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a blog by Chris Barrow

Do you want 30% growth in 2019? Simply understand the three different types of marketing.

When you are marketing, it’s important to understand exactly what type of marketing you are doing:

  1. Direct marketing – talking to strangers about your products and services – through print, audio or digital media. High cost for high volume traffic with a large attrition rate and low returns;

  2. Brand marketing – talking to strangers and friends about your identity, your core values. About why you do what you do, who you do it with and what you believe in. Explaining what makes you different. It’s almost impossible to measure any ROI but very necessary as part of your overall marketing activity;

  3. Relationship marketing – talking to friends and friends of friends about the people whose lives you have improved as a result of the thing that you do. Answering the ultimate question in every new patient’s mind – “do people like me visit a practice like yours?” (thank you Seth).

The challenge for the start-up is that you have to suffer through your direct marketing phase to reach a critical mass where anybody gives a damn about your brand or is prepared to tell their friends.

It’s tough to do that and it requires a high level of determination and resilience (not to mention deep pockets).

That’s why, when wannabe owners ask me “squat or purchase?” I will always respond that the answer depends on how tough you are.

Private squat? No problem – that’ll be 70 hours a week for 4 years and £50,000 a year on direct marketing please. After 4 years you can switch most of that off and move to brand and relationship marketing – unless your USP has been low price, in which case you may never enjoy brand and relationship marketing because you attracted customers and not clients.

Alternatively, buy an existing practice (that has room to grow please). Then you can spend the first 2 years establishing your brand marketing with the existing patients. Following that, continuous brand and relationship marketing will take you forward. That’s an entirely different gig.

When all’s said and done – I’ve found that the best fun is relationship marketing. Telling wonderful stories to friends and friends of friends and then having the patience to wait for them to become patients (when they are ready).

Getting your team engaged in relationship marketing is simply the best way to grow your business.


Getting your team engaged in relationship marketing is the biggest challenge I’m facing on a day to day basis with clients.

“I’m a receptionist/nurse/manager/hygienist/therapist/dentist/specialist and I’m not here to do marketing.”

That’s the NUMBER ONE problem that you have to address if you own an existing practice.

I’m spending day after day, working with clients on solving that problem.

When we do, business explodes. I’ve seen 30% growth in sales and profit with the clients (and their teams) who “get” this.

On 15th/16th January, I’ll be in London and Manchester spending the whole day talking about this with my clients in The Extreme Business Workshop programme 2019.

There is still time to join us – just email for details. It could change your business life forever.

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