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Attracting First-time Users: An Insight-based Marketing Approach

Attracting First-time Users: An Insight-based Marketing Approach
Sheena D. Oliver, AuD, MBA, Mary Porath, Nancy Palmere, David Roback, MEd
January 2, 2012
This article is sponsored by Oticon.

For many, the word "traffic" may conjure up images of bumper to bumper cars, horns blaring, and irate drivers steaming over time wasted on the road. But for hearing care professionals managing their own practices, the word "traffic" takes on a much more positive meaning. Driving client traffic to their offices is something that is not only hoped for but also planned for by most independent hearing care professionals. And no potential client is more sought after than the first-time hearing device user.

In marketing, the better you know your target audience the better you are able to effectively tailor your communications to address the specific needs of those consumers. New insights gained from internal research, external studies and practitioner and user feedback have enabled Oticon to develop a more in-depth and nuanced understanding of the needs, desires and preferences of first-time users than has previously been available. This knowledge provides a solid platform for developing traffic-building campaigns that attract first-time users to professional care and trial and acceptance of hearing devices. In the following pages, we will share the ground-breaking research and strategies behind Oticon's innovative communication strategies and introduce "transformational" consumer marketing programs that will enable you to engage and empower first-time users to address their hearing loss.

Opportunity for Growth

For many hearing care practices, viability as a business is dependent upon making a significant investment in marketing efforts aimed at generating new patients and improving the ability of those patients to communicate freely. With their vast numbers and considerable discretionary income, members of the 50-plus population — especially those who are first-time users — represent one of the most desirable targets for practice marketing today. In the hearing care industry, we are fortunate that our services and products are targeted to the fastest growing population segment in the U.S. and the wealthiest generation of all time. There are currently 100 million consumers age 50 and over that earn $2.4 trillion annually. The per capita discretionary spending of this group is 2.5 times the average of younger households. The 50-plus age group represents 50% of all consumer spending in the U.S. (Bouchez, 2011). It is estimated that the median hearing care practice spends 4.8% of gross revenue or $15,000 annually on marketing to attract new and repeat clients to their practices (Hearing Review, 2011). As an industry, a conservative estimate of $400 million was spent on marketing hearing care products in 2009 (Smriga, 2011). This, combined with an estimated hearing loss population in 2008 of 34.25 million (Kochkin, 2009) creates a business opportunity for independent hearing care professionals that is unmatched when compared to other industries. For example, the total consumer dollars spent in the entire U.S. vision care market fell 2.1% between 2008 and 2009, a figure representing a loss of more than $684 million in billings (Murphy, 2010). For dental practices, a 2009 American Dental Association study found that 51% of responding dentists reported declining income, with 53% reporting increases in open appointment time and 45% reporting that their gross billings have fallen (Junnila, 2011).

How are hearing care practitioners driving traffic to their practices? Hearing care professionals vary in their preferences for the media they use and the frequency of their traffic-building activities. Newspaper advertising, direct mail, internet, radio and television are the most common activities used — all of which yield different results in their ability to generate client leads. But whatever media combination or level of investment they choose to make, all practice owners share a common goal: To make the telephone ring, to schedule appointments and ultimately, to fit hearing instruments.

Call to Action

Despite a unique combination of qualified potential users (age and discretionary income) and the industry's ability and willingness to market to them, the hearing aid adoption rate tells a different story of our success level in providing hearing solutions for people that need our services. Kochkin reported that the adoption rate, defined as those individuals with admitted hearing loss that own hearing instruments, declined steadily between 1984 and 1997 (Kochkin, 2009). This downward trend changed in 2000, but has remained virtually the same since then, stabilizing at 24.6% or 1 in 4 people. More significant, the percentage of first-time users also decreased in 2008 to 36.6% from 39.3% in 2004.

Even though our industry has witnessed significant advancements in hearing instrument technology and a move to a more evidence-based practice approach, we are still not able to increase the hearing aid adoption rate. The time is right for a new approach to attracting first-time users and motivating them to trial and adoption of hearing solutions. In the next sections, we will look into the minds of first-time users to create powerful new marketing strategies and learn how the path to awareness and acceptance can be accelerated with the use of a comprehensive package of research-based marketing tools tailored to the new user.

The First-Time User Process: Motivating Action

One of the greatest opportunities in modern hearing care is helping individuals who experience real-life communication difficulties, yet remain untreated. Unfortunately, the path from onset of hearing loss to awareness, and eventually to action, can be lengthy. However, by understanding the first-time user process, hearing care professionals can more effectively influence and motivate patients who need hearing solutions. Typically, people with hearing loss go through several stages on the path to awareness: they suspect they have a hearing loss when they miss out on conversations, or ask people to repeat; they become aware of the hearing loss when they experience consequences, such as diminished social standing, reduced earning power or a lesser quality of life. Often it is an accumulation of powerfully negative events that is the catalyst causing them to acknowledge the hearing loss and take action (Engelund, 2006). Ultimately, prospective clients decide when the moment is right to do something about their hearing. However, strategic and innovative outreach programs can influence this process by empowering hearing care professionals to help mobilize first-time users and speed their progress on the path to better hearing.

Oticon First-Time User Insight Study

To further our understanding of first-time user and non-user motivation, Oticon commissioned a First-Time User Insight Survey with Decision Lab in 2010. One key objective of the study was to explore ways to motivate more prospective clients to contact a hearing care professional. The study also recognized the need to understand prospective patients' difficulties and concerns prior to that first contact. Of a total of 1,457 individuals participating in the study, more than half (51%) had hearing difficulties but had never used a hearing instrument. The majority of these participants had expressed concern about their hearing loss yet never contacted a hearing care professional. In addition to these non-users, the study also included experienced users (49%) who were asked to reflect back on their first-time user process.

One outcome of the study was the First-Time User Process (Figure 1) outlining the progress of the hearing-impaired individual toward seeking professional help and eventually using a hearing solution.

Figure 1. First-time user process, from Oticon First-Time User Insight Study (2010)

The first steps in this process — from awareness to information to contact — span what is often the longest part of that journey. Hearing care professionals have the opportunity to reach out to prospective patients during this critical period through marketing materials and public awareness campaigns to intercept the process, shorten it and change behaviors. One important issue that was explored in the survey was length of time from the initial awareness of hearing loss until the subject's first contact with a hearing care professional. Although we know from MarkeTrak VIII data (Kochkin, 2009) that people wait on average 6.7 years, the First-Time User Insight Study questioned whether the time to take action varied across individuals.

Results in Figure 2 illustrate that among hearing instrument owners as well as non-owners who visited a hearing care professional, there was considerable variability across subjects from the time of initial awareness of hearing loss to the first visit. Variability in this path is an optimistic sign, confirming that the span from awareness to action is not a fixed function and may be influenced.

Figure 2. Responses to the question, "How long did it take from the first time you became aware you had hearing difficulties to the first time you visited a hearing care professional? From Oticon First-Time User Insight Study, 2010.

What makes some individuals take action sooner? Awareness of hearing loss is not necessarily a precursor to immediate action. Internal or external factors can influence how, when or whether an individual will decide to proceed. The First-Time User Insight Study revealed that people who see themselves as moderately active to active tend to take action sooner. On the other hand, a delay in progress may be caused by concurrent life stage events such as when an individual is coping with illness, family obligations, or dealing with the impact of normal aging (Schum, 2006). MarkeTrak VII (2007) reports 11 obstacles that non-users identified as reasons for non-adoption (Figure 3). Each item summarizes a variety of related responses reported by the survey participants, and classified in percentage as "definite" or "somewhat." We know that in addition these overt barriers, there are other internal or even subconscious factors that influence the first-time user process. Unfortunately, hearing loss, like many health-related issues, carries a high emotional charge that is often referred to as a secret or undefined need (Kotler, 2001). Some consumers have needs of which they are not fully conscious, are reluctant to share, or cannot articulate clearly. Our challenge is to create messages and outreach actions that can successfully address these needs and have the power to change minds. Inside the mind (ZMET) Marketing does not create consumer needs, but uncovers them and then inspires actions. An understanding of both behavioral and psychological influences helps us in crafting an effective outreach strategy for first-time users. On the one hand, an action-oriented strategy should recognize and take into account the key behavioral milestones and provide insight into consumer attitudes and motivations. Individuals may not always be consciously aware of their own needs. To be most effective in an outreach strategy, hearing care professionals must also consider the internal/psychological or cognitive processes that people experience that may ultimately either speed up or slow down progress on the path to better hearing. Oticon has conducted extensive research into deep-rooted psychological factors underlying resistance to hearing aids (Olson Zaltman Associates, 2006). The research used the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET), a market research tool developed by Dr. Gerald Zaltman at the Harvard Business School in the early 1990s. ZMET elicits both the conscious and unconscious thoughts of the test subjects through strategic use of "metaphor," a word that describes the process by which a meaning from one word, image, or idea is transferred to another (Zaltman, 2003).

Figure 3. Reasons for non-adoption of hearing aids: top 5 deciles of hearing loss.

In a ZMET research study, participants are asked to collect a set of pictures that represent their thoughts and feelings about the topic of interest. Because people tend to think and emotionally relate to visual images, the use of pictures aids the participants in uncovering some of the underlying feelings and frames of thought that lie below the surface and affect how they react (Zaltman, 2003). Simply put, the pictures people choose manifest their own internal thoughts and feelings in surface metaphors. In the Oticon study, for example, when study participants were asked how they felt about hearing loss, their interviews and reactions to metaphors indicated that they viewed life in two worlds — their world of hearing loss and the outside world, depicted metaphorically as a door, a wall or a gap. They also used pictures of containers, a metaphor for being trapped and unable to break free. (Figure 4).

Figure 4. User-generated metaphor and transformational images.

Other images that were frequently selected were transformational: the desire to be ideal — evoking images of relaxation, light and breaking through barriers. In-depth interviews of reluctant non-users revealed that their resistance to amplification was rooted in the fear that a hearing aid might be a constant reminder to the individual and the outside world that "I am flawed." It became clear that first-time users needed an approach that disarms prejudice and delivers what they are really looking for — transformation. Creating the most powerful message When we are armed with the knowledge of how consumers think and feel, we can be more effective in creating messages that appeal to them. That is why it is important to understand that, in spite of a strong desire for transformation, first-time users also want a solution that is visually pleasing (small and nearly invisible on the ear) and comfortable to wear and use (looks good, feels good, sounds good).

Communications that allow first-time users to see a picture of the hearing instrument reassure them that wearing this device will make life better and that transformation is a realistic expectation. In the First Time User Insight Study, we asked participants which advertising message most inspired them to learn more about hearing instruments, contact a professional, or buy a hearing instrument. The top message identified was "discreetness," followed by "performance." Study results also showed the importance placed on the hearing care professional as a trusted guide and expert. Study participants — both experienced users and non-users — gave high ratings to statements that promoted the expertise of the hearing care professional. Trust, a demonstrated understanding of their needs, and the opportunity to try hearing instruments were considered to be key components of a positive experience. As the First-Time User Insight Study showed, first-time users may not overtly state that the imagery speaks to them because it is designed to speak to their subconscious. Using the knowledge gained through the study in the most effective way involves an understanding of what people want to know, and what they want to feel.

Metaphors and transformational visuals are very powerful and effective elements in Oticon messaging, both in short and longer informational pieces. Our transformational metaphors — "Open up to a new world," "Your new life starts now" — are designed to appeal to first-time users. A prominent visual image of the hearing instrument and the reassurance that this is a device that "you actually want to wear" breaks through the barrier of resistance and provides reassurance that shatters the negative image of hearing aids of the past.

These powerful metaphors and transformational visuals also tell prospective end users that we understand their feelings and fears. More importantly, metaphors and transformational visuals help us to establish an atmosphere of trust that is an important step in motivating first-time users to take action to address their hearing loss.

Practical Applications for Generating New User Traffic

The Clio Awards - the Academy Awards of the advertising world - reserve their highest honors for campaigns that succeed in attracting worldwide consumer awareness. Winning advertising, like Nike's "Just Do It" campaign, earns accolades for its ability to appeal to people of different ages, lifestyles and cultures. In hearing health care, the universe of potential "consumers" is far smaller than for a company such as Nike, but the importance of reaching the right audience and delivering compelling messages is just as critical to success. For hearing care professionals in their own practices, convincing first-time users to "Just Do It" is by far the most challenging and most desired achievement. The path from hearing loss onset to self-awareness, acceptance and action can often take several years. The ability to recognize important milestones along the patient journey can better equip hearing care professionals to use the most appropriate marketing tools to help first-time users reach the goal of improved hearing. Until now, identifying and tailoring marketing messages to those key journey points has been difficult. Through proprietary research that looks into the minds of individuals with hearing loss, Oticon has developed an innovative and highly effective approach to communicate with end users. It is strategically synchronized to key action points along the continuum that takes first-time users from awareness and information gathering to acceptance and adoption.

Resource Planning at the Awareness and Information Stages

Community programs and campaigns are effective measures to reach out to potential clients who are at the early stages of hearing loss. Marketing activities can take the form of public awareness events, health fairs, consumer seminars and routine hearing screenings. Television and radio campaigns are key drivers for generating awareness among new users during the early stages of the journey of hearing loss. These media provide non-threatening and easily accessed ways for consumers to reach out for information without encountering pressure to purchase. The statistics from Oticon's national television campaigns (Figure 5) show that national TV offers a tremendous opportunity to create awareness and interest in the newest hearing solutions among the desired target audience. An overwhelming number of respondents (83%) were non-users, new to hearing solutions and half (50%) were between the ages of 50 and 69. Only one-third (35%) were older than 70 years. Web leads accounted for 41% of all leads, an increase of 26% from 2010 to 2011. (See Figure 5).

Figure 5. Summary of the statistics from Oticon's national television campaign.

One growing trend identified is the number of boomers and seniors who choose to respond by requesting information online — a less intimidating approach than calling directly to speak with a live person. On an average day, nearly 60 million people use search engines. In the last seven years, the number of seniors online has grown by 85%. Approximately 45% of people age 70-74 years are online, half of whom use online search engines for health-related products (Pew Research Center, 2011).

Lead generation.

In the six years during which Oticon has been airing national TV commercials, we have generated more than 24,000 leads for hearing care professionals. Our commercials are based on a powerful and very emotional "transformational" approach that mimics Oticon's effective metaphorical print campaign. The leads developed through the commercials are forwarded to participating hearing care practitioners across the country. In each case, the better prepared a practice is prior to the launch of a campaign, the more success they experience in converting the leads to appointments.

Lead conversion.

An informed office staff knows when to expect and how to handle call transfers. Notify them of the dates your commercial will air and the stations where you will advertise. Telephone scripts will empower front office staff to turn a new user inquiry into an appointment. All inquiries should receive a follow-up letter, a practice brochure and a risk free trial offer. Use of these simple tools can significantly increase your ability to convert leads into sales. In a follow-up survey to our national television campaign, we learned that 68% of non-users who responded to the campaign were still planning to purchase hearing instruments in a six month time period or less. We also discovered that only 53% of the respondents were contacted by a hearing care professional (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Summary of statistics on a "Did you buy" follow-up survey of the Oticon TV respondents by the Adrack Corporation in May 2011.

Further Oticon research revealed that although national TV advertising can be an effective lead generator, the people who respond are often very early in the hearing care process. It is difficult to know at what stage of discovery they are. It will take nurturing and keen follow-up from staff members to convert these leads. Keep all inquirers in your database and send periodic newsletters or hearing technology updates to ensure that your practice is top of mind with consumers and that when they are ready, they will purchase from you and not your competitor. Oticon's professional website houses a variety of marketing materials, such as the ones mentioned above, that are extremely effective in maintaining relationships with your potential clients.

Once you have scheduled a consultation, pre-appointment educational brochures, a practice brochure and questionnaires will help prepare your client for the visit. Well-prepared clients who know what to expect can get more out of the visit — and so can you.

Resource Planning for the Information & Contact Stage

Once clients have acknowledged that they have a hearing loss, they require a different professional approach and marketing outreach than in the early awareness stage. Clients at this stage are more open to information about hearing solutions. Brochures, direct mail invitations, letters, newspaper inserts, magazine ads and other communications directed strategically at non-users serve to catch their attention, educate without frightening, and present a strong a call to action. Interest generated through media sources tend to produce a more serious, more motivated consumer. These new users normally have been dealing with their hearing difficulties for a number of years and consequently, are further along the hearing continuum and more ready to take action. An effective, yet non-threatening offer is needed to ease them into the process without anxiety.

Risk-free trial.

The call to action or offer to try hearing solutions "risk free" is very attractive to a first-time user. It is important to keep in mind that the new user wants a hassle-free, beneficial, comfortable and natural experience. Risk-free trial reassures clients that there is no pressure to purchase, that the company stands behind its hearing instruments and that they can try their new hearing instruments in multiple listening environments (home, office, restaurants, etc). In the ZMET research (2006), new users were asked what offering would most attract them to try hearing devices. Forty-nine percent said a risk free trial. More recently, in a 2010 multi-site consumer research study by Decision Lab, consumers were asked "What kind of offerings would make you contact a hearing care professional? Approximately 41% of new users responded - "Get a Risk Free Trial." The risk free offer still stands as one of the strongest motivators for new users. Oticon has used several highly effective and successful advertising campaigns (Figure 7) to motivate prospective patients. The campaigns focus on the needs and preferences of new users who are looking for an immediate transformation of their hearing difficulty. The commercials speak to first-time users who have progressed through the awareness, information and contact stages of hearing loss and are now ready to take action. They want a simple solution that fits their lifestyle.

Figure 7. Intiga advertising campaigns.

The Oticon advertisements share four key components:

  1. Interrupt or Stop Appeal: An image or headline that immediately captures attention (brick wall, balloons, "Here or Hear") and represents a transformational message.

  2. Engage: A subheading with strong emotional appeal that echoes the inner conflicts of new users ("Tear down the walls that hearing loss builds")

  3. Educate: Informs new users that they are seeing the latest technology, small and sleek, and that this technology will address their problem immediately.

  4. Offer or Call to Action: A time-sensitive offer for a risk-free trial that eliminates anxiety for new users. The call to action is reinforced with a visual of the small hearing device in the hand and on the ear as proof of its discreetness.
The value of national and local synergy The Journal of Advertising reports that increased levels of repetition are highly correlated with memorability and brand recall (Kirmani, 2011). Consumers also believe more advertising signals quality, believability and longevity. As seen in the results below, combining local marketing elements, such as newspaper inserts, ads, direct mail, local TV or radio spots with Oticon's large national campaigns, increases the chances that consumers will respond to your marketing activities.

The research shows that once you have succeeded in progressing new users along the hearing aid continuum, you need to reinforce their decision from a variety of marketing avenues. Successful marketing campaigns are often characterized by the synergy created by multiple approaches. To capitalize on the new user exposure generated by Oticon's national TV campaigns, we encourage practices to run local marketing activities to reach new users wherever they are searching. An evaluation of 2009-2010 Oticon campaigns across all regions, with practices that had conducted only single marketing activities and with those that conducted multiple activities, showed that hearing care practices can gain added traction — and drive traffic — by overlaying Oticon's national campaign with their own marketing activities. The combination of the mass appeal of the national campaign and the local appeal of more locally targeted marketing activity resulted in an increased number of calls and appointments (2.5 times higher) and twice the number of sales over results generated by practitioners who conducted only local market initiatives (Figure 8).

Figure 8. Highlights of the results of Oticon's consumer marketing campaigns during 2009 - 2011. The numbers show that when executing multiple marketing activities, practices generated 2.5 times the number of calls and appointments, and 2 times the number of sales than executing single marketing activities.

Customized Marketing for Special Audiences

Tailoring marketing strategies to reach out to new users can help move them forward to awareness and acknowledgment while at the same time increasing their readiness to take action. But not all clients go down the same path of discovery. For more traditional retail practices, the marketing materials and strategies mentioned previously are the appropriate steps to take to reach first-time users.

For some clinical practices, however, clients may not be in the office for the hearing aid experience. For example, potential clients may be consulting with an ENT practice or in a hospital or health clinic setting. If potential clients don't know you are there and are unaware of the specific services you provide, it could be a missed opportunity. For these scenarios, Oticon provides extensive materials to capture attention and make clients aware of their hearing care options. Adding waiting room materials, point-of-sale displays, posters, Sound Advice magazines, referral pads and consumer educational videos are just some of the effective ways more medically-based practices can enhance their first-time user traffic (Figure 9).

Figure 9. First-time user process and the corresponding traffic-building activities.
Building first-time user traffic requires an integrated approach. Combining attention-generating national campaigns, along with tested and proven local communications, hearing care professionals can better engage first-time users and accelerate their movement along the continuum of better hearing.

Driving First-Time User Traffic with Tested and Proven Marketing Initiatives

For more than 25 years, Oticon has operated Eriksholm, the world's largest psychoacoustic research facility. Eriksholm's mission is to work with hearing impaired individuals to understand their needs and social interactions in daily life. This amazing facility has positively impacted the lives of thousands of people with hearing loss and provides constant inspiration to Oticon employees worldwide. Oticon's commitment to world-class research that puts people first is also reflected in the disciplined research methodologies we use in the development of consumer marketing initiatives that target existing and first-time users. Through collaboration with consumers, hearing healthcare professionals and research experts, we have succeeded in creating some of the industry's most effective consumer marketing concepts and tools.

Since 2007, Oticon has devoted considerable time and resources to consumer marketing research in the US. Through partnerships with independent market research and advertising agencies, we have developed and tested many ground-breaking creative concepts with hearing impaired individuals. We've also collaborated with hearing care professionals to track more than 5,000 consumer marketing initiatives. The data is analyzed to determine which concepts are the most successful and to enable us to provide strong recommendations to our hearing care partners regarding media, creative and timing. While there are no guarantees in marketing, the trends we uncover greatly increase the overall likelihood for success. The knowledge gained through consumer insights, research expert interpretation, and hearing care professional real world tests has made Oticon consumer knowledge the industry standard for the tracking and measurement of consumer marketing activities. (See Figure 10)

Figure 10. Intiga questionnaire card.

Focus Groups and Market Tests

Even before creative concepts are developed, we go directly to hearing impaired individuals - first-time users and experienced users — to better understand their fears, trepidations and motivations. This type of vital preliminary research helped us to create the ground-breaking "transformational" metaphor concepts that supported the paradigm shift to sleek, discreet BTEs that started with Oticon Delta. A variety of modern survey techniques ensure that our research is truly capturing the creative concepts that are most compelling and motivating for first-time and existing users. We use traditional focus groups, one-on-one interviews, and the latest in high tech electronic, internet-based research.

Our creative concepts are then tested in practical marketing activities implemented by hearing care professionals in their local markets. All media, including print advertising and inserts, direct mail, television and radio commercials are tested in real world situations. We also regularly conduct marketing tests in select markets across the country, working in partnership with local hearing care practitioners. These tests include a comprehensive overview that includes creative concept and type of media used. Our hearing care partners then track all results (calls, appointments, sales) and determine which creative concepts and which forms of media garner the best results. This level of rigor and discipline is repeated with each new product launch and each new supporting creative concept.

Knowledge Gained, Expertise Acquired

The knowledge acquired through years of testing and proving the effectiveness of our marketing concepts and tools has enabled Oticon to become the industry expert on first-time users. Through our thorough and disciplined research, we have gained a better understanding of the initial apprehensions, expectations and motivations of first-time users. This knowledge is critical to our ability to speed first-time users along the path to better hearing and an improved quality of life.

Tracking Success

As part of the Oticon Consumer Marketing Programs, our professional partners are required to track their local marketing efforts using a sophisticated tracking system developed with their input. They understand the importance of tracking their local activities to determine which initiatives are having the most impact. The information they provide feeds into our national data bank to benefit the development and success of future marketing campaigns. Our tracking system captures the number of calls, appointments and sales for each individual marketing activity. As an example, a review of 3,934 marketing actions by practitioners over a five-year time frame shows that practitioners averaged 21 calls per marketing action, 15 appointments and 11 sales. An average of $3,631 invested per marketing action broke out to an average cost of $173 per call generated, $242 for each appointment and $330 for each sale. (See Figure 11)

Figure 11. Tracking system.

This data has enabled us to build a vast data bank of information that our Regional Marketing Managers share with hearing care practitioners in their regions. This knowledge empowers hearing care professionals in private practice to make strategic and focused decisions when planning the types of marketing activities in which they will engage.

Oticon Consumer Marketing Programs have been extremely successful in reaching potential new users. While hearing industry marketing actions typically result in attracting a mix of 39% new users and 61% existing users, the Oticon results are far superior in motivating first time-users to seek help (Figure 12).

Figure 12. Oticon results in motivating first-time users to seek help.

Improving Return on Investment

For larger scale efforts like newspaper inserts and direct mail to purchased lists, our marketing initiatives consistently beat industry standards regarding average cost per sale, typically around $500. In additional to our research, we also provide a variety of programs that offer financial investments in our business partners' local marketing activities, further enhancing their return on investment.

On average, practitioners who have utilized an Oticon consumer marketing activity receive 21 calls, schedule 15 appointments and sell 11 units, with an average marketing cost of $330 per unit. We are confident in the projected returns results and will continue to dedicate additional resources to support the local marketing efforts of our professional partners. (See Figure 13)

Figure 13. Average results of an Oticon consumer marketing activity (per practice).

Take Action

Oticon's comprehensive package of Consumer Marketing support incorporates innovative concepts and tools that have been tested and proven throughout the years. Our team of experienced hearing industry marketing professionals stands ready to work with hearing care professionals in private practice and support their local marketing initiatives. The unique collaboration between Oticon, strategic research/advertising professionals, hearing healthcare providers and most importantly, people with hearing loss, empowers Oticon to provide the best consumer marketing in the industry — and the tracking and measurement to prove it.


Bouchez, B. (2011, May 21). Reaching the 50+ consumer. Presentation at Oticon Marketing Bootcamp conference. Savannah, GA.

Engelund, G. (2006). Time for hearing - recognizing process for the individual. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Copenhagen.

Junnila, T. (2009). Growing your practice in today's slow (or no) growth economy. Northwest Dentistry, Journal of the Minnesota Dentistry Association, September-October 2009. Retrieved from:

Kirmani, A. (1997). Advertising repetition as a sign of quality. Journal of Advertising 26(3),77-86.

Kochkin, S. (2007). MarkeTrak VII: Obstacles to adult non-user adoption of hearing aids. The Hearing Journal, 60 (4), 24-51.

Kochkin, S. (2009). MarkeTrak VIII: 25 year trends in the hearing health market; an increase of 160% over the last generation. The Hearing Review, 16 (11), 12-31.

Kotler, P. (2001). Marketing management (12th edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Murphy, J. (2010, September 19). Income survey: More work, less money. Review of Optometry. Retrieved

Phonak. (2011, September). A Survey of key metrics for benchmarking a hearing practice, Part 2: Profits, compensation, marketing, and hearing testing. Hearing Review, 18(7), 24 - 30.
Grand Rounds Live | 4 advanced live webinars | Register today

sheena d oliver

Sheena D. Oliver, AuD, MBA

Vice President of Marketing, Oticon

Mary Porath

Nancy Palmere

David Roback, MEd

Director of Strategic Marketing

David M. Roback, M.Ed. – Director of Strategic Marketing, Oticon, Inc., is responsible for strategic planning and execution, channel management, and developing innovative programs and tools that support our customers.  This requires understanding customer needs to ensure benefit driven support.  David has extensive marketing experience in the hearing healthcare industry, including business to business and consumer marketing, branding, and international product launches.  He received his BA from Carleton College and M.Ed from Vanderbilt University

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