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Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
April, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 04
Create Your Niche in the Marketplace
By Cary Bayer
What do people think of when they consider your service? Do they lump you in with the rest of the competition? If you're tired of trying to carve out a living in a competitive massage therapist marketplace, consider creating your niche to position yourself apart from the rest.
Creating Your Nouveau Niche
The word "niche" is derived from the French word "nicher" meaning to nest, where a person or thing is best fitted. In the marketplace, the word refers to being specialized, setting something or someone apart from the competition. There are two excellent ways to create such a niche.
One is by doing something nobody else does, and the other is by creating a perceived point of difference. The former is accomplished by having a unique training; the latter is achieved through advertising.
Let's consider the first way: Suppose there are 15 successful LMTs working in your market. And suppose you're the only one who practices Thai or Lomi Lomi massage. Positioning yourself as a Thai or Lomi Lomi expert brings you the overwhelming share of the market for those specialty techniques. This creates a huge surge in business.
Last year, I taught a CE seminar in which one participant was an LMT in the southeast who owned a day spa that offered prenatal massage. It was the only day spa in her city that offered massage for pregnant women. Mid-sized cities like hers are composed of huge numbers of pregnant women at any given time. This gave her spa a point of difference in the marketplace - it was her niche.
Let's take another example. Suppose you work in a small market in which all the other LMTs work out of rented offices. In other words, no therapist in your area does outcalls, and you don't mind driving. You could then position yourself as the therapist who makes house calls. At a time when medical doctors no longer do, you could stand out. You'd have no competition, giving you the lion's share of the market for clients wanting massages in their homes. Naturally, you would charge a premium for that service.
Advertising, as mentioned above, can create a position in the marketplace. Let's return to the outcall example. Whether you're working in a city in which nobody else does outcalls, or even if you work in one where virtually everybody does, your advertising can set you apart by positioning you as the therapist who makes house calls. Your promotional brochure and Web site could support that position. Miller Brewing's Miller Lite became the leading light beer when that category took off in the 70s, not because they were the first in the market, but because they were the first to promote the brand. Try to imagine a sports event on TV today without light beer commercials.
What if you're a massage therapist with no specific training that sets you apart from other LMTs in your city. How do you stand apart then? This, by the way, is the same problem that faces most packaged foods and products that you pile into your shopping cart at super markets every week. The answer in this case is advertising.
You could depict the hour that you give people on your table as a mini-vacation. I know of a few therapists in the south, who do just that. The copy would have to position the massage as a brief getaway, and graphics would have to further illustrate copy points with palm trees and the ocean, for example.
Advertising can be remarkably effective for an LMT. In what seems like a previous lifetime, I used to work in an ad agency in a small town called New York, New York. The company--Doyle Dane Bernbach--was widely known as the most creative agency in the business. Years earlier, they helped put Volkswagen and Avis on the map, and gave Heinz ketchup a huge point of difference. All three clients had perceived difficulties in the marketplace, but for all three it created enormous breakthroughs. I'll share this marketing history with you because it can help you see how much intelligent advertising can make a difference for you, as well.
Volkswagen was a small and ugly little import from Germany when it entered the U.S. in the 50s. Doyle Dane copywriters and art directors came up with novel new ways to see the auto. "Think small," it implored readers leafing through magazines like Life. "It's ugly, but it gets you there," said another ad, citing the sturdiness and reliability of the Bug that they helped make adorable.
Avis was number two in the car rental business, miles from the leader Hertz, and barely in front of number three. My agency's creative positioning: "When you're number two, you try harder." The slogan revolutionized the way Avis staffers felt about their jobs, changing them to highly dedicated employees.
Then, the piece de resistance, Heinz ketchup Here was a product with an obvious disadvantage: it took forever for the ketchup to pour out of the bottle. All the other brands delivered the goods much faster than Heinz. What to do? The agency turned the whole matter of speed on its head, by reframing the argument altogether. Their positioning for their ketchup became: "Too thick to win a ketchup race." Doyle Dane succeeded in changing the context entirely. Instead of the competition being about speed, they made it about thickness - and the results became a part of marketing history. Heinz is far and away the most successful ketchup in the world.
If your work stands head and shoulders (no pun intended) above your competition, chances are good that you're so busy you don't need to position yourself in the marketplace. You already enjoy the number one position. Only one therapist per market gets to enjoy that status, however. For everyone else, being "busier" will make a big difference, and positioning is one good way to accomplish that increase in numbers of massages given. If you don't have a point of difference with regard to the modalities you offer, use advertising to create one.
Click here for more information about Cary Bayer.
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