Target Marketing: Baby Boomers
By Drew Stevens, PhD
Suffice to say the "Crazy ‘80s" have disintegrated, leaving many chiropractors wondering where the patients, the revenue and their stress-free practice went. The myriad of changes in health care and reimbursement, as well as a swiftly changing demographic landscape, has created numerous challenges – and yet also opportunities – for the chiropractic profession.
Today, chiropractors need to learn how to work smarter, not harder, in order to maintain revenues flows and create a sustainable practice. One of these methods is implementing a clear target-market selection strategy. Let's discuss target marketing and then illustrate how you can apply it to a patient population that will increasingly require your services in the coming years: the baby boomers.
What Is Target Marketing?
The word market has a number of meanings, but let's use the definition that means a group of people who, as individuals or organizations, have needs for products in a product category; and have the ability, willingness and authority to purchase such products.
For a market to exist, the people in the group must meet the following four requirements: need, ability, willingness and authority to purchase a product. When we target market, we break the market into segments and then concentrate our marketing efforts on one or a few key segments.
Why Target Market?
First, it is imperative for you to think of yourself and your practice as a marketing firm. Since you are in the relationship business, you need to think about how many relationships you can build with your constituents. The ability to build these relationships is simply marketing.
A critical consideration to appreciate is that in today's busy world, it is impossible to get the attention of everyone in your community. Therefore, you want to develop relationships with a small group that can help carry your message and create interest in your community ... without you needing to do all the heavy lifting. It's also important to understand there is so much "noise" in advertising and promotion today that unless you determine a niche to market to, it will be impossible to be heard over the noise.
Focus on a Key Target: The Baby Boomers
One of the key targets that may assist you with being heard over the din is a niche known as the "baby boomers." Individuals born between the years 1946 and 1964 are categorized as baby boomers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Approximately 75 million Americans make up the baby boom generation, and every year for the next 20 years, roughly 3 million baby boomers will reach retirement age.
These facts will drastically change society, public policy and health care as Americans' needs evolve and boomers leave the work force in growing numbers.1 The sheer size of this particular demographic creates a unique opportunity for your practice. Baby boomers will require specialized care in a myriad of health care fields, and it's imperative to understand how your practice integrates with their needs.
Why Baby Boomers?
To better understand why baby boomers would be a wonderful patient population on which to focus your practice, here are some statistics to consider:2-4
What we know from looking at the statistics and observing behavior are several ideologies that heavily favor chiropractic. First, as the statistics above suggest, we are living longer; baby boomers are helping this trend. Many baby boomers exercise regularly, attempt to do what they can with diet and controlling obesity, and most importantly, because of their age group, they are very active individuals.
Second, due to the numerous recent / ongoing changes in North American health care, the U.S. health care system is failing its constituents, with increased costs of traditional medicines, hospital stays and – as documented in many news reports – an overdispensation of medicine. Third, depending on where baby boomers reside, it can take weeks, if not months, to visit their health care provider.
In short, there is a definite window of opportunity for chiropractors to take advantage of these trends and serve this population. If your messaging focuses specifically on healthy aging, reduced costs of care and less need for chronic care, you will be hitting the marketing heartbeat of this large demographic.
7 Ideas to Help Market Your Practice (to Baby Boomers or Anyone Else)
"I don't have enough time" is never a valid excuse. If you think you don't have the time, find the time or hire someone to do the marketing / outreach for you.
When considering these seven marketing ideas, never expect quick success. Be patient and stick to the plan. Try more than just a few of these strategies simultaneously; multiple marketing efforts yield faster results.
Also remember that realizing good results does not mean you should discontinue what you're doing. Marketing and business development are all about consistency.
Finally, not every idea will work for every practice. Run with the ideas that are most congruent with your passion, your time and your patients.
1. Speak Out. One of the best methods to introduce your expertise is to tell others about what you do. Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis and Chambers of Commerce are constantly in need of experts. Contact these practices or others to discuss content to enlighten their members. Participants are attracted by new and interesting content. There is a reason why Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are chronic keynote speakers and their brands continually manifest. You might speak at a local ladies auxiliary or a youth fitness class. Choose avenues where your patients will be.
2. Pen to Paper. Print may be phasing out, but there are still thousands of newsletters, websites, regional business magazines and local newspapers starving for decent material. Articles need not be more than 500 to 1,000 words. With good content and a solid byline, your message can be in the hands of hundreds, thousands or even more. Remember, every chiropractor is an expert in their respective business.
3. Web Presence. The proliferation of the Internet has allowed people to review your content and determine your value before contacting you. Fees are inconsequential; in the business world, you must have a good website to denote your sincerity to patients. With more than 300 million websites on the Web, patients expect you to have one.
Patients use your website to research you before they call or contact. In fact, Google searches top 4.7 billion in any particular week. The Internet is essentially today's Yellow Pages. Make sure you've got a strong Web presence that brings patients to your door.
4. Blog Power. Similar to articles, a blog serves two purposes: 1) remaining in constant contact with current subscribers; and 2) enabling you to reach new patients at relatively no cost. However, the benefits of a blog include immediacy and frequency of content. Proctor and Gamble has a blog; its penetration helps to reach more than 1 million people daily, and the feedback has been successful in creating new products and services. Blogs allow you to provide your expertise in a particular area and get your knowledge out in the market to those who seek it.
5. Lunch and Learns. These concise information sessions last no longer than 30 minutes during a corporate luncheon and feature your content. The benefits are a live audience, interested attendees and low cost of acquisition. The intent is not only delivery, but also possible business from attendees. Many fitness professionals, insurance and service practices use these successful ventures.
Begin by researching companies in your area that might be interested in gaining insight into health, wellness and chiropractic care. Invite company representatives to your office to hear you speak for a short time on health topics of interest to them.
6. A Little Networking. Chambers, associations, etc., exist for a valid reason. When others become aware of your service and if using your value proposition, they desire more information. Recall that individuals conduct business with those they know and trust. Local communities are tremendous ways to build quick, lasting relationships.
7. Referral Magnet. The sweetest sounds any doctor can hear are the encouraging words from existing patients who understand and appreciate your value. When they tell others, you can spend less on advertising because your satisfied patients do the work for you. Your current patients base informs the world of your great results!
In the current health care environment, it is almost certain you are working too hard and not realizing the results – in terms of practice revenue and job satisfaction – you deserve. However, by altering some of your methodologies, rebranding your practice, repurposing your knowledge and extending your demographic reach, you can be a more passionate, insightful and satisfied practitioner. Whether you decide to focus on the baby boomers or another patient population, take these marketing tips to heart and go for it!
Drew Stevens, PhD, is known as "The Revenue Doctor." He helps chiropractors develop strategies that exponentially grow revenue and returns personal time. He is the author of eight books including the widely acclaimed "Practice Acceleration" by Greenbranch publishing. He can be reached through his website at www.stevensconsultinggroup.com.