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 at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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