There is an alarming trend growing in the straight chiropractic movement. It is a tendency to be less than totally honest with potential patients concerning the chiropractic objective. This tendency is most clearly seen in our advertising and promotion. Perhaps we need to face the truth that other than general information about our office, location, hours, etc. there is very little in the way of chiropractic advertising that is consistent with the straight philosophy. It hardly makes sense to advertise anymore. In most areas the chiropractor’s ad will just get lost with the multitude of other chiropractic ads. What’s worse is that the straight will be associated with the others, most of whom are undoubtedly mixers. Added to that, the straight cannot compete with a mixer who is advertising that he treats a multitude of conditions and has all types of ancillary procedures available to the patient. This makes advertising less than a desirable approach to building a practice.
But the real problem with chiropractic advertising is that many straights are advertising symptoms and conditions. The ads or statements are so worded that a second trimester student would know the chiropractor was not claiming to cure or even treat those conditions. But our advertising is not aimed at second trimester chiropractic students. It is directed toward lay people, most of whom at best are totally ignorant of what chiropractic is. Most likely they believe it to be a treatment for a limited number of physical ills. That is what the other chiropractors in the area have been advertising. So when we make statements in our advertisements like “whatever your health problem, chiropractic can help you,” or “chiropractic helps people with headaches,” or “people with high blood pressure should visit a chiropractor,” we are not being totally honest. Sure, we know that any individual with a headache, high blood pressure, or any other condition is better off with a good nerve supply and that is what straight chiropractic does. That is what we are saying. But that is not what the public is hearing! Let’s be honest with ourselves. People are going to get confused about chiropractic if we make it crystal clear. If we confuse the issue or muddy the waters with questionable statements, there is no chance in the world that they are going to understand what we are saying. We cannot use the old excuse “well, when they come into the office I’ll explain what chiropractic is all about.” First, they will not understand. Even if they do, they will think your advertising is dishonest. Secondly, what about those who never come into your office? They have been given a distorted picture of what chiropractic is.
It is time for a new and different approach to marketing straight chiropractic. The problem is that most of the seminars and most of the practice building procedures are trying to market a new concept, that of life and health by maintaining the integrity of the nervous system with old marketing strategies, symptoms and disease. Those approaches have not gotten us anywhere to date, unless you believe being a back pain and stiff neck specialist is where we want to be. We need some new strategies. But they have to be practical, something that the average American can understand. We have enough esoteric seminars out there. Most are being taught by chiropractors who have been removed from practice for ten to fifteen years. They have forgotten what it is like to try to get chiropractic across to the average person and that is who we must reach. Unless we begin a new and totally non-therapeutic marketing strategy, chiropractic is destined to another one hundred years of residing on the fringes of public acceptance. v7n6

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