Practice Differentiation by Joe Lancellotti – the MI Guy who created www.doctorsmarketing.com

The conventional professional marketing view of differentiation is that successful differentiation requires distinguishing a practice from competitors on an attribute that is meaningful, relevant, and valuable to potential patients. Observation, however, reveals that most practices use attributes that are often accepted and expected by consumers.

A good rule of thumb is that if you can say “I should hope so” or “I would expect that” after you select an attribute, it’s a platitude. Webster defines a platitude as: A cliché. A trite or banal remark or statement, especially one expressed as if it were original or significant. Lack of originality; triteness. The point is …don’t use it! Here are a few examples: friendly, affordable, caring, dedicated, committed to clinical excellence…I should hope so. They are clichés, spurious, not compelling. Definitely not what we want as differentiating attributes.

What are those value-added features that provide true benefits to the patients? Make it a team project at your next few team meetings. What ever your selection, it’s imperative that each and every team member own it, are proud of it, and share it with current and potential patients.

How about: Our family has successfully served the community for over 60 years (family tradition). “I would expect that.” Probably not. It’s more than I expected! Or, Over 3,000 implants successfully placed. “I should hope so.” No, that is much more than I hoped for. You get the idea.

Once you select the attribute or attributes that clearly differentiate your practice, add them to the tools in your marketing mix. Let everyone know in your audience. Place it on your business card and stationary. Add it as a tagline on your logo. Highlight it in your website and your emails. On your office sign. In the headline of your ads, postcards, and direct mail pieces. Everywhere. The quality and quantity is important in making sure this point of differentiation is attributed to you in the minds of your audience. Even if a competitor is quick to copy your effective attribute, your audience will remember that you initiated it.

You may find, if you’re lucky, potential patients that don’t currently come to you will remember this one unique attribute about you. They may refer you to others, or when they do need your services, you’ll be on the top of their mind.