Ophthalmology Business

OCT 2013

Ophthalmology Business is focused on business topics relevant to the entrepreneurial ophthalmologist. It offers editorial, opinion, and practical tips for physicians running an ophthalmic practice. It is a companion publication of EyeWorld.

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Grow your practice by attracting a new cultural niche by Vanessa Caceres Contributing Writer Thoughtful approach could yield a surge in business D on't let language or cultural barriers stand in the way of establishing your practice as the go-to place for eyecare in your local niche cultural markets. Targeting communities where the majority of residents come from another country or speak a language other than English can be a great way to build your refractive business as well as cataract or routine eyecare, said consultant Shareef Mahdavi, SM2 Strategic, Pleasanton, Calif. "It is absolutely the right thing to do," said Mr. Mahdavi. "Consumer decision making is easier when it's enabled in one's native tongue." Here's one reason why it's a smart move: In a number of niche cultural markets, such as in Hispanic communities across the U.S., there's a second or even third generation that is young, upwardly mobile, increasingly well-educated, and has the buying power to invest in luxuries like LASIK. "This is a very attractive market that's looking for something more premium," said Felipe Korzenny, PhD, professor and founder/director, Center for Study of Hispanic Marketing Communication, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla. "Every population has an interest in self-improvement," Mr. Mahdavi said. Here's another reason: Word-ofmouth recommendations are especially important in community groups newer to the U.S., as they get to know the U.S. culture better. If you make one person from the community happy, they'll tell their friends and family. However, you'll want your marketing efforts targeted toward a niche cultural market to take a thoughtful approach—you can't just take what you do in English, translate it, and wait for the new business to come. Here are 11 ways to make your marketing to a niche cultural market more effective. 1. Decide what cultural market you will target, recommended Dr. Korzenny. Is it recent immigrants who are still learning English and are not yet acculturated? Or is it the second or third generation that's lived here for a long time and may speak both English and their native language well? Knowing who your target market is will make a difference in how you plan to design your marketing efforts, Dr. Korzenny said. For example, if your target is the younger population, your ad might be in English but contain a witty phrase or a play on words in their first language to attract their attention, he said. 2. Think of 20% as your tipping point, said Mr. Mahdavi. In other words, if 20% or more of your patients come from the target niche community, then it would be wise to invest marketing and promotional dollars to attract even more patients. This might include more advertising or having your website translated into the target language. 3. Learn about the culture to help mold your marketing and outreach efforts. In the Hispanic culture, for instance, ads tend to be more expressive or targeted toward emotions. "If you did a commercial in the typical continued on page 26 October 2013 • Ophthalmology Business 25

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