New ad supported services for targeted markets

An advertisers life was much easier when there were only 3 tv networks. Reaching everyone in the country wasn’t too difficult. Now, we know that even presidential campaigns need to spend billions to reach the entire country- and even then, there is overkill since there are still a lot of people who aren’t even registered to vote.

In doing some research for a friend into software for his medical practice, I came across a new marketing channel- attached to a software as a service. Doctors are mandated to switch to Electronic Health Records as part of “Obamacare” and by insurers including Medicare/Medicade. Practice Fusion is a provided of a software as a service solution- and instead of charging physicians for the system, they are counting on advertising to support the system:

How is your EHR free?

We have a unique ad-supported model. This allows us to provide a world-class EHR technology at no cost to you. These ads never pop up, never interfere with your workflow, and only display one at a time—see a sample ad here. We also make sure to provide you with ads that add value, such as co-pay coupons for your patients. A paid ad-free version of the EHR is available upon request.

via Free EMR | Providers of Medical EMR Programs and Services.

With pharmaceutical companies spending hundreds of millions to reach physicians to inform them of their newest drugs- Practice Fusion is in the enviable position of being able to put an ad in front of a physician while in the process of prescribing for that exact ailment. The ultimate sponsored search ad may be helping to keep the costs of health care down.

What other new media channels are being built to reach very specific markets by providing service in exchange for attention?

Imagine what could happen when textbook companies see this as the new model?

Will Google enter this focused market model too? It could be even more lucrative than search.


Marketing is a service! Google gets it right again.

There has been a movement to “marketing as a service”- where the customer is rewarded for their attention instead of bothered by it.

Good advertising makes fans/friends, good service makes customers for life.

Google decided to spend their marketing money giving customers something that is useful: free WiFi at airports (note- at least two on the list already had free WiFi- Las Vegas and Jacksonville).

When you’re traveling this holiday season, you can enjoy free WiFi at 47 participating airports and on every Virgin America flight. Just bring a WiFi-enabled laptop or mobile device and stay connected to family and friends for free while you travel now through January 15, 2010.

via Free WiFi - A 2009-2010 Holiday Gift from Google.

The real question is why most airports haven’t realized that business travelers, who are their bread and butter, would tell you that WiFi is more (or at least equally important) as toilet paper in the bathroom stalls. In the hyper-competitive market for business travelers there is no excuse for not having both free WiFi and plenty of charging stations/power outlets for the power traveler.

What can your business give away to build goodwill? What information could you provide that makes you not only the expert in your field, but invaluable to customers? Make every interaction with customers one where you give them value and they will value your business relationship.