Participating in the Oticon Marketing Boot Camp are: (left to right): Hubert Fernande, Drill Sergeant Klor, Herb Hodgdon, Thomas Kiewlicz, Oticon Senior Marketing Manager Nancy Palmere, Eleanor Wilson, Phyllis Weisman, Amelia Hartman, and Oticon Conference and Events Manager Mariann Cadieu.

Somerset, NJ  June 30 – Oticon Inc, recently challenged 165 hearing care professionals to take part in the first Oticon Marketing Boot Camp, an intensive two-day gathering designed to equip practitioners with practical, actionable marketing strategies and tools.  Through a series of drills, exercises and workshops, guest “trainers”, including marketing gurus Brian Gibson, Lindsay Zaltman and Jan Fraser, helped participants develop the marketing muscle need to compete successfully in the competitive hearing care arena. 

Oticon’s marketing team chose a ‘boot camp’ theme to reflect the intensity of the two-day training session and the transformation they aimed to achieve in practitioners’ confidence and readiness to put their new skills into action.  “We wanted to provide a well-rounded view of how marketing touches all aspects of a hearing care practices,” stated Gordon Wilson, Vice President of Marketing for Oticon, Inc. “Our program addressed not only the key skills needed to prepare ads, brochures and other merchandizing materials but also explored how to insure that the way their practice is perceived by their clients – the ‘outside perception’ — is an accurate reflection of the ‘inside reality’ of their services, staff, product offerings and patient care.”

Seminar participants represented a variety of practice types from large multi-office practices to single office practitioners.  All were retail-oriented practitioners who wanted to grow their practices, find a way to distinguish themselves from the competition and motivate clients to purchase more frequently. For many, the seminar offered an opportunity to quickly learn new skills, techniques and strategies to “jump start” their marketing plans. Others were looking for guidance on up-selling clients to the newest and most advanced solutions.

Keynote speaker Brian Gibson, senior partner and founder of Monopolize Marketing, focused on breaking down common misconceptions about marketing a hearing care practice.  “It’s not about building your image or making people aware of who you are or glossy tri-fold brochures or going to meetings and handing out business cards,”  he explained.  “It’s a carefully planned system that pre-sorts, pre-screens, pre-qualifies, pre-disposes and increases the desire of clients to do business with you on an ongoing basis.”  Gibson shared insights on competitive reconnaissance – scouting out the competition in a community to determine how to best position a practice to give it a competitive advantage.  He also asked participants to stop thinking of marketing as another form of selling and to begin thinking of marketing as client education.   “If marketing is done correctly, by the time clients contact you, there is little or no selling on your behalf.  Your marketing system has already educated them and primed them to be receptive to what you are offering,” he noted.

 “This was an important message for our participants to hear,” said Wilson. “Long before they contact a hearing care professional, many people with hearing loss are actively seeking information about hearing loss and hearing solutions. A well executed marketing program enables practitioners to reach out to potential clients and provide them with the information and motivation they need to take action.”

Boot camp participants also learned that marketing does not stop at the front door but continues throughout a practitioner’s relationship with a client.  Jan Fraser, founder of Womens and author of the Women’s Success Journal, offered practical tools for communicating a practice’s unique value. Fraser recommended writing scripts — short, prepared communications that articulate the key services practitioners most wanted to promote — and practicing and using them on a regular basis.  She advised providing customized scripts that could be used whenever staff interacted with clients including: receptionist scripts, telephone scripts, on-hold message scripts, first meeting scripts (new clients), and returning client scripts.  “Never underestimate how much of a client’s impression of your qualifications is based on the way they are treated by your staff,” stated Fraser. “It begins with the first call to inquire about services and continues through every interaction that follows, right up to their most recent appointment.”

Sessions also took practitioners through basic training on email and web marketing.  Brian Gibson shared advice on how to grow an email list to tailoring messages to “hot buttons” for patients and tips for incorporating a call to action in every web communication.   “People visiting your website come with a variety of mindsets.  Some will be in a hunting mode; others will be looking to solve a problem. Still others will want to learn more about something and others may want to buy immediately,” explained Gibson. “Your website should have something for all of them.” 

With overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants, Oticon plans to build on the success of the Marketing Boot Camp with an additional session planned for the later in the year. “Our goal is to help hearing care professionals develop the marketing strategies needed to attract potential clients who will benefit from their expert care and to build loyalty, satisfaction and referrals among existing clients,” said Wilson.

Source; Oticon Inc.