The BEST Guide to Marketing for Audiologists: Learn More About the Academy’s Newest Publication
Interview with Gyl Kasewurm, AuD
Chair, BEST Committee
Editor of The BEST Guide to Marketing for Audiologists, published by the American Academy of Audiology
By: Douglas L. Beck, AuD
Board Certified in Audiology
Web Content Editor
American Academy of Audiology
Academy/Beck: Good Morning, Gyl. Thanks for speaking with me.
Kasewurm: Hi, Doug. Thanks for your interest in the Academy's latest publication, The BEST Guide to Marketing for Audiologists.
Beck: Gyl, let's start with what motivated you to develop the book?
Kasewurm: Great question. In years past, there's been a lot of good information available with respect to marketing, literally tons of it. Nonetheless, there was precious little written specifically for audiologists with respect to their services and products, their situations and with specific respect to their needs in the marketplace. So we wanted to assemble a comprehensive guidebook specifically to address the marketing needs of audiologists.
Beck: I agree. When trying to apply marketing concepts and initiatives in years past, directly to audiology practice, it previously took a leap of faith, a good deal of luck or prior marketing expertise. Who contributed to the book and what are some of the topics discussed?
Kasewurm: Several members of the BEST Committee contributed to the contents of the book. The book covers everything from marketing basics, patient retention, empowering and supporting your staff, to working with medical practice, health systems, allied health organizations, and university programs. We also discuss the importance of a marketing plan and timeline as well as a mixed-media approach.
The chapters go into significant detail. For example, in the Essential Marketing Basics chapter, Sally Jessee includes definitions and examples of the business plan, the strategic plan, and the marketing plan. And she goes into further explains the “4 Ps” — product, price, place, and promotion — and how they each command a bit of the company's resources, and how they interact with strategy, such as timing. Additionally, she outlines sample marketing plans for established practices, the components of a marketing tool kit, and she details a sample marketing campaign.
Beck: Sounds very comprehensive, Gyl.
Kasewurm: Yes, and that chapter is really key to understanding the entire premise.
Beck: Gyl, can you offer some cheap/free hints for practices that send out a lot of mail?
Kasewurm: Well, one thing that's really important is to hand write something on the envelope, something like "Exciting News Inside!" if it's handwritten will double the quantity of people that open the letter. Even if you place a sticker on the outside, anything that makes it personal on the envelope will help. Further, if you hand write a note on your marketing piece, the response will be much improved.
The bottom line is that if recipients think you've gone to the trouble to write something personally or especially for them, they're more likely to follow-up.
Beck: And, that's a pretty simple and inexpensive thing to do, which makes your current marketing more effective, and as the effectiveness per marketing piece increases, the cost per marketing piece decreases. Gyl, suppose you had $2,500 to invest in one marketing campaign, and your business is one to two years old. How would you spend it?
Kasewurm: If I had just one thing I could do, I would do direct mail to the local community. I would use a qualified mail list based on demographics to contact about 5,000 people. Of course, more than 95% of the recipients will toss it right in the trash, so you've really only got about 250 that'll open the mail you send them, so it needs to be well engineered, well designed, friendly and it really needs to inspire them to act. But remember, it's not just the act of marketing, it's keeping track of what you did and when, what worked and what didn't, and then incorporating that information into your plan as you move forward. It's an ongoing work in progress.
Beck: Gyl, how many times per year do you write to your established patients?
Kasewurm: I recommend at least four times per year, and make sure that those contacts aren't all about sales, buying, and spending their money! I would send a holiday card, a birthday card, or maybe a special note to say you've been thinking about them. I may also let them know about new technology and remind them that it is time for their annual hearing test. So I would mix the messages a little, and again, make sure they're not all about purchasing new hearing aids!
Beck: Good point. I'm sure no one likes to be inundated with sales information! Where can readers get a copy of the book and how much is it?
Kasewurm: The book is available through the American Academy of Audiology’s online store and it is $25 for members.
Beck: Thanks, Gyl. I've read through the book and I learned quite a bit. I recommend the book, and thanks so much for your time today.
Kasewurm: My pleasure, Doug.
For More Information, References and Recommendations:
American Academy of Audiology
The BEST Guide to Marketing for Audiologists
Gyl A. Kasewurm, AuD, Editor
2008 ISBN 0-9766294-2-9
Click here to learn more.
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