I recently viewed a webinar sponsored by The Hearing Review for private practice audiologists who are battling big box retailers. The name of the webinar was Battling Big Box – Private Practice Hearing Care in the Era of Mass Retailers. As you probably know, big-box retailers are the fastest-growing distribution segment in the North American hearing aid market. They are taking sales away from private practice audiologists, who need to be at the top of their game to succeed against the mass merchandisers. The webinar offered audiologists six strategies to use to differentiate themselves from the big-box retailers.What does any of this have to do with HLAA chapters? As I watched the presentation, I could not help but see a parallel to the situation our HLAA chapters face in attracting and retaining members. When I talk to Chapter leaders some of them ask, “Is the HLAA Chapter becoming obsolete? Are Chapters still relevant? How can we get people to attend meetings when they are too busy or feel can just go on-line?” HLAA Chapters have not become obsolete, but the environment in which they operate has definitely gotten a lot tougher.
I think the six strategies the audiologists learned about in the webinar are relevant to HLAA Chapters. These strategies can help chapters to differentiate themselves and become the preferred source of hearing loss information and support in their communities.
(1) Understand the strengths and weaknesses of other sources of hearing information
(2) Understand the chapter’s strengths and weaknesses
(3) Power-up the chapter’s marketing beyond advertising its meeting dates and times
(4) Deliver an incredible personal experience at every chapter event and meeting
(5) Focus on WHY your chapter exists and WHY it matters to a person with hearing loss
(6) Build a strong team to deliver the incredible chapter experienceIn the coming weeks I would like to explore each of these strategies in more detail. The strategies could be a framework chapters might use to develop a “value proposition” that speaks to the uniqueness of the HLAA chapter and differentiates it from everything else that is out there.
Safe travels to all who are traveling to convention next week. I am looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible. Do stop by the State/Chapter Development Room (Monroe Room) while Convention workshops are running. For the full State/Chapter workshop schedule please click on this link http://www.hearingloss.org/sites/default/files/docs/State-Chapter_Development_Workshops.pdf
All the best,Valerie Stafford-Mallis