As a member of the executive committee for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, I get a front-row view of what it's like to buy advertising in publications such as Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, USA Today and U.S.
It's no wonder advertising budgets for large companies are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. With television, radio, print, direct mail and the Internet, you'easily can spend millions of dollars a week. (Together, the drug companies spend more than 3 billion dollars each year in direct-to-consumer advertising alone.4)
Unfortunately, the chiropractic profession doesn't have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend each year on advertising. In fact, we would be hard pressed to raise even 10 million dollars to spend in a year.
The good news is that, thanks to a few loyal chiropractic vendors, the foundation's current advertising campaign allows us the ability to buy our ads at very cost-effective rates - better rates than most chiropractic organizations have ever seen.
Pooled Advertising Works
If you're like most people, you've never heard of the California Milk Processor Board (CMPB). But you probably are familiar with the "Got Milk?" campaign that has been so successful in drawing attention to the benefits of drinking milk. The CMPB is not a single dairy. It is an organization funded by all of the California milk processors.
That's right: Despite the fact that these dairies are competitors, they somehow managed to work together and pool their marketing budgets in order to fund a separate organization that is running one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history.
How did they do it? They did the math. They realized that if more people drink milk, each dairy will make more money. Hmmm. Perhaps that same math would work for chiropractic: If more people sought chiropractic care, each practice would have more patients.
Explaining the benefits of chiropractic is no harder than explaining the benefits of milk. But in order to do so, it takes all of us pooling our respective advertising budgets together. This allows us the ability to purchase national advertising for much, much less than it would cost locally.
What's challenging is to get all 60,000-plus doctors of chiropractic in the United States to send in money for a chiropractic advertising campaign. Interestingly enough, the CMPB is administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. What would happen if our chiropractic state associations took a percentage of their annual dues and passed it on to the foundation to fund the chiropractic advertising campaign?
Here is a list of chiropractic associations that have already donated to the foundation's advertising campaign: Pennsylvania ($5,000); Connecticut ($4,000); Colorado ($1,750); New Jersey ($1,500); Ohio ($1,000); Oklahoma ($1,000); Virginia ($1,000); Georgia ($500); New York ($500); South Dakota ($500); and North Carolina ($250).
Think about what could be accomplished if all chiropractic advertising was conducted through a single nonprofit organization. Think about what this profession could achieve in terms of educating the public about the benefits of chiropractic.
If you are an officer or delegate of a chiropractic state association, please begin talking about how your association could work with the foundation to reach the consumers in your state. Together, we can make the dollars go further and really begin reaching consumers with the chiropractic message.
- "Foundation Begins Advertising Campaign. Ms. Fitness USA, Sarah Harding, Speaks Out About Chiropractic." Dynamic Chiropractic, July 16, 2006. www.chiroweb.com/archives/24/15/05.html.
- "Foundation Advertising Campaign Continues; Discounted Ad Placements Reaching More Than 12 Million." Dynamic Chiropractic, Aug. 15, 2006. www.chiroweb.com/archives/24/17/10.html.
- Petersen, Don. "Giving Our Cheerleaders Something to Cheer About." Dynamic Chiropractic, July 16, 2006. www.chiroweb.com/archives/24/15/12.html.
- Kravitz RL, Epstein RM, Feldman MD, et al. Influence of patients' requests for direct-to-consumer advertised antidepressants. JAMA 2005;293:1995-2002.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.