According to a couple of commercials being run by “Optometry’s Friend,” the only thing that a consumer values is a discount. The lowest price. Affordability. Money Savings. Indeed, it seems that the magic number is “$200 per year.” Take a look:
Apparently, these commercials are being run nationally. Nowhere will you find reference to the education and training of an optometrist or even optometry’s special skills. You won’t find mention of the 100’s of thousands of dollars of investment in instruments and physical plants made by private practice optometrists. You won’t see reference to advance technology lenses. Not a single mention of different products necessary for different visual needs. Nothing about eye health or the fact that the eye is the window to the body. Not a word about the personal care and service provided by a private practice optometrist and their staff. No mention of how private practice optometry supports local communities in so many important ways.
Indeed, there’s nothing in this ad except to compel your private pay patients to sign up for a vision plan. Yes, this ad directly addresses those patients whom you currently rely upon to make up for the losses you experience with vision plan patients. Now there’s not a single barrier to entry…anyone can have a vision plan. And everyone can save money. But, of course, you’ll make it up on volume.
The message is simple…the only thing we have to sell is a discount. Is this effective? Perhaps for the sponsor. To your private pay patients, it sends the message that “you’re likely being ripped off by your optometrist to the tune of $200 per year.”
Someone once said that “in the absence of anything else, price prevails.” Well, these commercials certainly drive that message home. “Optometry’s friend” has hijacked your brand! These commercials are brand destroyers promulgated by a firm that, I predict, will be going direct to your patients to sell them eyewear. At a discount, of course. Without you!
Abba Eban, the great Israeli politician and diplomat, once said: “History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.”
When will private practice optometry take back your brand?