nails on the chalkboard

It’s Not Marketing. It’s Teaching.

We’re in the final stages of putting together the Advanced Marketing Handbook (scheduled for release in early October 2014) – and as I was reviewing parts of it this week, I had a thought to share with you that may make your marketing a bit easier to digest.

Here’s what I know (based on the dozens, maybe hundreds of conversations I have had with advocates over the past few years)…

Most of you appreciate marketing on about the same level as nails on the chalkboard. (Oh dear, I digress, but do they even put chalkboards in classrooms anymore? !!)

Yes, I recognize that it’s probably NOT your favorite part of being in business, but that you regard it about one step below a necessary evil. If only you could be left to advocate for people all day long and never have to worry about marketing or business… amirite?

OK. I get it – at least as someone who really just loves marketing can! I have to make a concerted effort to put myself into your shoes (as any good business woman who must understand her target audiences must) – and I realize that my love for the sport of marketing isn’t shared by most of my audience (you!)

So I gave some heavy duty thought to how I could actually make it a bit more palatable. How can I help my marketing-averse advocates begin to see marketing as something that helps them help their clients (and therefore help those advocates dislike it less?)

So here’s what I have come up with:

Instead of looking at marketing as the necessary evil that will keep you in business, instead begin looking at it as something ALTRUISTIC that benefits your potential and current clients, in a handful of ways.

teacherStop thinking of your marketing as a business exercise. Instead, think of it as a teaching tool.

Marketing your services in educational ways can teach clients not just about patient advocacy, but can provide empowerment lessons, too. Here are some examples:

  • Public speaking (which is marketing) provides many lessons to patients, and helps them build trust in you, too.
  • A regular email newsletter (which is marketing) can provide tips, and you never know when that ONE tip will be the one that saves a life (or life savings.)
  • A blog (which is marketing) can teach the tenets of being a smart patient, and it could be that the one point you highlight this week will be the one thing that helps a patient make a smart choice.
  • Being available through social media (which is marketing) means that when a potential client asks you a question, you can provide a quick and resourceful answer. The power to that patient is incredible.

Bottom line: Instead of looking at marketing as something you are doing as a smart business exercise, as that necessary evil that will bring patients to contact you, begin looking at your marketing as a public service; as something that improves audiences lives and outcomes just because your marketing exists.

Take off your marketer hat and don your teacher hat instead.

It won’t take long before that gusto for your advocacy blends with your new gusto for being a teacher, too. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the reaction from the patient-public who appreciates what you have taught them, and now trusts you enough to hire you.

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APHA Blog : The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates
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