Being Really Good – Is it Always Good Enough?

Most professionals recognize that to succeed at your profession, you’ve got to be really good at it.  Who, for instance, will engage the services of a facial plastic surgeon that gets run-of-the-mill or even poor results?  Who wants to have heart surgery performed by a cardiac surgeon whose patients experience barely acceptable outcomes – or worse?  Who wants to hire a marketer whose internet marketing strategies and online marketing tools cannot consistently make your office phones ring?  Who wants a healthcare content marketing writer to help with growing their practice if they can’t attract new patients?  What business owner wants salespeople who don’t regularly achieve sales goals?

The answer is obvious:  no one.  Thus, wise plastic and facial plastic surgeons continually work to find and perfect new methods to help patients improve their appearance with less discomfort, downtime and cost.  Smart heart surgeons and wise business and healthcare content marketers continually hone their crafts.

Does talent and proficiency guarantee success?

But is it enough to be really good at what you do?  Not necessarily.  In 2007, The Washington Post conducted an experiment where a young man in blue jeans and a baseball cap entered a DC subway station and opened a violin case.  He looked like a street musician.  After he took out his violin, he put in a few dollars and some change as seed money. Then he began to play.

But this was no ordinary busker.  The violin was a $3.5 million Stradivarius.  Playing it was Joshua Bell, who the Post describes as “one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on one of the most valuable violins ever made.”

But as you can see in this Washington video, no one stopped to listen for long.  Few were moved to drop money into his case as he performed pieces many of them would have paid hundreds of dollars to hear him play at a concert hall.  Why?

Talented physicians learn a sad truth about marketing

In the early 1980s, Dr. Robin Warren, a hospital pathologist from Perth, Australia and internist Dr. Barry Marshall made an amazing discovery.  Stomach ulcers, thought to be the result of too much stress, spicy food or alcohol, were actually caused by a bacterial infection.  This was a major discovery.  Ulcers caused misery and even death to millions of sufferers.  Treatment focused on making symptoms more bearable.  Could ulcers be cured by antibiotics?  If so, this was an important medical breakthrough.

But as Discover Magazine pointed out, “mainstream gastroenterologists were dismissive, holding on to the old idea that ulcers were caused by stress.”  Why?  Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Chip Heath points out two problems:

First, it seemed hard to believe that bacteria could survive the stomach’s hydrochloric acid, strong enough, with enough time, to dissolve nails.  Second was the issue of credibility.  Virtuoso violinists are not expected to show up and play for free for subway commuters.  Great medical discoveries come from great research centers like Johns Hopkins and The Cleveland Clinic.  They are not expected to originate in backwaters like Perth, Australia.

The psychology of marketing great performers and great ideas

Studies by Princeton social psychologists Dr. Daniel Kahneman, who won the Nobel Prize, and Dr. Amos Tversky uncovered an important fact.  When making decisions, including who to believe and who is really an expert, people frequently take shortcuts.  Kahneman and Tversky called them Decision Heuristics.  These shortcuts allow people to quickly decide what is worthy of their attention and who they should trust to help them solve their problems.  This is true whether they need a heart surgeon, a facial plastic surgeon or a good place to buy a new car.

With these shortcuts, people look for clues to help them quickly categorize a person as someone worth their attention and respect – or not.  One clue research uncovered is the Representativeness Heuristic.  Essentially, people form an idea of what traits a particular kind of thing or person (like an excellent surgeon) has.  If you match up reasonably well to that stereotype, you’re judged to be part of the group.  If not, you’re considered something else.

Highly Capable – and completely ignored

Joshua Bell by Alexduff via Wikimedia Commons

Thus, when Joshua Bell dressed in tails and appeared onstage at Carnegie Hall, everyone recognized him as a virtuoso violinist.  When he dressed like a street musician, despite playing as brilliantly as he does in concert, Bell was seen as an ordinary busker. Rather than stop and enjoy an outstanding performance by a Grammy winning artist for free, virtually all subway riders ignored him and ran to their trains.

Had Drs. Warren and Marshall been respected researchers at a major medical center, the articles they wrote documenting their findings would likely have been published.  Subsequent research would have confirmed them.  Instead, they were ignored for years.  As Stanford business professor Heath points out, no one expects great medical discoveries to come out of a community hospital in Perth, Australia.

Finally, Marshall cultured H. Pylori taken from a patient he had successfully treated with an antibiotic and Pepto-Bismol (bismuth, the main ingredient, can be lethal to H. Pylori).  Then he drank it himself. Assisted by hospital gastroenterologists, Marshall documented how his healthy GI tract developed painful gastritis, which always developed before an ulcer.  Marshall then documented how an antibiotics plus Pepto-Bismol cured his gastritis.  In 2005 Drs. Marshall and Warren won the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Takeaway for marketing a business or facial plastic surgery practice

Aside from Joshua Bell, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, examples of countless outstanding professionals show that unless your key audience recognizes your expertise, you will likely also struggle to gain notice – and clients.  A key to growing a facial plastic surgery, legal or marketing practice is to get your work out in front of your audience in a way that clearly identifies you as an expert.

Can business or healthcare content marketing help identify you as an expert?

LookYounger.News,* for instance, showcases the work of excellent plastic and facial plastic surgeons with patient testimonials, Before and After photos and videos.  Research shows that another widely used decision shortcut (heuristic) is Social Proof, where many are strongly influenced by what others like them say about their experience.  In addition, seeing how well patients like them turned out can provide powerful testimony of the facial plastic surgeon’s skill.

LookYounger.News, SEO, healthcare content marketing, online marketing strategies, facial plastic surgeonsBy working with physicians to produce accurate, highly readable articles published in their names, LookYounger.News provides prospective patients with the authoritative information its more than 10,200 readers seek.  It is not unusual for readers who find this site through organic search to reach out to the article’s physician author to ask questions or for private consultations.

If you’re a medical or business professional seeking to grow your business, why not reach out to learn more about how business or healthcare content marketing can help your audience recognize you as the expert that you are.


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