Q&A: Barry Steelman on how to market with intention

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Monday, August 3, 2020

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Most providers get into the industry because they know someone who has a disability, but they may not understand the importance of branding, social media and marketing, says Barry Steelman, who recently hung out his shingle as owner/creative force of Steelman Marketing.

HME News spoke to Steelman, who cut his teeth in marketing in 2001 working for Permobil and later Stealth Products, about why consistency in marketing is important and how to leverage affordable digital tools.
HME News: How can you help providers?
Barry Steelman: When I came on board with Stealth, the first thing I noticed was their brand was kind of all over the place; it wasn't consistent. And people don't realize how important branding is. They’re affected by it daily, but they don't think about that when they start their business: How am I going to consistently present a message to my customer that helps my brand? Because whether you’re building it intentionally or unintentionally, you’re building a brand identity and if you don't know what it is, that’s where you can run into some problems.
HME: What’s one thing providers can do to create that singular identity?
Steelman: Consistency: Everything that touches your brand is part of your brand. That includes your customer service reps, showroom, when they see your vehicles out in public or when you go to their house to do a repair. When you’re dealing with a customer, they have a perceived notion of what your brand means to them and if you’re not meeting that perception, they’re going to abandon you.
HME: How has COVID-19 affected the way providers should be marketing?
Steelman: It’s really opened up a lot of people’s eyes, “Wow, I need to be using social media to stay in touch with my customer base.” Now you have Facebook advertising, and digital marketing and advertising is really very affordable and you can actually pinpoint the audience that you want to reach. It’s something that everybody needs to be taking advantage of.