Louis Feuer: Learn from American Idol

Monday, April 30, 2007

It may be the hottest TV show in America, but American Idol is also a gold mine of valuable business lessons for HME providers. That's according to Louis Feuer, a longtime industry consultant who has analyzed the show's popularity and how providers can mimic its tactics. He'll share those lessons at his session "The Seven Business Lessons You Learn from American Idol" at Medtrade Spring. Here's a sneak peek:
HME News: How did you come up with this topic?
Louis Feuer: Others have analyzed American Idol for its business lessons, especially relating to branding and getting the customer involved. I started looking at the show myself as a business model and found it to be fascinating.
HME: Why is American Idol so popular and what's the takeaway for providers?
Feuer: It's because the customer--or viewer--is intimately involved in the show. What you see next week is dependent on how you vote this week. HME providers should be driven by customers, but do they ever poll them? It's also the partnerships they develop. How can we develop partnerships to grow our businesses? Also, American Idol is really a remake of the Ed Sullivan Show. It's nothing new, but they've given it a 21st century update. Maybe HME providers need to do this, too. Let's face it: We have a boring product, and our stores look boring, too. We have great products, but we need to make them more appealing from the street.
HME: Based on what makes Idol such a success, what should providers do?
Feuer: We need to focus on the retail customer and the products that make life easier for people. Competitive bidding is certainly a serious issue, but there are a lot of great products in our stores. The key is to get the community into our stores. You can only make so many calls per day. Providers can run meetings when the store is closed, hold a cooking class for diabetics or do spouse programs on sleep apnea. Local Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs are always looking for speakers. We need to be creative in our thinking.
HME: If providers take just one lesson from your session at Medtrade Spring, what would it be?
Feuer: Providers have to think of new ways to do what they're doing. You can have a wonderful story, but if you can't get the customer in there you've lost out. We have wonderful dealers, but the pizzazz isn't there. American Idol's advice is applicable to any business in any industry. Take a look at your store's signs to see if you can make it easier to navigate. Put a note in each delivery to say thank you from your company's president. There are little things you can do to get people's attention. American Idol has done an amazing thing by revamping an old talent show. Providers can do amazing things, too.
Louis Feuer
Title/company: president of Pembrooke Pines, Fla.-based Dynamic Seminars & Consulting
Session: "The Seven Business Lessons You Learn From American Idol"
Date: Thursday, April 26, 9:45 a.m.
Contact: 954-435-8182 or louis@dynamicseminars.com