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Desert: A Metaphor from the Study of Genetics
In most of the human lives I know about, there are stretches of time which feel stagnant, or worse. We can feel adrift, or wounded and sidelined, and these times don't seem to carry much usefulness while they are unfolding.
Chinese Doctors Poke Holes in Australian Study
A recent Australian clinical trial, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2014 by Rana Hinman, et el., evaluating the effectiveness of both needle and laser acupuncture for chronic knee pain.
Integrative Medicine for the Underserved: A Seat at the Table
Numerous organizations have risen to the challenge of providing care to medically-underserved populations and here we feature one such group.
The Three Heater Official
This Official, belonging to the element Fire, is responsible for maintaining and regulating the heating system of the body, mind, and spirit. It is named for its function. The trunk is divided into three "burning spaces" or "jiaos."
News in Brief
Investigating the Cellular Impact of Mechanical Force; National Board Seats (Not-So) New Officers at Annual Meeting.
Marketing with a Microphone
When given an option, it stands to reason that people prefer to do business with those they know, like, and trust.
Treatment of PTSD: An Opportunity for the Practice of Integrated Medicine
PTSD is widespread across America today. Not only do many of our honored men and women in uniform bring it home with them from the war zones they have been active in, but it often follows any life-threatening event people go through when their lives have been in danger.
Creating Relationships at Southwest Symposium
The month of May brought many interesting activities. As I have said in many previous columns this year, this profession is moving in a very exciting direction. Make sure you are getting involved. If you're not, you just might get left behind.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 3)
A patient with sacroiliac fixation and dysfunction ordinarily demonstrates a noticeable leg-length inequality when placed in the prone position on the adjusting table.
The Source-Luo Point Combination, Part 2
The Da Cheng includes symptoms for the source-luo points that indicate when to use them for treatment. Yang defines the method as the guest-host (it is one of a variety of acupuncture point combinations called guest-host).
Sports Medicine 101: Surgery or No Surgery?
In the world of sports medicine, many careers are saved by surgeries that correct traumatic damage to the body. Muscle tears, ligament damage, fractures, spinal disc herniations, and joint instabilities are a few of the issues frequently addressed with surgical intervention.
I was sitting in a Pizza Hut in Peoria, Ill., with my friend Reggie, sometime in the spring of my senior year in college, when he started doodling on his paper placemat. In those days, the company had a picture of U.S. on the mats, showing all the locations of the "Huts" in the country.
NCCAOM Video Contest
The NCCAOM is excited to announce the launch of the second annual video contest "Because it Works!" 2015.
An International Life: An Interview with Mary Elizabeth Wakefield
I met Mary Elizabeth Wakefield during her class last summer in Seneca Falls, New York at the Finger Lakes School of Chinese Medicine.
Meet Cheyenne: Your Future Colleague
Allow me to introduce you to Cheyenne (Chey), the daughter of some of our family's closest friends. We attend and serve at the same church together, and have known each other for many years.
Q&A With the First VA Chiropractic Residents
As you may have read previously, a major step forward for the profession occurred in July 2014 when the Department of Veterans Affairs began piloting a chiropractic residency program at five locations.
Nomenclature and Classification of Lumbar Disc Pathology: Version 2.0
The Nomenclature and Classification of Lumbar Disc Pathology consensus, published in 2001 by the collaborative efforts of the North American Spine Society, the American Society of Spine Radiology and the American Society of Neuroradiology, has guided radiologists, clinicians and the public for more than a decade.
Should You Change an Athlete's Natural Running Form?
Once past the ankle, impact forces travel at about 200 mph into the knee. In addition to allowing the quad to absorb force, bending the knee (E) prevents the hip and pelvis from moving up and down too much (F), which is important for injury prevention and efficiency.
Key Changes and Updates to the 7th Edition CNT Manual
Acupuncture Today recently interviewed Jennifer Brett, ND, L.Ac. regarding the updates to the CNT manaul.
Going On-Site With Chiropractic Care
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released a position paper highlighting the financial, clinical and patient-satisfaction benefits of providing chiropractic care at on-site corporate health clinics.
The Risks I Took
We all take risks when we choose this profession. For some, it is not knowing if you can make a living practicing TCM. For others, it is parental or cultural disapproval.
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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