Professional Practice Marketing

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Lions and Tigers and Bears, 


and Clients and Patients


and Customers Too!



Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! As different as each creature may be from one another, all are considered equally dangerous, equally entrancing to watch, equally exciting to find in one’s camera lens, equally cuddly, equally threatening, equally enthralling. In other words, sometimes they can all fit the same category.

As marketing targets, it’s often all for one and one for all. Professional practices (doctors, lawyers, accountants, management consultants and trainers) are small businesses with special skills and special interests. They have clients and patients. But clients and patients are customers too. They just have special needs.

All this specialization stuff, however, makes little if any difference in marketing plans, targets, approaches, strategies, or branding programs. Perceived differences matter only to professional practice principals. No one else cares. The bottom line is that we each spend our money to get a product or service.

And each of us wants to know:

“What’s in it for me?”


Whether a product or service is life-saving or life-threatening has nothing to do with whether a client or patient is considered a client or patient — or customer. All that matters is product or service performance, and the integrity and authenticity of the person(s) representing or standing behind the product or services purchased.

The issue, say some, revolves around the concept and delivery of “high trust” vs. “low-trust.” Marketing people will be quick to recite the five criteria of effective programs, campaigns, and messages. Regardless of what name is used to define a target market (customers, clients, or patients), marketing must:

1)  Attract Attention

2)  Create Interest

3)  Stimulate Desire

4)  Bring About Action

5)  Provide Satisfaction

. . . and it really must do ALL of these to be effective.


On top of that, the rule of thumb applies to ALL FORMS of marketing — print, broadcast and outdoor advertising; sales; public (industrial, professional and community) relations; promotion; merchandising; pricing; packaging; labeling; website content; social media content ; business and appointment cards; stationery and invoices.

It applies as well to direct mail, bumper stickers and building signage, plus a hundred other uses. It applies to branding themes, logos, and jingles as well as trade and professional show banners and exhibits.

When you want to know how your business or practice is coming across to others, ask. Measure people’s responses and each marketing implementation against the five criteria.

If you’re looking for prime examples of marketing that fails because it fails to deliver all five criteria, you need go no farther than your local hospital. Hospitals breed marketing mediocrity because they refuse to spend money on outsourced creative services and convince themselves they can handle it all in-house!

Most professional practices seem to think in similar terms. The problem is that their products and services are justifiably more expensive than the local coffee shop and must carry messages that appeal to a higher level of audience needs, but that doesn’t eliminate the need to trigger emotional buying motives.

Sophisticated products and services are not sold with dumb slogans or rational, logical appeals that push features instead of benefits. Humans are humans are humans. Market from the heart. Market benefits! Pay attention to corporate advertising for Mercedes Benz.

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Hal@Businessworks.US     931.854.0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

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