The OT’s Perspective: How retailers and manufacturers can use OTs to improve products and serve their audience
As you know, I’m an occupational therapist, with a specific interest in adaptations. And over the years, as well as working with housing associations, local councils, the NHS and my own private clients, I’ve done a lot of work with mobility manufacturers and retailers.
The reason why is simple: the more clued-up manufacturers and retailers are about what their market wants and needs, the more effective they’ll be at creating the right product and articulating their marketing message.
And who knows what the market wants and needs?
Me… plus thousands of other OTs.
Getting an OT’s perspective is vital to long-term success, especially considering that in lots of cases, the OT will be the one specifying which products a client requires.
So, with that in mind, I thought I’d just highlight three ways you can engage with OTs to get greater insight into the market needs:
Several private OT practices (including ours) will offer retailer and manufacturer consultancy, where they’ll work with retailers and manufacturers on product development and their marketing messages to ensure that they’re providing something that the market wants, and that they’re articulating their message properly. The insight that manufacturers and retailers gain are invaluable.
The more time retailers and manufacturers spend with OTs and the more conversations they have, the better equipped they’ll be.
Consequently, it’s really important to get out of the office and face-to-face with OTs.
There are plenty of events up and down the country where OTs congregate, so my advice to retailers and manufacturers is – get along to them, exhibit at them, and start building those relationships.
3. Get on mailing lists
Although retailers and manufacturers might not be an OT, they’ll get a great feel for what OTs are thinking and talking about by subscribing to OT email lists and newsletters.
This allows them to understand what the hot topics are and see where their product fits in.
For a start, I’d recommend they subscribe to https://www.facebook.com/groups/DFGChampions/ (Run by Foundations all about adaptations) and https://www.facebook.com/groups/311439915949/ (one of the largest OT Facebook groups all about OT / Equipment and so much more), and – of course – there’s my weekly email, which they can receive just by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and letting us know they want to be on the list.
My door is always open, so if you want to talk any of this through in more detail, just drop me a line at email@example.com
Stuart Barrow of Promoting Independence is a member of the British Association of Occupational Therapists panel and a recognised contributor in the field of home adaptations. His experience is sought by manufacturers and service providers looking for an expert opinion. He also runs the Occupational Therapy Adaptations Conference