25 X-rays of the same thing?

September 28, 2006          Comments (2)

I went to the dentist yesterday for a regular check-up and cleaning. This was the first time I was at this dentist and I must say it’s very strange being in a doctor’s office in the middle of NYC!

The first thing I noticed was how old the actual office looked. The last time they painted or did anything must have been 15 years ago. At least it appeared that way. (If it appeared that way, then it was 15 years old. Whatever your customers think about you, is your reality.).

“So just a regular check-up,” the dentist says to me. It seemed as though that was his code language for, take 25 X-rays because we need to make more money. His dental assistant proceeded to do just that. I had this contraption that exposed my teeth and gums in such a way; I didn’t know it was possible!

In all of my 23 years on this amazing planet, I’ve never had so many X-rays of my teeth taken in one visit. I was counting to myself… 1…2…3….9?…12??…25?!?!? And each X-ray was a different image of my mouth.

It got me thinking. A dentist is, of course, an entrepreneur. They decided to invest in themselves and their trade to learn how to practice dentistry and then be able to sell their services and expertise for a large premium. Good deal. That’s how our great country works.

To be able to get through all those years of dental school they must have a passion for teeth. But they also need to make money doing what they (hopefully) love.

How do dentists decide what type of insurance they want to accept, what type of clientele they want to serve, how much they’ll invest in their office appearance (not including equipment), and if they even want to take insurance?

Why do some dentists focus so much on the décor of their office and location and some totally overlook that?

There’s no doubt in my mind all dentists are created equal with regards to their skill, at least in general dentistry. Not much can go wrong when taking a metal pick and knocking on all of my pearly whites or looking at X-rays.

I think the difference between the extremely wealthy dentist and the average dentist is simple. He aimed higher. He wanted more. And he felt he deserved it. A dentist who has the confidence to not accept insurance or to charge exorbitant rates is making a statement about how he views himself and his work. Or how he wants others to see him.

He is saying, “I don’t care about your money problems, I am the best dentist around. Look at my office. Look at my shiny 911 Turbo. Look at the flat screens all around the office. If you want the best dentist then you will come to me.”

His marketing is all around him. It portrays success and confidence. Ultimately, reassuring the patient why she is paying $400 when she could go down the block and only pay her $10.00 co-pay. “He must be the best, look at this office, the car he drives, everything!”

I bet the dentist I had yesterday is as good.

Image IS everything.

What do you want to be?

The struggling dentist who has to wait months and months to collect his money from insurance companies and make his patients sit through 20 minutes of X-rays or the rich one with the shiny 911 turbo?

Shoot for the stars in everything you do. You deserve it.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

Give me all your money but wait in line!

September 26, 2006          Comments (0)

It’s astonishing to me! Every rat in NYC (future blog post) only has a window of 4 hours to get to the bank. I’d say 10AM – 2PM are the prime hours.

You would think a great, customer-serving NOT self-serving organization would say to their employees, associates, owners in the business, whatever you want to call them:

“We are in business for our customers. Without them we are nothing. We need their money. Without their money we won’t be in business. We must collect as much money as possible while also keeping our customers as happy as possible. We want them to keep their money with us. Not our competition.”

The brilliant CEO would then say, “Okay, this makes a lot of sense. We are going to make it so easy for people to deposit money and/or talk with a bank teller so they can do whatever it is they have to. We don’t want them standing in line long enough to catch 5 stock quotes on CNBC. From now on, every bank teller has no breaks between the hours of 10AM-2PM. We want people in and out. Quick and painless. The less time they are in our bank, the happier our customers are, allowing us to collect even more money!”

So simple right? In fact, I might even go as far as hiring extra people, if possible, for those 4 hours.

My Citibank has at least 20 bank teller windows. God forbid, they utilized even 50% of them. Instead, they had 2 people (unhappy people, needless to say, because of all the extra work due to the lunch rush hour) handle a line of no less than 30 people.

It wouldn’t make sense to be open after business hours or on the weekends, would it? I know of one bank that does that.

They are obviously in business to serve their customers as best as they possibly can.

I think I’m going to switch. Anything is possible.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

Purple Cow

September 6, 2006          Comments (0)

I read Purple Cow on Monday and it’s a very thought provoking book, written by the marketing genius, Seth Godin. This is a must read for anyone looking to create a very visible and remarkable product.

Godin makes the argument that being safe, boring and ordinary is risky. Why? Because you will just be invisible! Entrepreneurs spend tons of money investing in their business, and when it comes time to open their doors, the last thing most entrepreneurs want to do is take another risk by sticking out like a sore thumb. But the only way to make it is to stand out from your competition. Do exactly the opposite of what your competition is doing.

Godin also discusses how we are in a new era of marketing and advertising. No longer does mass media work. Not so long ago, companies would be able to advertise on television and in magazines, that catered to a large general audience and build incredible brand recognition and retention, in what he calls the TV-industrial complex. That is no longer possible. The companies targeted consumers. Today, of course, the opposite is true. The consumers are the ones who choose.

The available choices for any given product has exponentially increased while our free time has been significantly reduced. We are bombarded with over 3000 marketing messages on a daily basis.

People are constantly distracted so companies should no longer just spend millions on advertising in mass media and hope we’ll recall their brand. Or they can, and they are, but they aren’t nearly as successful as they used to be.

To add fuel to the fire, just look at the amount of choices available in today’s market. It’s overwhelming. We are also in the post-consumption era. Meaning that the consumer is out of things to buy. We have what we need, we want very little and we’re too busy to spend a lot of time researching what you’ve worked hard to create for us.

Marketing has become interruption marketing.

How can Company X interrupt you from what you are doing so you pay attention to their message. And that rarely works because who likes to be interrupted?

The key is to be there when your prospects are seeking you out. That is huge. Hence, the reason why Google Adwords is a mega success.

The checklist of Ps marketers have used for decades to get their product noticed, aren’t working anymore. Some of them include:

  • Product
  • Pricing
  • Promotion
  • Positioning
  • Publicity
  • Packaging
  • Pass-along
  • Permission
    • There’s an exceptionally important P that has to be added to the list. It’s Purple Cow.

      Cows, after you’ve seen one or two or ten, are boring. A Purple Cow, though…now that would be something. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat out unbelievable.

      Every day, consumers come face-to-face with a lot of boring stuff – a lot of brown cows – but you can bet they won’t forget a Purple Cow. And it’s not a marketing function that you can slap onto your product or service. Purple Cow is inherent. It must be built in or it’s not there. Period.

      In Purple Cow, Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It’s a manifesto for marketers who want to help create products that are worth marketing in the first place.

      You’re either a Purple Cow or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!