Conscious Marketing is not about corporate social responsibility or philanthropy. It’s about building something so fundamentally good and compelling into the heart of your business, your products and services that people simply want to join your tribe and tell everyone about you… so how can you become a conscious leader?
Conscious Marketing is about ensuring your marketing activities are aligned with your higher purpose – the WHY behind what you do. It’s about pricing and packaging your offering with deep regard for your customer and their needs while taking care of and engaging all of your stakeholders.
It’s about taking a ‘cause leadership’ approach and bringing your profession along with you in a spirit of collaboration rather than competition.
Conscious Marketing is also about promoting your offering with honesty, transparency and congruency and with messages of hope and humanity.
Ultimately, when you do this, your business will become sustainable and profitable because your product or service and your message will make the world a better place… It’s all about profiting on purpose.
So how do you change your business and your leadership style to become a conscious leader?
Let me demonstrate within the context of optometry. The case study I have created here demonstrates how an optometry practice owner could turn his or her practice around within a few months, just by changing the focus. Let’s position this optometry practice in a small town recently devastated by flood. We will name the practice owner Narelle.
Having had to close her practice due to the flood, Narelle recognises the opportunity to re-open with a new brand and positioning.
She wants to send a strong message to members of the community to let them know that despite the turmoil of the preceding months, her practice is here to stay, prepared to help, and that she and her staff have the interests of the community and their eye health at the very core of their hearts.
Following recent changes to Medicare rebates, she also believes it’s the right time to begin charging a fee for service (for customers other than pensioners, low-income health care cardholders, full time students and children) that will ensure she can continue to offer the highest level of service and expertise in the long-term.
Putting Purpose at Heart
In line with the Cycle of Conscious Marketing process, the first thing Narelle needs to do is conduct an audit of her current marketing program then build a new marketing plan that’s embedded with processes and measurement systems. Once she’s done this, her plan needs to be executed and her team educated to ensure an ongoing return on investment.
In developing her plan and determining her communication strategy, Narelle needs to realise and constantly remind herself – and her team – of her deepest purpose for being in business as an optometrist: to help customers maximise their vision, and in doing so, collectively contribute to the health and welfare of the community.
The planning stage of Narelle’s process will help her shape the level of service and product she wants to offer. Additionally it will help to define her communications strategy, which needs to become patient focused as opposed to being all about her previous practice success.
In thinking through her service offering, Narelle will gain the confidence to change her pricing model so that she can begin to charge a fee that truly reflects her service and expertise. She might also look for new opportunities to build patient loyalty and in doing so, improve the standard of community eye health, while also making her practice more sustainable. This might include, for example, a monthly fee for contact lens patients that will encourage them to come in more regularly for checks, fitting enquiries and contact lens supply.
Creating a new fee schedule of any kind is a delicate matter, especially when patients are used to being bulk-billed for vision testing. This makes it more important than ever to ensure all communications demonstrate that Narelle’s practice team passionately cares about the health and welfare of patients. It also makes it essential that fees are clearly communicated – patients need to feel they can drop in anytime for advice instead of being scared to do so because they are unclear of what they will be charged. They need to see their optometrist as an expert, trusted partner in their health care. Additionally, Narelle’s team needs to be clear on the reasons for these new fee schedules and aware of the benefits the new fees will bring to both the patients and practice. They need to be ready to communicate and discuss these changes with patients in a confident, positive manner.
Everything we do, regardless of the business we are in, is about educating our patients or clients and offering them the best advice to help them be healthy, happy and successful… And the good news is, you don’t need to wait for a flood, fire or earthquake to close your practice before implementing change… it’s absolutely possible for you to transform your practice overnight with a conscious approach to marketing.
Carolyn Tate is a marketer with a passion to reinvent capitalism, business and marketing so that it makes a positive contribution to humanity and the planet. She is the Victorian Leader for Conscious Capitalism, the founder of The Slow School of Business and her company is a Certified B Corporation. She loves to write, speak, educate and build conscious business communities that are both purpose-driven and prosperous. Carolyn has written four books, her most recent one being Conscious Marketing, which was launched in April 2015 and available at http://carolyntate.co/off-the-shelf/
Services are priced with fixed fees and income is earned because of results achieved.
Creating a community around your business is a primary motivator in your marketing.