Marketing of OHS

Marketing of OHS

By the late George Robotham

Sometimes skills from other disciplines can be applied successfully to OHS, one such skill set is marketing. I have attended some marketing training but admittedly the focus was on marketing consultancy services. What I have tried to do with the following is provide are a few marketing tips I think can be applied to the work of an OHS professional in a normal employer employee relationship.

Marketing is putting the right product in the right place, at the right time, at the right place. You have to create a product people want.

In an employer employee OHS relationship monetary cost may not be regarded as a factor but there will be a cost in time and effort. In the situation where corporate OHS people are internal OHS consultants there may well be costs of running the corporate OHS department allocated to business units.

Like a lot of things in life the 7 P rule applies to marketing – Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Have an OHS marketing plan with ideal customers specified, a vision, a customer mission statement, goals and objectives.

Marketing people talk about the 4 P marketing mix – Product, Place, Price, Promotion. It pays to put a lot of work into defining these. People buy products not services and carefully defining your products is vital.

Once you have defined you marketing approach get feedback from your customers to ensure it is really what they want.

Marketing goals

  1. Increased product use through creating an interest in my products.
  2. Get more repeat customers.
  3. Raise my professional profile.
  4. Launch new products.
  5. Increase client recommendations.
  6. Improve relationships with customers.
  7. Educate relevant professionals and business operators in Safety.
  8. Be a credible source of best practice information for Safety professionals.

Marketing tips

  1. Focus communications on the C.E.O. and senior management when applicable.
  2. Formula for advertisements – Attention, Interest, Desire, Attention.
  3. Have a Unique Selling Proposition that clearly differentiates you from others doing similar things, put a lot of work into defining this.
  4. Say thank you to customers.
  5. Give customers What’s In It For Me from their perspective.
  6. Give them an offer they cannot refuse.
  7. Show the customer how the product will benefit them.
  8. Keep in contact with old customers much easier to sell to than getting new customers.
  9. Have a call to action.
  10. Always treat the customer like a King or Queen – If you do not your competitors will.
  11. People buy benefits but want to know features.
  12. Word of mouth from satisfied customers is the best advertising, if they are happy they may tell one person, if they are not they will tell 20.

Marketing activities

  1. Write papers for safety journals and Linkedin OHS forums, internal publications, present papers at conferences.
  2. Put safety materials on the company web site.
  3. Record customer details and what they buy.
  4. Get customer feedback, always make a call after a sale.
  5. Customer discussion group, sandwich lunch, with incentives to attend, to discuss my latest ideas.
  6. Send regular e-mail updates.
  7. Ask for referrals and put on web site, reward customers for referrals.
  8. Have a regular newsletter to clients and make available through subscription on the web site.


Marketing skills can improve the impact of OHS initiatives. A basic search on Google will reveal a number of good, relevant ideas. As I said before – Always treat the customer like a King or Queen-If you do not your competitors will.

George Robotham

George Robotham

George was a Legend in the Safety World who passed away in Sept 2013 but left us with a great legacy
George Robotham
I have worked in OHS for most of my working life, many years in the mining industry including over 10 years in a corporate OHS role with BHP. Since leaving the mining industry I have worked in a variety of safety roles with a variety of employers, large & small, in a variety of industries. I was associated with my first workplace fatality at age 21, the girl involved was young, intelligent, vivacious and friendly. Such a waste! I was the first on the scene and tried to comfort her and tend to her injuries. She said to me “George, please do not let me die” We put her on the aerial ambulance to Rockhampton base hospital where she died the next day. I do not mind telling you that knocked me around for awhile. Since then I have helped my employers cope with the aftermath of 12 fatalities and 2 other life-altering events. The section "Why do Occupational Health & Safety" provides further detail but in summary, poor safety is simply very expensive and also has a massive humanitarian cost. My qualifications include a certificate I.V. in Workplace Training and Assessment, a Diploma in Frontline Management, a Diploma in Training & Assessment Systems, a Bachelor of Education (Adult & Workplace Education) , a Grad. Cert. in Management of Organisational Change and a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management. I am currently studying towards a Masters in Business Leadership. Up until recently I had been a Chartered Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia for 10 years and a member for about 30 years. My interest is in non-traditional methods of driving organisational change in OHS and I have what I believe is a healthy dis-respect for many common approaches to OHS Management and OHS Training. I hold what I believe is a well-founded perception that many of the things safety people and management do in safety are “displacement activities” (Displacement activities are things we do, things we put a lot of energy into, but which when we examine them closely there is no valid reason for doing them). My managerial and leadership roles in OHS have exposed me to a range of management techniques that are relevant to Business Improvement. In particular I am a strong supporter of continuous improvement and quality management approaches to business. I believe leadership is the often forgotten key to excellence in most aspects of life. I hold the Australian Defence Medal and am a J.P.(Qualified). I have many fond memories of my time playing Rugby Union when I was a young bloke.

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