I have had the pleasure and privilege of serving on many committees over my years with TSO. As my good friend Dr. Steve Stanfield says, “I tend to get more out of the meetings than I contribute. The discussions are lively, honest and everyone involved has an opinion.”
I would have to say that without exception, our marketing and advertising committee comes under the most scrutiny. This committee and its decisions should be scrutinized. If you total all dollars spent by TSO Marketing and all the marketing councils, (Houston, Austin, Golden Triangle and the individual markets) we spend nearly $4 million dollars a year. That’s a lot of dough! If I had a dollar for every time someone said they wanted a campaign or promotion to “drive patients in our doors,” I would not be practicing optometry, but sitting near a pool drinking my favorite adult beverage and counting my cash.
In reality, a patient’s decision to come to our office is determined by a number of factors. Is the office location convenient? What are their family and friends saying about TSO? What is their perception of TSO? Do you take their insurance? All of these factors affect their decision. In addition, how are they greeted when they call your office and how well does your staff appear to cater to their needs? If the patients are shopping for new glasses, do you have a good selection of frames? Is your staff knowledgeable about the right products for their eyes? All of these aspects are important and we haven’t even touched the question of price. As far as I can tell, the only thing that will drive a patient into your office is a chauffeured limousine.
Because there are so many factors and each of our offices are so diverse, we made the decision several years ago to minimize the price issue, and try to promote the TSO brand. We want our brand to be one of the first that patients think about when it comes to eyes and eyewear. Our “Caring for the Eyes of Texas” has been tested. This message seems to resonate with patients. We have tried to use our marketing dollars to create ads that are clean and simple without looking cheesy. We have invested in finding ways to make our TSO offices show up in internet searches. And we continue to look for better ways to spend our marketing dollars.
I realize we all have opinions of what our advertising should do, but realize that the TSO logo and brand provide a powerful attraction that makes our office phones ring. What you do with that call can utilize or waste those marketing dollars.
Keep in touch,
Roland Montemayor, O.D.