When I hear a podiatrist say they don't like marketing because it is deceptive, I think it's a clear indication that the podiatrist has no understanding of what deception actually means.
If you look at the definition, deception is an act or statement which misleads, hides the truth, or promotes a belief, concept, or idea that is not true. And, it is often done for personal gain, advantage and power.
So, when you hear a podiatrist make a 'dumb statement' like 'marketing is deceptive' it makes you wonder do they truly believe this or are they simply saying marketing is deceptive because it's much easier than admitting they do not know how to market their podiatry business? I believe the latter to be true.
I also believe that everyone has the capability of becoming better at marketing if they make a conscious effort to do so.
It's A Transfer of Information
Marketing is nothing more than a transfer of information from one person to another. If you have a service, a product, or a particular skill, which can be of benefit to the public, how can it be deceptive to share what you know, especially if it will be beneficial?
As long as you market the podiatry service or product professionally and honestly, then you can never be accused of deceptive marketing.
Are You Unique?
Do you have a particular service, product or skill that no other podiatrist in your area provides? If so, let the public know about it.
I've seen podiatrists invest in computer software and other gadgets so they can do in-depth running assessments, and then they do no marketing to promote this unique service. Keeping it a secret helps no one.
Also, having a service and not promoting it is the same as not having the service at all.
Use Internal Marketing
You don't have to spend large amounts of money to market what you do either. For example, internal marketing to your existing database is an inexpensive way to promote any new service or product, and it is not deceptive to do this. In fact, it's smart.
At all my podiatry businesses, we had one wall in each consultation room wallpapered from floor to ceiling (see photo), plastered with all the common foot and lower limb problems we treated.
Is this deceptive?
Of course not, it's just one of many simple Internal Marketing ideas we use to educate our patients, and it does prompt a lot of good questions and quality conversations with our patients.
It's About Education
Your patients need to learn more about podiatry and all the services you provide, and it's up to you to educate them. You can never assume your patients are aware of all the treatment services you offer and believe me, I've learnt this the hard way.
I had a close family friend take their daughter to their local doctor for nail surgery because they thought my podiatry business only treated sportspeople and made orthotics.
Remember, marketing is simply a transfer of information, which I obviously failed to do with my friend.
Does Deceptive Marketing Ever Happen In Podiatry?
Sure it does. Informing the public that you're the podiatrists for a particular sporting team when you're clearly not, is deceptive marketing. Saying your a specialist in a particular area of podiatry, without having specialist skills, is deceptive. Using an Association or Accredited Podiatrist Logo, when you're no longer a member or accredited, is deceptive marketing.
Accidents Do Happen, But That's Still No Excuse
I have been caught out myself though, accidentally, using an old brochure and not checking all the content before handing it out, and of course, a local podiatrist that did not like me was very quick to point out my error and also quickly bring it to the attention of the podiatry boards.
Yes, it was a dick move on his behalf, and it an obvious oversight, however, I was at fault.
This is why you should regularly review all your marketing materials, and all the important information on your website, making sure it's up to date because you never want to be accused of being deceptive, even if accidentally.
Beware of Confirmation Bias
If you believe marketing is deceptive, this belief could be holding you back from the true podiatry success you deserve.
You need to be careful of a term called Confirmation Bias which is the tendency to search for, interpret, favour, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one's prior beliefs or values.
So if you believe marketing is deceptive your subconscious mind will look for proof to confirm your thinking, but remember, it also works in reverse. If you start telling yourself that marketing is good, you will also find evidence to support this notion.
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