You Can Judge a Book by its Cover

In a recent study conducted by our firm of the members of Cleinman Performance Network, we identified that those practices that invest in marketing dramatically outperform those that do not.  While the detailed results of this survey are exclusively available to members of the Network, the bottom line is that the diference between the two groups, when compartively modeled based on a starting point of 3000 exams per year, showed a $5million+ revenue difference over a ten year period.  Yes, that’s a $500k annual difference and that’s something of which to take notice!  Our study clearly indicates that opportunity is available if marketing is properly executed.  The question is where do you start?

I recently completed reading Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.  A worthy read, this book provides some fascinating insight into one of history’s most creative minds.  But, for me,  one of the most important lessons from the book didn’t come from Jobs directly, but from Mike Markula, Apple’s employee number 3 and a 33% shareholder along with Jobs and Wozniak.  Markula became Apples’s CEO and helped define Apple’s marketing philosophy at the earliest stage of the company.  

The Apple Marketing Philosophy

1) Empathy:  We will truly understand our customers needs better than any other company.

2) Focus:  In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.

3) Impute:  People DO judge a book by its cover.  We must have the best product, the highest qualtiy, the most useful software, etc;  if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshot.  if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired quality.

In my opinion, it’s this last value that has the most significant lesson.  I encourage you to think about your business as the Apple team does theres.  Ask yourself:

– What do patients impute when we’re running 30+ minutes late?

– What do patients impute when we’re attempting to provide them with fashion eyewear from staff dressed in scrubs and dirty sneakers?

– What do patients impute when they see our stained carpet and ceiling tiles?

– What do patients impute when we apologize for our fees?

– What do patients impute when we focus all attention on insurance reimbursements vs. the value of our services?

You likely get the picture.  Before you move forward with any external marketing program; before you attempt to execute an internet marketing program; before you advertise on cable; before you do anything…take a walk around your practice.  Take a look at everything you do.  What value message are you sending?  What do your actions impute?   As Steve Jobs proved throughout his amazing career, “the devil’s in the details.”


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