By the Numbers
eyecare by the numbers
Opportunities in Segmentation
Many years ago, I took up watercolor painting. I started painting everything that I saw. A friend of mine suggested I should “paint only one thing.” His rationale was that after scores of times painting one type of image, I would become very good at it. Then, it would be easier for me to branch out based on the skills I’d developed through repetition.
Many ECPs approach marketing like I did painting…with a shotgun. They attempt to be all things to all people. Their value proposition reads something like “your source for eyecare.” Their marketing, if it exists, is homogenous and pasteurized, designed to appeal to as many people as possible.
Marketing is expensive. It’s logical that one would want to reach the broadest spectrum of the market, isn’t it?
In today’s highly connected, instant gratification, value-oriented environment, being all things to all people is a prescription for mediocrity. It’s up to the individual ECP to educate patients about differentiation points. And one of the best ways to drive your business is to understand and employ market segmentation. After all, in the absence of anything else, price prevails.
The reality is that there are scores of individual market segments that utilize or should utilize the services of an ECP. Consider the following.
■ Fifteen to 20 percent of the population has some form of learning disability, and the use of visual aids in the classroom improves learning by more than 400 percent.
■ Fifty to 90 percent of computer users suffer from visual symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
■ There are 18 million home-based businesses. How many of those home offices are properly lighted?
■ There are more than six million undiagnosed diabetics in the U.S.
■ Only 32 percent of children wear sunwear.
■ Ninety-six percent of the population engages in some form of leisure activity. The vast majority of those involve our vision.
■ One quarter of Americans have never had an eye exam!
Even within these focused opportunities, segmentation is important. Baby boomers respond differently than Gen Xers. Empty nesters react differently than do newlyweds. There are ethnic segments and even segments among the business community. And there’s segmentation among referral sources as well.
Segmentation is wide and deep. Focusing your development energy toward identifying specific high-potential market segments with specific messaging is more effective than attempting to cast a wide net.
Effectively utilizing segmentation in your practice will take a different set of tools than you may be used to. It’s important to consider that what one market segment desires, another may not. When one digs a bit deeper into the segmentation possibilities for an ECP, and applies a bit of creativity, it’s easy to identify market opportunities that may have gone untapped.
Like my watercolor painting exercise, a key to success with segmentation is to get very, very focused. Below is one very dated and vague value proposition and one very focused and effective one.
UNFOCUSED. The following is what I refer to as yesterday’s value proposition: “Our practice is dedicated to providing the best eye healthcare possible as well as the latest fashion and lens technology, in a warm and caring environment.”
FOCUSED. Here is a well-segmented one that is an excellent value proposition. “Our practice provides services to diabetes clinic directors to help you enhance your services. Our office is accessible to your patients, and we will see them on a timely basis. We will promptly provide you with a consultation report that includes a dilated fundus exam, fundus photography, and interpretation of findings. Where indicated, a direct referral to a tertiary diabetic retinal specialist will follow. Our reports will allow you to comply with existing federal requirements for diabetic eye exams and enhance your value proposition to your patients.”
Whether you focus your segmentation opportunity on the eyewear side of the practice or on the medical side, taking a different approach to your marketing will yield handsome returns.
Brainstorm with your team to identify segments that have opportunity. Then develop a plan, including a value proposition, to address that market. (See the sidebar above for examples.)
If you’re like most ECPs, you likely treat marketing as a stepchild, to be done between patients. But our studies prove that marketing investments pay off handsomely when properly executed. And when you have limited resources, focusing on a specific segment will hone your marketing skills and deliver replicable results. EB
©2012 Cleinman Performance Partners, Inc.
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