Because Your Friends Are Cool
By Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA
Everybody wants to be popular.
I can remember my early years in grade school, always wanting to hang with the cool kids. You might remember this, too. Little did the cool kids know that we physical therapists would be the ones to become the cool adults. It is a natural instinct to want to hang with those we revere as desirable and not with someone we are ashamed of. Cool is, well—cool.
And just as this principle has applied to us during childhood and beyond, it applies to a few others we might think important—our customers.
That is right, our customers want to hang with the “in” crowd just as much as we do. Knowing who and where the “in” crowd is can help position physical therapy practices that are looking to get mileage out of their marketing dollar. In business, the “in” crowd is not unlike the cool kids in school. They hang out at the cool spots, they talk about the latest trends, they are good looking, and they are never alone.
Taking a look at your own community, you will quickly bring to mind a few businesses that fit this description.
In my community, the coolest spots are downtown where the foot traffic is heavy. Some of our best brands live there and are visible to thousands on a daily basis. Their trendy chatter takes place online through social media channels—finding its way to hundreds of smartphones within seconds. They look great because they take care of themselves, with manicured retail space and the latest fashions on display. Finally, whether through physical proximity, cross-promotion, or advertising in local publications, they are always seen together.
The makings of an “in” crowd, right? So now what?
Well, it is time to work your way in. Consumers like these popular businesses, and just as it worked in the 4th grade, you can get instant cred just by hanging with them.
Here are a few tips to make sure your physical therapy practice is hanging with the “in” crowd.
Cross-promote with the cool brands. The local shoe store downtown would certainly love to have their brand in your waiting room. They would probably love to have the brand of a gait analysis expert (that is you) in their space as well. And at what cost? You do not sell shoes and they do not sell physical therapy—mix your brands together and leverage that marketing they have done in the community.
Cosponsor community events. Community or charity events are a great opportunity to hold hands in public with other popular businesses with whom you would like to associate. Team up with the popular kids to support your local charity or community event and give yourself some exposure with a little fun on the side.
Weave yourself into the conversation. The cool kids are talking the latest trends and that gives you ample opportunity to become relevant and interesting by weaving yourself into their conversation. “Like” posts from your favorite local brands online, respond to their online commentary, and ask them questions of your own.
Remember that popularity is always trending. Leverage the cool of others and help your customers understand that you are part of the “in” crowd—and exactly where they would like to be.If you are part of the “in” crowd, let me know how you are getting the job done at @tannusquatre.
Tannus Quatre, PT, MBA, lives at the intersection of physical therapy and entrepreneurship, spending his time helping physical therapists build and operate successful practices through his company, Vantage Clinical Solutions. He specializes in marketing, finance, and business planning, and authors and speaks regularly for the APTA and PPS. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.