The practice model of an office cannot be separated from its physical appearance, layout and location. You may WANT an upscale, fee-for-service practice, which emphasizes cutting-edge cosmetic dentistry. But if the location of the office, the demographics of the local population, and access to major transportation arteries are not suitable for such a practice, it makes more sense to put lipstick on a pig and call it the Prom Queen.
So you are faced with a choice: Either you can move the office to a location more suitable to the kind of practice you want OR you can change your dental model to one better suited to the area’s demography. Of course, a significant percentage of dentists choose NOT to choose and continue down the path of practice, blithely ignoring what reality is shouting to them: Open Your Eyes.
Every practice needs a demographic overview to help determine if the practice you want is the practice you can have in your location. Not long ago, a pediatric dentist asked if the lack of success in his practice near a resort town might have something to do with demographics. A quick analysis told us that his problem was simple: nearly all the children likely to go to a pediatric dentist in the region were “seasonal.” The “year-round” residents were much more prone to practice “home-based dentistry” which included significant self-medication and extractions. Our research showed that by moving the practice a fairly short distance “down-the-hill” would give him significant benefits in that he would be closer to a larger referral base AS WELL AS a larger potential patient base.
We don’t expect that every dental practice will have such an obvious answer but we DO believe that a Community Overview Report will help inform the doctor about potential target markets and the reality of how “aligned” a practice area and dental office are to the goals and business model of the doctor. In the event that the determination should be made to move, this same Report can provide insights into where one can relocate while retaining the best part of the current patient base. It can even take into account “drive-times” and “growth pockets” that may be developing near the site.
Choosing a realistic “target market” is another benefit to this kind of market research because each location is dominated by different “demographic types” or “psychographic groups,” it is possible to include messages and media that are specific to that type or group. In short, targeting makes all marketing more cost-effective because it can help develop a message and deliver it through a medium that matches the preferences, needs, and wants of that specific subset of the population that the practice WANTS as its primary patient base.
The more specific you can be about your goals and expectations when requesting a Community Overview Report, the more accurate the recommendations will be as well as being specific to your needs.
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