Episode #15: Learning From the Mouse – What the Walt Disney Company Can Teach Us About Marketing a Hearing Practice

This a long episode, but hey – it’s a special one.  In honor of AAA being in Anaheim this year, I decided to share some thoughts about how we can apply Disney’s marketing strategies to our practices.

1. Differentiate to Avoid Competing on Price – Disney is expensive, but people pay what they ask anyway.  They’ve created their own market.  How much is a Nestle Drumstick worth?  60 cents.  But a Nestle Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich is worth $4.  How do they do that?

2. Provide an Experience, Not a Product – Do your guests feel welcome?  When you walk into Disney it just feels like an escape.  From the nostalgic Main Street to the majestic Cinderella Castle, and even down to the trash removal, everything is done with the experience of the visitor in mind.  For a private practice it doesn’t have to take special skills or extra money, just a little bit of effort and desire to enhance the customer experience.

3. Pay Attention to the Details – Backstage at Disney World they spend years growing topiary plants for their parks the hard way – rather than always resorting to the easier, cheaper way.  It makes a difference.  The birds in the Tiki Room actually appear to be breathing too.  This is all due to Walt Disney’s attention to detail.  It may seem insignificant but the differences like the paper you print your documents on, and the pens you use in private practice, can have a big impact on how a patient perceives your office.

4. Create a Company Culture Where Everyone Knows Their Role – Employees at Disney parks aren’t called employees, they’re called cast members.  They are trained to present a persona to patrons that is upbeat and personable.  In some cultures it is impolite to point with one finger, so cast members are required to use two fingers or their entire hand.  Backstage they are more relaxed, but they take extreme pride in their role as a cast member in the park.  What is the culture like in your practice?

5. Test and Track Everything – Disney uses a lot of tracking of customer feedback to enhance sales.  For instance, they have cast members at the gates asking you to rate details of your experience in the park.  Testing and tracking over time produces better results when marketing.  Not testing and tracking, results in wasted time, money, and effort.

6. Always Innovate – Ask yourself if there is a better way to be doing things?  Fast Passes were a huge innovation at Disney because people standing in long lines for rides would become unhappy and frustrated.  They also couldn’t spend money while in line, which was bad for business.  The creation of the Fast Passes allowed people to reserve their place in line while they continued to shop and eat, etc.  Walt Disney was known for always improving things and never accepting that anything was impossible.  Innovations not only make things possible, but improve the daily functions of any business.

Gyl Kasewurm and I will be presenting a half-day learning lab on Wednesday afternoon.  You can checkout the info here:

(It looks like the direct link is broken, but you can find the details by searching at the page below.)

Learning Lab: Multimedia Marketing Techniques that are Sure to Grow Your Practice (Offers ABA Tier 1 Hours) – 210B

See ya in Anaheim!

 

Audiology Marketing Now Episode 15

5 Responses to “Episode #15: Learning From the Mouse – What the Walt Disney Company Can Teach Us About Marketing a Hearing Practice”

  1. Matt

    01. Apr, 2013

    Here’s another one of our office innovations:

    A lot of OAE equipment uses foam tips, but ours uses soft plastic tips. Sometimes they don’t stay in small, squirmy ears as well as we would like.

    We did some testing, and came up with a solution. When we run into trouble getting them to stay in, we use a pediatric insert earphone tip. We slice off the plastic stem with a razor blade and use a tubing stretcher to fit the foam tip over the probe tip.

    Calibration still works and we’re usually able to get robust OAEs, even with squirmy kids.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Matt

    01. Apr, 2013

    And another to prime the pump . . .

    While supervising students, it’s nice to have the talkback sound from the booth going through speakers instead of just headphones. Family members appreciate this too, while waiting outside the booth.

    Our audiometer didn’t support this. So after quite a while of trying to figure out a solution, we found a cheap amplifier/mic combo that did the trick. We’ve been using it for years without any problems at all. (See Episode 5 for details)

    Reply to this comment
  3. Evan

    04. Apr, 2013

    Interesting episode. Wanted to know how you feel about video otoscopy is that innovative or is it a gimmick? I think if you make the hearing aid evaluation interactive that impresses the pt. It is not just a hearing test and throwing on a pair of hearing aids. It is experiencing how to hear and everything they are missing.

    Reply to this comment
    • Matt

      05. Apr, 2013

      I agree. Interactivity is great. Video otoscopy is a great clinical tool as well as something that can make the appointment more interesting and memorable.

      I bought my first video otoscope after I identified a perf (confirmed w/ typanometry), the pt ordered HAs, and when they went to their doc for medical clearance, the doc told them they didn’t have a perf.

      The pt canceled their order and I never saw them again. Had they been able to see their perf via video otoscopy, they wouldn’t have lost their confidence in me.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Dr. Jeff Baller

    08. Apr, 2013

    Great information. So interesting how you can learn from the biggest companies and apply some of the same principles to our small businesses. Thank you for providing such great knowledge to us Audiologists to help grow and run our businesses more efficiently.

    Dr. Baller

    Reply to this comment

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