I took my toe to the doctors a few weeks ago because it kept tingling (now there’s an opening line that you don’t read very often).
As I sat with my doctor she patiently listened to my attempts to describe how my toe felt and then explained that she had narrowed down the solution before lining up a series of tests.
Part way through the consultation we began to discuss the difficulties experienced by doctors when they listen to an entirely subjective definition of a patient’s symptoms and try and pinpoint a cause before deciding on a course of remedial action.
Three points sprang to mind:
- It can be very hard to convey a problem accurately. Appendicitis manifests symptoms described as ‘stabbing-pain’ yet a friend of mine who had the misfortune to actually be stabbed said that he felt what appeared to be nothing more than a punch in the back. This is why patients rely on the experience of their doctor for a successful diagnosis
- The medical referral process ensures that a general practitioner makes the initial deduction before directing the patient to the specialist best suited to their ailment. This system has been globally adopted because it is the most practical approach. This saves a huge amount of wasted time and energy transporting ill people around a whole plethora of niche specialists in the attempt to find the correct answer. We trust doctors
- Specialists will usually have a crack at your problem just because you’re there. A friend of mine was sent for a steroidal injection into the ball of her foot following a Podiatrist’s referral for chronic foot pain. A quick ultrasound scan found no sign of the diagnosed condition, a neuroma, and the painful injection was, fortunately, avoided. The condition was later cured by a reflexologist
Going to the doctor offered me a valuable insight into how an effective agency–client relationship should work.
When a client goes to see a marketing and communication agency they take with them a situation that they wish to remedy. This is their ‘pain’ and they turn to their chosen agency to alleviate this.
An effective agency should always listen solely from a media–impartial viewpoint before prescribing the correct solution. In the current global economy agencies must resist the temptation of the ‘fast-buck’ to be gained from advocating media solutions that use profit, not propriety, as the selection criteria. Our clients deserve better.
More often than not today we meet with clients who have invested vast amounts in one particular media; websites, prestigious brochures or large SEO campaigns just because that was the specialism of the agency they chose to help with their ‘marketing’.
Personally I’d trust a good GP over an unnecessary and painful injection in the foot any day.
Sorry but I have to end here, I’ve got to see a Search Engine Optimization specialist about my toe…