculous as a person with a degree in marketing setting up a practice and offering chiropractic care to the public. In reality, that can’t or should not happen, but it’s also a reality that chiropractors need to learn the art of marketing so they can build a successful business.
I’m not claiming to be an expert, but I want chiropractors to understand the difference and reassure them that they don’t need to be intimated when it comes to marketing. It’s really pretty easy, once you get the hang of it.
Since I like a good story, I’m going to use one to try and explain how advertising and marketing are different and why you need to do both to help build your practice.
There is a private school in town that teaches graded K thru 12. This school offers sports to the higher grades. They have a football team, cheerleaders a band and a drill team. I’m assuming the attendance at the games might have been low, and at some point, somebody must have asked how they could increase the numbers. Higher attendance equals more revenue for the school.
They could have advertised, but that would mean spending money on advertising and to who? The parents of the student body? That wouldn’t be prudent since they were probably already aware of the games from newsletters and parent meetings.
Should they advertise to the general public?
They could but why would anyone, who didn’t have a child at this school, want to attend one of their football games? Even though these students would supply entertainment for the crowd, there just wasn’t any demand from the general public. They couldn’t expect to receive a good return on their investment.
This is where marketing comes in. It turns out some of these students involved in these sports, needed volunteer credits.
So somebody came up with a idea and a committee was formed to help plan and facilitate a cheer camp for the girl students in the younger grades. The cheerleaders and drill team would volunteer their time and earn volunteer credits by teaching the camp participants a few cheers, dance moves. Pom-poms, t-shirts and lunch were provided and the cost of this day camp was $50. The camp was held on a Saturday from 8am to 2pm.
Now I know that they didn’t clear $50 on each camper. I’m sure there was a some overhead for lunch and props, but those things could have been donated as was time of the volunteers. Even so, if the school invested $15 for supplies and lunch the school’s profit was $35 per camper. Wow, that’s a ROI of 233%!
But that’s not all, 40 campers registered and they were given the opportunity to preform during half time at the next game. This meant moms and dads, brothers, sisters and maybe even grandparents would be purchasing tickets to the game so they could see their little cheerleaders show off what they learned at camp.
There’s more, there were concessions and who doesn’t love to eat while watching a sporting event?
What that school did, that was great marketing. Preparing and providing the opportunity to get a service from a business in return for a fee and setting in motion a way to receive residual earnings after the fact. You experience this at concerts when you pay to see your favorite band and then buy the t- shirt or CD on your way out the door. Except those businesses go one step further and turn their fans into walking advertisements when they wear the clothing with their logo on it. (logo = brand = marketing)
You might be asking; “great story, but isn’t that advertising?” Nope, but advertising did happen as part of the school’s marketing plan at some point. I’ll have to cover that on my next post.
Wrapping up…marketing is a process. It’s preparing your chiropractic business for your targeted audience, this would include getting condition specific chiropractic ads ready for the patients you want to see in your office. It’s this preparation that will ultimately attract potential patients to your office.