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Robert Bell

Do You Work For Dr. Ummmmmm?

They’re only the largest optometric practice/retailer in the country.




Do You Work For Dr. Ummmmmm?

AT THE TIME I was writing this article, two huge European optical companies, that truly know the meaning of the term “market share,” announced their merger. To be honest, the minute this was announced, I put this column aside and ran to social media to read the moaning and groaning ECPs were sure to spew. Sad to say, I was not disappointed.

For those who were/are feeling the frustration, I guess it’s ok to vent a bit amongst your peers — y’know, get it out of your system and all. But, that’s not what happened. What happened was more and more … griping! Griping isn’t a solution. It certainly isn’t a strategy that will help you effectively compete.

You do have it rough though, don’t cha? Huge optical companies merging, the emergence and popularity of online opticals and the vision care programs with whom you’ve aligned yourselves. Yes, gripe all you want but this is the fault of Dr. Ummm.

Who is Dr. Ummm? Well, according to my research, it appears Dr. Ummm is the largest optometric practice/retailer in the country. Haven’t heard of them? Sure, you have. What’s more, you appear to work for Dr. Ummm.

Let me remind you of who Dr. Ummm is.

I’ve been known to approach people on the street or in a mall and say, “Excuse me. Sorry to bother you but I love your glasses (or sunglasses).”



“Where’d you get them?”

“Oh, at my eye doctor’s office.”

“Ah, who’s your eye doctor?” with excitement in my voice.

“Oh, it’s Doctor… Ummmmm …”

Folks, I’ve been doing this for years and nine times out of 10, it’s “Dr. Ummm” when they say they got their glasses at their eye doctor’s. Y’know what else they say nine times out of 10? The name of the big box optical retailer or online optical retailer, if that’s where they actually purchased them.


Scream and yell all you want. Say these aforementioned competitors of yours don’t come close to offering the professional services and quality products you, as an independent, provide. But, why can’t they remember your name? Why can’t they remember your brand?

More importantly, what is your brand? 

If you cannot answer that last question, you absolutely need assistance in creating, establishing and maintaining your brand. There are creative and effective marketing people within the industry (including myself) who can help you.  

For those of you who are thinking, “Well, I can’t afford to do it at this time,” my response is:

1. You can’t afford not to do it. It’s an investment that will differentiate you and brand your practice.

2. Think about the money you invested on your education. Did you learn about sales and marketing? Of course not. Your education isn’t over yet.


I like to show you the “how to” in each column but space prevents me from doing so today. Next month in “The Continuing Saga of Dr. Ummm,” I will share the beginnings of your new marketing strategy.

Amongst the other things Robert Bell does in the eye care industry, he helps to oversee the Vision Services Program for California CareForce and inspires others to volunteer in their own communities throughout the United States. You may contact him at [email protected] or send him a message on The Vision Volunteers page on Facebook.


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