Does your doctor ever make this dreadful marketing mistake?

December 3, 2010 · 0 comments

Smart marketers already know that marketing is more than advertising. Here is one marketing tactic that often gets overlooked: time.

Domino’s saw sales rise to $250 million annually because of their 30 minute guaranteed delivery. Tens of thousands of businesspeople pay more to FedEx to “absolutely positively” get their packages there quicker than the other guys can.

But using time as part of your marketing strategy can be a lot more subtle than that. I recently had a doctor’s appointment. Before I left my office, I called to see if the doctor was on schedule. His receptionist assured me he was. However, when I arrived, I was told to “have a chair. The nurse will call your name in about 45 minutes.” I was a little frustrated, so I asked the nurse why they did that, and she told me the doctor likes to do it that way to “keep things running efficiently.”

When a doctor overbooks his schedule, and it’s typical to wait 30 to 45 minutes for an appointment, it becomes perfectly clear who’s important. For patients, the message is: “This is all about the doctor. It’s not about us.”

Is there a lesson here for us?

A printing firm that prides itself on finishing every order on deadline, regardless of what it takes, is making a powerful statement about who’s important. When you care enough about your customers to agree with them on a deadline, and then make sure you meet those expectations, you are doing marketing that is far less costly and far more effective than any advertising.

Words are plentiful, but deeds are precious.

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