Monday, May 12, 2008

Part 1: Stop Whining and Start Acting

Ok, I admit this blog entry will be a little harsh.

For the past 28 years I have watched my colleagues make the same mistakes. We believe, due to research outcomes, in mother-centered care, family centered maternity care and the type of care that minimizes risks to both mother and baby ~ normal birth.

Why, then, is NORMAL birth not the standard way?
Why are we almost apologetic when we talk about natural or normal birth?

The answer is quite simple ~ marketing. Those with differing opinions than us are much better, albeit savvy, than we are at marketing. This is what they do and we don't do well:

1. Solutions to a woman's fears ~ "Don't worry, I can take care of everything" says her care giver. This enables the woman to forfeit her feelings and control.

2. Freedom from pain ~ an easy fix with medications such as an epidural. Our society is not one that readily accepts hard work OR looking at the cause of pain...we just want it easy and the pain quickly eliminated.

3. The lure and the guarantee ~ you can have everything you want: painfree childbirth and your baby without working for it. Now, who wouldn't want that?

4. Consistency ~ they all say the same lines...frequently. A "blah" marketing campaign with consistency is preferred over a fabulous & glitzy marketing campaign that is nothing more than a flash in the pan.

5. Access to the media ~ press releases, experts interviewed on a regular and frequent basis (see #4).

6. Professionalism in marketing materials and LOTS of those materials.

7. Selectivity in the research that is in the limelight ~ focusing on the research that benefits only their opinion.

8. Multi-marketing techniques are a basic fundamental of success. Combinations that are constantly flowing by the client - websites AND brochures AND commercials AND emails AND newsletters AND press releases.

9. Follow-up: 68% of general sales are lost due to customers being ignored after the sale. This applies to birthing professionals because we do not refer back and forth enough to show our client base that there is a network of like-minded individuals.

10. Infighting: there is little of this in the predominately patriarchal microsociety. Since OUR community is made up of mostly women, there is alot of infighting.

So we have our work cut out for us. In my next blog entry, I will be looking at solutions to these 10 problems.

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