Monday, November 2, 2009

Entrepreneurial Spirit

During the SIM Annual Convention, the most interesting talk for the day was the one given by this retired gentleman, Mr Yasuo Yokoi. He is a Japanese who has worked in S’pore for the past 10 years. Now he has set up his own media business. Doing a mental calculation of his potential return from his new venture after his presentation, I think it is likely that it is much more lucrative than what he had before his retirement. It could potentially reach a figure of $400,000 per month !

I learn a new term from this talk – ‘captive audience’. This term is his main marketing strategy. He observed that patients waiting at clinics and hospitals in S’pore could spend up to 1 to 3 hours before seeing a doctor. Meanwhile they have nothing to occupy them but to stare at the TV screen at the waiting room. Normally what is shown on the screen is News. But most of the time the volume is turned down or off. He had us laughing when he said he could never understand why, since who could understand what is being reported when one cannot hear the newscasters.

He sees potential in this – using this platform to educate the patients on health issues and slot in advertising time in between. The advertisements are also health related products which are educational too. He showed us samples of the educational clips, they are interesting and informative. Every detail is well thought out, from the duration of the clips, content and layout of display.

Each clip last no more than 3 minutes, with the health topic (eg Cataract) display at the top of the screen throughout the duration of the clip, so that patient who just enter the waiting room will know what topic is about. The main points are summarized and display next to the pictures and the dialogue is display at the bottom of the screen. This is in case the volume is turn off.

Next he informed us of his marketing strategy – impressive. From his statistic, there are 9 million visits to Polyclinic alone per year ! So what we have here is a huge group of ‘captive audience’ - they have no where to go and has nothing to do during the waiting period. All we need is their attention by screening topics of interest to them.

No wonder he has already captured the attention of advertisers, major hospitals, polyclinics and GP clinics. He is doing the health clips for free for the medical professions on condition that they screen his programs. His income is mainly from the advertisers. He pointed out that that exposure time from his media advertising is more than from newspapers, magazines..etc. Besides, it is more cost effective. Compare to TV advertising – the rate is very competitive. Besides, what is lacking in all these media is the ‘captive audience’ factor.

Well, this is a good example of entrepreneurial spirit which benefits society. He will be the pioneer in being the first to show healthcare TV program in locally. I look forward to seeing his ‘masterpieces’ in the future. Ok, not that I like to go for medical consultation, but at least the waiting time will be more meaningfully spend, as we will be feed with health educational information.

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