Layman Speak

Are you perceived as a Pharmacy, GP or Specialist?

By June 18, 2015 September 27th, 2017 No Comments

Recently I had a chat with my friend, who happened to be an RC (Resident’s Committee) chairman from a certain zone in Singapore.

At a wake where I was serving as a guitarist.

His barrage of questions about what I do practically make me stun like a vegetable.

I’ll tell you what is that one question that stumbled me in a while.

A question that ended me up with the doctors.

You see, he is the old school guy, visits Facebook for laughs but doesn’t interact with it.


The Challenge

Talking with him about digital marketing is like discussing string theory* with a layman.

I was trying so many ways to tell him how digital marketing works, how I bring in traffic and convert cold leads into ready prospects by nurturing them via email.

For example, by first knowing deep about the core of the business before anything else; asking hot seat questions that staff would never ask their boss; probing deep with thought-provoking questions.

But it just didn’t answer his question, and he still didn’t get it.

So, I was kidding that he would not be my targeted audience.

Then I realised, his question did make a point.

It’s a million dollar question.


The Epiphany

If a clueless guy like my friend can understand what I do, I would be able to make my message clear to almost anyone!

Or perhaps lets them see a desire they never knew existed.

(Yup, that’s what Apple been doing all along)

That million dollar question was,

“How are you different from others?”

That impacted me so much that my brain was working out an analogy even while I was sleeping.

This could be how I’d answer his question.

With a story.



The Story

1. Pharmacy

They sell almost everything. You just have to know what to buy.

At most, the pharmacist-on-duty would listen about your symptom and recommend you a particular medication.

• Usually, sales-orientated businesses (vs a client-oriented one) where your first line of contact is a cold-call from their sales rep or you happen to find them on Google.

• Tell you almost immediately what you need and what they offer based on some keywords you tell them.


“Hi I have an event coming and I need a coverage.”

“Yes we can do photo, video, instant print, photo booth, Social Media. What would you like?”



2. Most General Practitioner

They give you more time of the day (since they charge you for consultation fees).

Listen about your symptoms too and try to dig out, even more, symptoms so they may sell you more medication.

Otherwise, it’s Paracetamol for all kinds of pain.

Perhaps they may direct you to a specialist if it’s beyond their means.

• General service, one-stop shops. They can do everything “in-house” where every staff is an expert or multi-tasked.

• They listen, tell you who they have helped, with what kind of product or service. Then try to encourage you to take up, even more, products along the way.


“Hi I have an event coming and I need a coverage.”

“Yes we can help! We have helped [a client’s name] cover a full day event with roving photographer, photo booth photographer with instant print, roving videographer with our producer to interview VIPs.
I think your event coverage will rock with our comprehensive coverage. Look, I’ll throw in an aerial photography for you. Then upload to your Facebook page, free! “



3. The Specialist

They go deep down to your problem, asking you tonnes of medical history, testing, diagnosing, before concluding with the real underlying problem and suggesting options that treat the source.

• Boutique or large established agencies. Both invest time in the client and R&D

• The boutique has at least a founder who is passionate about what they do and are client-centric.

• Large established agencies that have the resources to hire the bright ones to join them and are results-orientated. Comes with a respectable price tag.


“Hi I have an event coming and I need a coverage.”

“Congratulations on the event! It must be important to your business and your company. Before anything else, perhaps we can meet up for a casual chat so I can find out more about your company, your client and the intended purpose…. “


See the difference between the three?

Which kind of doc would you remember or recommend?

If you want to solve your problem?

Who do you feel safer to get an adequate consultation?



The Application

We turn it around this time.

How would your business benefit if you are viewed as a specialist?

How would your prospects perceive your value?

Are they going to trust you more along the way?


I hope you find such an analogy helpful.

After all, I had to steal minutes from my precious sleep to quickly jot this down.

For now, I know I’m moving towards Specialist. However, my online presence is still vague to send the right message across.

Meanwhile, let’s appreciate all tough questions that come, even if they are not your target audience. It could trigger off something better.

Everything is Possible!

Disclaimer: There are excellent and caring GPs around and effective products from pharmacies. A specialist often rely on their referrals too!

Disclaimer-er: Some of the examples are real, some are enhanced for dramatic effect. Discernment required.

*No, I don’t understand string theory too.

Kok Wai

Author Kok Wai

Kok Wai is a content producing marketer, media trainer at Kelvin Sng Productions, a dad of two and photography contributor to multiple magazines. A sponsor of B60 Charity Run 2017, Kok Wai's goal is to help busy and ambitious business owner focus on running their business even with their limited time and lack of marketing know-how. He especially loves kids, playing the guitar, and exploring with software. You'll find him pondering on the exhilaration of securing two more good clients on a retainer basis. Connect with him on Facebook (thePF)

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