Editor's Note

We Need to Talk

Complex Rehab Industry letterDear Industry: I love you, but we need to talk. We’ve been in this relationship for more than 15 years. What I say now, I say out of deep concern and even deeper respect.

I’m convinced that so many of the challenges you face happen, directly or indirectly, because the world at large does not know you. Payors, referral sources, consumers, caregivers — they don’t know you the way I do. They don’t understand why wheelchairs you work with cost thousands of dollars more than the ones sold at Walmart. They don’t know why a cushion with a few well-placed curves costs hundreds of dollars more than a pillow on their sofa. They don’t know why a custom-molded seating system or an individually fitted wheelchair takes so long to deliver when Amazon delivers movies instantly, and just about anything else the next day.

It’s an unfair comparison, but it’s the perception.

I’m tired of this industry being misunderstood and badly treated by people with unrealistic expectations and zero knowledge of the miracles you perform every day. The independence you restore. The function you improve or preserve. If the world knew you like I know you, it would be different.

So that starts right now. Right here.

Today, we launch a marketing series created just for you. It takes into account that you might hate marketing and that you already squeeze 30 hours of work into a 24-hour day. I know you don’t have a lot of time for marketing, that you might think it distasteful to talk about yourself, or that you believe you could put this time to better use by helping another client.

I get it, because I’ve been watching you for 15 years.

Associate Editor Sydny Shepherd, armed with a marketing degree from Baylor, gets you, too. She will not tell you that hiring a dedicated marketing director would solve your problems.

Instead, consider Sydny your marketing director at large. Step by step, she will prove that you can afford to market yourself, and that you should. To educate payors and consumers. To strengthen ties to your community. To demonstrate your skills and knowledge to a wider audience of legislators and policy makers who influence your reimbursement. It’s important to our industry’s future that they get to know you the way I do.

I promise: This plan will be viable, even if you have only an hour or two a week to devote to marketing.

If you’re already doing a great job of working with the press, your community, payors and policy makers, I hope our series will inspire more great ideas. If you don’t do much marketing, I hope you will give this series a chance. Just a few hours’ investment can make a difference.

I hope you’ll let us try to repay, in a small way, what you’ve given to Mobility Management for 15 years. Please, turn to page 16.

This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at [email protected].

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