admin March 7th, 2007
By Kevin Gibson
Director of Marketing
John-Kenyon Eye Center
Everyone wants to be on television. And if you can get your practice on
local TV, it can't hurt, right? But using common sense is
all-important, because TV advertising is quite expensive.
But the argument can be made that TV advertising is worth the expense.
A recent study by the Television Bureau of Advertising (TBA) reported
that the public perceives TV ads as the most "influential,"
"authoritative," "exciting" and "persuasive." And those surveyed said
TV is the medium where they are most likely to learn about products or
Fairly compelling, no? But be careful not to just throw your money
against the wall and hope it sticks. In other words, just because it's
TV doesn't mean it's necessarily going to work for your practice. You
have to understand a few things first. For one, be ready to invest for
the long-haul. A car dealer or a furniture store can invest in three
weeks' worth of television and make it work - because they are the kind
of businesses that have limited-time sales, making this kind of
"immediate response" advertising work in short spurts. But an
ophthalmic practice is different; not that one couldn't conceivably
have a one-day blowout sale on Intacs for keratoconus, but - well,
So what most practices will want to focus on is brand or image
advertising - and that requires a much longer investment than immediate
response advertising. Did we mention that TV advertising is expensive?
Plan and budget at least a year in advance if possible, because you
will need your advertising to be consistent not just in message but in
placement. People get hit with so many messages each day, that your
message must be consistent in order to not get lost in all the clutter.
And you must be persistent. Give your message time to sink in and begin
to work for you.
Another key factor to remember: Choose your target audience wisely.
Broadcast television consistently outdraws cable in most major markets,
according to the TBA. In the TBA study, broadcast television was cited
by more adults as their primary news source, and as their primary
source for local weather, traffic and sports news. Asked which was the
most exciting and most influential news source, respondents named
broadcast television as their No. 1 choice.
At the same time, cable is typically more affordable, and can still
reach the right audience if you choose wisely. Health- and
fitness-related shows are prime candidates and would be worth looking
into. Of course, every TV sales person is going to tell you that his or
her station offers the best advantages for your practice - so it is
wise to do some of your own research. Know your patients; don't be
afraid to ask trusted colleagues what works for them.
And TV isn't necessarily the route you want to take. Many practices
have great success with print; others prefer radio or even billboards.
All are legitimate vehicles for getting your message across to your
target audience. The most important thing to do is spend your
advertising dollar wisely. Consider frequency and reach. Ask any media
rep to present statistical analysis on their product's demographic and
reach. And don't be afraid, if a schedule is presented, to negotiate.
TV, radio and print salespeople can and will alter their prices and
packages if it can help them make a sale. Use that to your advantage,
and don't be afraid to play hardball. Remember, you have the money to
spend, and to a salesperson, money equals power and leverage.
So you want to be on TV, huh? Use common sense, tailor your message and
find your audience. Just being on TV won't bring in new patients. Being
effective on TV will.