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INVISION Podcast

Podcast: Why Optical (and Especially Optical Retail) Is Lagging Behind Other Industries

The optical industry is lagging behind but progress is inevitable and solutions are at hand for clinicians who embrace ownership.

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INVISION PODCAST EPISODE 8: JOHN MARVIN OF TEXAS STATE OPTICAL (54:53 MINUTES)


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IN THIS EPISODE of the INVISION Podcast with Dee Carroll, Dee speaks with TSO’s John Marvin, her go-to man on industry happenings, about managing eyecare businesses into the future.

John is president and CEO of Texas State Optical. In addition to heading up TSO, John is also INVISION’s regular management columnist and Dee’s go-to advisor whenever she has a question on industry happenings and trends.

They begin the discussion with the fascinating history of Texas State Optical, its current make up and how it functions today; but 15 minutes in they go right to the heart of it … How far the optical industry is lagging behind other industries, why John thinks that is and how that gap is only growing, especially on the retail side of the business.

At 20:17, they talk about the inevitability of progress, those in the industry who are the “wrong side of history” and John corrects Dee on the assumption that resistance to change is dictated by a practioner’s age. (It isn’t.)

They go deep into teleoptometry 26 minutes into the episode and you really don’t want to miss it. Half way through, Dee asks about motivating reluctant folks who may be dragging their feet when it comes to the advancement of technology and innovation and John provides tips for employees, team members and staff interested in moving a business forward (34 minutes).

At 37 minutes Dee attempts to rapid-fire question John on several topics and how he personally sees them affecting the delivery of eyecare in the future; topics like teleoptometry, e-commerce and the basic digital requirements of a modern business, and “selling stuff” or dispensing from the chair.

(Spoiler alert: It’s not particularly rapid.

Dee and John wrap up the episode (53 minutes) by having him identify some of the biggest obstacles facing eyecare businesses from a management perspective. Hint: They have to do with the disconnect between being a clinician and a business owner.

Get comfy and click play, this is a good one folks!

Having built a career in service journalism, Dee has been covering the eyecare industry for over a decade. As editor-in-chief of INVISION Magazine, she is passionate about telling independent ECPs stories and can be reached directly at dee@invisionmag.com.

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INVISION Podcast

Podcast: Is Eyecare in Canada Really More Like the U.S. Than We Think?

Dee talks with 4ECP’s Trudi Charest on marketing and staffing an eyecare business in both countries.

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EPISODE 10: TRUDI CHAREST OF 4ECPS (26:05 MINUTES)

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IN THIS EPISODE of INVISION with Dee Carroll, brought to you by Art Optical Contact Lens, Dee talks with the co-founder of 4ECPs and the EyeInnovate conference, Trudi Charest.

First Trudi gives a little info on her personal background, including her family’s optical heritage, working as an optician in retail, a sales rep for B+L and Optos, and training and producing live events, and how her company 4ECPs was founded with partner Kevin Wilhelm due to a lack of available marketing resources for ECPs. At 6:30 minutes, Dee asks about the idea for the EyeInnovate conference, held in November in San Francisco. “[EyeInnovate] really spring from my background doing events for buying groups,” shares Trudi. “We didn’t do the typical eyecare event that you see out there; we made it more of a business event. We brought in non-industry speakers who could talk about the business aspects and motivational and inspirational speakers. I saw that there was no dedicated marketing growth conference in our industry.”



This episode is brought to you by Art Optical..

She goes on to describe the conception and format of EyeInnovate (9:00). At 11 minutes, they discuss continuing education and the recently changing landscape of accredited courses and the future of CE talks. In short, “people remember fun,” says Trudi (13:53).

At 16:30, Dee sets the stage for the U.S. vs. Canada discussion and Trudi sets the record straight (17:08). She discusses the similarities … mostly challenges ECPs in both countries face … including Canada’s insurance system (18:00) and how Canadians are more willing to spend more on their eyewear (19:00). But across the borders, when asked what their main challenges are, Trudi always hears the same thing… the number one universal challenge facing those managing eyecare businesses is revealed at 19:35. Trudi goes on (20:40) to explain how 4ECPs different divisions helps businesses learn what to do to compete in today’s world, including digital marketing, training and business strategy.

Dee and Trudi discuss the columns from the 4ECP team that INVISION readers can expect in the magazine in 2020 at 22:02. And the bonus content, guidebooks and tools readers will be able to download throughout the year.

This episode of In Vision with Dee Carroll is brought to you by Art Optical Contact Lens. For over 60 years, Art Optical’s mission has helped ECP’s to take control of their custom contact lens business. Listen to the podcast for a free offer from Art Optical and visit www.artoptical.com or call 1-800-253-9364 for more information.

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INVISION Podcast

Podcast: What Exactly Does it Take to Become America’s Finest Optical Retailer?

Dee talks with Eclectic Eye’s Robbie Johnson Weinberg and Dr. Michael Weinberg to get the scoop.

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INVISION PODCAST EPISODE 9: ROBBIE JOHNSON WEINBERG AND DR. MICHAEL WEINBERG OF ECLECTIC EYE (48:36 MINUTES)


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IN THIS EPISODE of the INVISION Podcast with Dee Carroll, Dee sits down with the first place winners of INVISION’s 2019 America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest: Robbie Johnson Weinberg and Dr. Michael Weinberg of Eclectic Eye in Memphis, TN.

After establishing how Robbie and Dr. Mike met and how Eclectic came to be, they get into the nitty gritty of the things that makes Eclectic Eye a very special business. Like the fact that they converted to private pay only – that’s right, they take NO insurance – and the benefit that affords them (23:00). They also made the decision to only carry independent brands (27:00) and how other independents can make that decision too. At 34:34 minutes, they talk about the important role a business’s overall environment plays to the success of an independent eyecare business. Shortly after (35:30), they dig deep on working with an outside agency for branding, marketing and social media management and why it’s worth the money. Robbie and Dr. Mike also provide advice for others interested in finding their own agency to work with. And while they are doling out the advice, at 42:00 they provide their advice for couples – or anyone – looking to start their own independent eyecare business. Lastly, they talk about their few regrets (45:30) and how they had tackled them sooner. Be sure to stay to the end because they are issues some of you may currently be facing.

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INVISION Podcast

Podcast: What the Heck is Marketing? And What Should ECPs Focus on to Attract New Clients?

Dee talks with EyeCarePro’s Evan Engel — who knows what works … and what doesn’t.

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INVISION PODCAST EPISODE 7: EVAN ENGEL OF EYECAREPRO (41:30 MINUTES)


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AFTER A BRIEF spring hiatus, our podcast INVISION with Dee Carroll is back! In a streamlined new format, Dee talks with Evan Engel, the vice president of sales and marketing at EyeCarePro, an optometric practice and eyecare business digital marketing firm. Evan has a robust background in marketing eyecare practices and uses a data driven approach to help practices acquire new patients… in short, he knows what sort of marketing works and what doesn’t.

During the episode, learn once and for all what marketing actually is — Hint: it’s much more all-encompassing than you think (3:58) — the top three things that will give you the biggest bang for your marketing buck (8:25), the best tool to get new patients through your door (9:45), and the MINIMUM amount of work you need to be doing on your website (18:00).

If that wets your whistle, then stick around for the most important KPIs you should monitor to gauge your marketing plan’s effectiveness (23:00), hear Evan blow Dee’s mind with the concept of call tracking numbers (24:25), and how the second page of Google results is just the first loser when it comes to new patient conversion (33:39).

Evan also shares a tool to show you exactly how your business ranks when people Google search for eyecare businesses in your area (34:40) and gives a definitive answer to the question “Reviews, are they really that important?” and should you be responding (37:45). It’s 45 minutes of solid marketing information you do not want to miss.

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