A Cure for Benign Neglect: Thinking Outside the Box (Office)

gene wilder hugging young frankenstein Everyone likes to think that his or her marketing and advertising efforts are creative, fresh and energized. (Let’s hope that’s always so.) But what we rarely notice is their rapid decay.

Familiarity can lead to benign neglect, and even the best of marketing efforts often become stale long before we’re aware of it. Unless we’re watching carefully, it can sneak past any of us. To illustrate, here’s a personal real-world story.

After nearly 30 years of exhibiting, attending and speaking at trade shows and conferences, I’d hit the wall. I was scheduled to represent my company in a booth at a healthcare conference in August in Washington, D.C. and was dreading more of the same: Stay in the exhibit hall booth trying to lure some of the thousands of attendees who are certain that they don’t have time for you.

Not only would the weather be insufferable, I was a lame duck at the company, having worked out an amicable separation agreement that was effective three months later.

So, I seized the opportunity created by my boredom and my impending departure to avoid one well-known definition of insanity. This time, I would not do the same thing hoping for a different result. This time, I was going to go out with a flourish. But how? How could I engage the passersby without sounding like a carnival barker and still maintain my sanity?

The idea came to me on a drive home from work. A week before the conference, I called to arrange to have a television monitor, a DVD player and a tall media stand with wheels to be delivered to our booth.

From the first moment of the conference until we were packing to leave, I showed the Mel Brooks/Gene Wilder classic comedy Young Frankenstein on the monitor non-stop, believing that this crowd would appreciate a laugh in-between all the serious business going on in the convention center.

It was totally unconventional, unexpected, crowd stopping, outrageously funny…and it worked.

At times, there were as many as two-dozen people standing in front of the monitor, smiling or laughing. And out of the many people who stopped to watch, enough of them asked, “So what do you folks do?” to more than justify the experiment. I left with more leads than ever.

Trade shows are not part of everyone’s marketing plan, but the point is that—whatever you’re doing—all advertising and marketing efforts can grow stale. And the cure is having a fresh set of eyes review your marketing effort at least twice a year.

In order to get the best feedback, select experienced and independent evaluators—people with no emotional or financial connections to your office.

In other words, your niece may be a nice person and a good graphic designer, but she is not qualified to provide you with the honest, sometimes hard-to-swallow recommendations you need to put your best face forward.

Yes, I am available. For a free, no-obligation website evaluation, connect with me: ssmith@healthcaresuccess.com

And if you happen to hear of a remake of Young Frankenstein in the works, please let me know. I’d like to audition. (I‘m now qualified to play any part without rehearsing.)

Steve Smith, Healthcare Success Senior Consultant

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director at Healthcare Success
Over the years Stewart has personally marketed and consulted for over 1,457 healthcare clients, ranging from private practices to multi-billion dollar corporations. Additionally, he has marketed a variety of America’s leading companies, including Citicorp, J. Walter Thompson, Grubb & Ellis, Bally Total Fitness, Wells Fargo and Chase Manhattan. Stewart co-founded our company, and today acts as Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director. He is also a frequent author and speaker on the topic of healthcare marketing. His personal accomplishments are supported by a loving wife and two beautiful daughters.



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