Why is strategy so important?
Well, because without strategy your marketing is incomplete and won’t deliver the results you want.
Think of marketing as a three-legged stool. We’ll call the first leg of the marketing stool “MEDIA.” We know that media is the medium or vehicle or TACTIC we use to get our marketing message to our target audience. This is the tactical side of marketing.
The second leg of the marketing stool is the “MARKET” leg. The market is your “target market.” In this case your target market is made up of people who suffer from pain, allergies, asthma, infertility, fibromyalgia, addictions, depression, etc., etc. Those are the people (the MARKET) you want to reach. That’s somewhat of a broad market, but for this example this is your target audience or “MARKET.”
The third leg of the marketing stool is the “MESSAGE” leg. The message is what the STRATEGY is all about and what most practitioners struggle with. Your marketing strategy has to do with what you say, how you say it and who you say it to. Therefore, your marketing strategy is in fact your marketing MESSAGE.
Now that we’ve established what the three foundations of effective marketing are, let’s see what else has to be in place for this to really work for you. If you don’t have this right you will be paying a high price for advertising with little or no results.
So how do you put the pieces together to get marketing that works?
Well, the three components must be in sync in order for effective marketing to occur. Let me explain. We know a stool cannot stand on just one or two legs. It must have all three legs to support it or it will fall. Just like the stool, your marketing must have all three components in place to be effective, but there’s still another factor you must get right for effective marketing to occur.
You must have the “right” MESSAGE, delivered to the “right” MARKET, using the “right” MEDIA. If just one is off, your marketing is flawed and any money spent on advertising will be fruitless.
You’ve probably heard the saying; “You can’t sell steaks to vegetarians.” This is a classic example to illustrate why you must have the right MESSAGE to the right MARKET, using the right MEDIA.
If your target MARKET is vegetarians, and your marketing MESSAGE is communicating how delicious a thick and juicy steak tastes, then your “message” is wrong, even though you’re delivering it in the right MEDIA, like say Vegetarian Times magazine. It doesn’t matter how juicy that rib-eye steak is because there’s no way you’ll convince a vegetarian to buy it. In this scenario, you would be clearly throwing away your advertising dollars.
This example might sound a bit be exaggerated, but I make it to emphasize how important it is you have the right MESSAGE, going to the right MARKET, delivered in the right MEDIA. If you were to fix your MESSAGE but then place the advertisement in Beef Magazine because you got an awesome deal on the advertising rate, your marketing would still be flawed because now you’ve got the MEDIA wrong. The demographics of Beef Magazine readers doesn’t match your MARKET. You’ve got the right message for the right market, but now the wrong MEDIA. Getting these three marketing components right is critical to your advertisings’ success.
OK, by now you’re probably asking yourself, what does all this have to do with me, an acupuncturist?
Well, it was important to identify the three legs of the marketing stool because there’s many ways to get it wrong as you see below.
• Right MARKET – Wrong MEDIA – Right MESSAGE
• Right MARKET – Right MEDIA – Wrong MESSAGE
• Right MARKET – Wrong MEDIA – Wrong MESSAGE
• Wrong MARKET – Right MEDIA – Right MESSAGE
• Wrong MARKET – Wrong MEDIA – Right MESSAGE
• Wrong MARKET – Right MEDIA – Wrong MESSAGE
• Wrong MARKET – Wrong MEDIA – Wrong MESSAGE
However, there’s only one way to get it right;
• Right MARKET – Right MEDIA – Right MESSAGE
So that we can build our acupuncture marketing stool correctly, we’ll say that we were going to choose the Internet as our media of choice because that’s were most people today go to search for local services. So now we got the MEDIA right. Now we want to make sure we get the other two components correct so our marketing can produce quantifiable results.
OK, now let’s define our MARKET. Earlier I said that as an acupuncturist your MARKET is composed of people who suffer from many ailments that acupuncture is known to be effective for. I mentioned pain, allergies, asthma, infertility, fibromyalgia addictions, depression, etc. There are many more but this will suffice for this lesson.
So we chose the Internet as our MEDIA and since our target audience is made up of people who suffer from any of these ailments I mentioned, we now have our MARKET defined. Now we need to craft our MESSAGE so we can have our marketing stool standing on its own three legs. But this is the toughest part of the equation because this is where the science comes into play. This is when you have to ask yourself; “What business am I really in?”
In other words, the question is this; “Do you provide acupuncture?” The “real” answer is NO. What you really provide is pain relief. Do you provide acupuncture for infertility? The answer is NO. What you really provide is “hope” for women that are coping with infertility. The hope of course is not based on just “wishing.” The “hope” is backed up by statistical data that shows that acupuncture and TCM in conjunction with IVF can in fact increase the chances of getting pregnant by as much as 60%… But you’re still providing hope not acupuncture.
Do you provide acupuncture for weight loss? Not really… You provide “self esteem” and “self confidence.” Do you see what I mean? When you craft your marketing MESSAGE you focus on the benefits not on the features. Acupuncture is a feature, but pain relief is a benefit. When you buy a drill at the hardware store, do you want a drill or do you want a ¼ inch hole? When a golfer buys golf clubs he’s not buying golf clubs per say, he’s buying “straight long shots.” Do you see what I mean? You have to focus your message on benefits instead of the features.
Benefits are emotion based while features are logic based. It’s important to point out the features, but only after you’ve connected with your reader on an emotional level pointing out the “benefits.”
Once you get this right, your marketing stool can stand on it’s own and you will start seeing quantifiable results from the money you invest in advertising.
This is how you build your practice and grow it in record time. Until you have a clear and defined marketing strategy (MESSAGE) you shouldn’t spend a single dime on advertising.
Do you know that 20% of the acupuncturists in your area walk away with 80% of the new patients? — Read more…