9.9.11 Issue #496 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Marketing Campaigns: Does Yours Have the 'Silver Bullet'?
by Sally McKenzie CEO

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The promises. The hype. The inflated statistics. No, I'm not talking about stump speeches from the 2012 presidential hopefuls; I'm talking about the multitude of marketing gimmicks in today's dental marketplace. "If you just purchase this ad campaign, your profits will skyrocket." "If you just invest in this new website, you'll have all the patients flocking to your door." "Social media is the way to go. All you need is Facebook and email." They all claim to deliver the "silver bullet" - the one quick and easy trick.

The truth: There is NO silver bullet trick to marketing. There is no easy fix. Effective marketing is hard work. It requires diligence. It's more than a zippy ad or charming logo - although those are important. After several years of working with hundreds of practices, virtually all of which have struggled to effectively promote what they do, we've discovered a few marketing realities. First, marketing is not an event, it is a system. Second, everyone on your staff is marketing your practice for better or worse in every patient interaction. Third, effective marketing involves a series of fundamental steps and an ongoing, fully-funded budget.

Let's consider what I view as: The Five Fundamentals of Effective Marketing.

#1 Create Your Brand
Branding is making a statement about who you are - it's your practice name, your logo, and the message that these convey. For example, you see the swoosh on the t-shirt and you immediately recognize it as "Nike." You don't have to spot the name to know that under those golden arches is a Big Mac. These images convey the "brand" that you know and recognize.

Your brand is unique to your practice, and I dare say that it is not the image of an extracted tooth. Rather, your brand should clearly convey a credible and professional image. It is the cornerstone of an effective marketing strategy, which includes everything from letterhead to brochures to advertising.

Speaking of advertising, too often dentists spend thousands of dollars in advertising campaigns that are better described as smattering campaigns. They smatter ads here and there with little thought as to whether the ad is targeted to the market the dentist wants to attract.

#2 Determine Your Market
Who is your market? Who do you want to be your market? For example, perhaps your practice has focused more on adult patients and high-end procedures, but you would like to expand to include more families. Desire alone won't deliver patients to your door. Understanding the demographics of your community, however, will. At a minimum, they will help you to best target your advertising efforts to appeal to the specific patient audience you seek to attract.

#3 Advertise in Multiple Media
When you have a better understanding of your market, you can make more effective use of your advertising dollars. Advertising comes in many forms from direct mail, to ads, to social media, to coupons, and the list goes on. There is no single form of advertising that is the "silver bullet." Depending on your patient demographics and the patient market you want to reach, some forms will be more effective than others. Traditional advertising is the best approach to attract certain patient populations, while social media including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are more effective for others. The key is to understand what appeals to which patients, and then use the right advertising mix.

#4 Create Your Website
The next item on our list of marketing fundamentals is a customized - not template - website that is unique to your practice. It is the Yellow Pages of the 21st Century and it's where patients look first to purchase products and services.

#5 It's Not a DIY Job
To successfully carry out each of these fundamentals requires time and the guidance of a professional. You don't want someone to sell you a quick fix and walk away. You need a trusted adviser that fully understands the struggles and challenges that practices face daily, and most importantly, knows what it takes to ensure that marketing isn't just an "event" - but an ongoing and essential practice system that yields true long-term success. Contact me today and let's talk about how McKenzie Management's marketing division can help your practice.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie's Consulting Coaching Programs can help you IMPLEMENT proven strategies, email info@mckenziemgmt.com.

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