Focused Branding

Brand building is often misunderstood by companies that want to increase their visibility, leads and therefore sales. Branding is not about advertising your company or brand to the public at large. Brand building must be focused on your products and/or services, otherwise you are wasting money.

Brand is really two things:

  1. Focus on helping your prospects solve problems. It is about the utility, quality and usefulness of your products or services.
  2. Customer service - how you treat your customers.

Seth Godin writes about being 'Famous to the Family'. As he says, being famous to the 'family' is what the goal of your marketing efforts should be. 'You don't need to be a Nike or Apple or GE. You need to be famous to the small circle of people you are hoping will admire and trust you'.

Being famous - being recognized as a valuable irreplaceable brand to your customers (your family, your tribe) is more efficient. That should be your goal. 

Let me warn you even this is not as easy as it seems. It takes tremendous focus

It takes focus in making sure you delight your customers and convert them to becoming your evangelists.

Nobody cares more about your brand as a known brand more than your customers. Use your advertising money to focus on your products, services and customers (customer service). Be focused, you will get more clients at a much lower cost of acquisition.

Sales by Listening

Marketing is about Trust. Never forget that. It starts with a primary seed of credibility. When prospects like what they see, next instinct is to want to be assured. It either gets destroyed or built upon by what they see on the website. As we start generating leads, we think we have the right to earn their business.

We fail to focus on the long-term trust building exercise of listening to our customers. We fail to focus on our goal of building confidence, earning trust, permission and familiarity that can lead them one step closer to sales.

But along the way, we get self-obsessed with our products in the belief that because we are spending money on marketing and generating leads, we have the right to demand their attention. We 'bought' the lead, therefore he/she must listen to me.

Listen

We falsely believe marketing is about us, not them. We don't listen - why did they raise their hand to seek information from us? Did we listen to them to earn their trust?

Listening worth its weight in gold, and must be cherished.

EMR Demand not exciting

HHS announced an easing of the timeline for hospitals and eligible providers to meet Stage II of the government EHR incentive program. This makes State II compliance easier for those providers that qualify for State I in 2011. However, it is too late now to buy EMR software, use it for 90 days and qualify for 2011 incentives. I suspect few providers will actually qualify for incentives in 2011 (estimated at 5%).

This means that the overall impact of EHR / EMR demand is still not enough.

EMR Marketing and Sales

I was just speaking to a colleague in the EMR / EHR industry about EMR sales. Are doctors buying EMR in the small ambulatory practice market? This is a small company just starting to get into the market. He said sales are 'not bad'. He claims a 'few' sales a month. In reality, this company is not doing more than 2-3 sales per month. EMR seems to be the place to be. It is incredible - have you counted the number of EMR companies (both client-server and web-based EMR) that have mushroomed in the last 18 months? Granted that the market is still young and majority of the doctors have not yet adopted EMR. But what is happening?

I'll tell you what is happening. EMR (web-based EMR or client server) is becoming a commodity. It is becoming hard to sell on features. It is becoming hard to sell value. It ultimately boils down to Price. Even before looking at a Demonstration, doctors are asking 'how much'?

How do you fight that?

One thing that has not changed over the years is how you connect with the Doctor. What I mean is, giving a demonstration that doctors can relate to. Can the Docs see themselves using your software everyday, in front of patients, when they are done with patients, when they want to access patient data any time? It does not matter how fancy your user interface, it does not matter how many features you have, it does not even matter if it is free.

What I mean is your ability to give a Demonstration that connects with the Doctor. This is a rare skill, however it is something that can be taught and nurtured. Focus on it, your sales will increase.