Dentists Competing for Patients
Competing dental marketing is very challenging and costly in many ways because there are numerous players. Turn Around marketing is like judo: using the "generic heft and creative complacency" of this large group to take advantage of what they cannot see or target.Competing marketing players are looking for everyone to be their dental patients. They see this huge mass of dental consumers and wonder why they can't get a large chunk of them. They want to fill the dental chairs and maybe at some point move them to higher-level procedures like cosmetic dentistry.
There is nothing wrong with dental practices that go this route. It is just that to compete in the general arena means you communicate in simple and similar terms like your competition. You say "FREE", half-off, toothache, and dental emergencies. Possibly you now say Invisalign, CEREC, Lumineers veneers, and ZOOM! But pretty soon every dentist is saying those things as well.
Dentists that follow and compete like this often get worn out. In addition, as they pursue this sameness strategy, dental consumers get trained to expect sameness. For example, most consumers want things at the lowest cost possible, you and me included. But there some things we also will pay a lot for. "I would like a new smile but it’s a lot of money. Plus I just bought a big screen TV and we are going to Mazatlan again this year."
What is wrong then; why is your dental expertise not a higher priority? Consumers do not see YOU! They see a dentist. They see dentistry. And they already "understand" dentistry. "It should be covered by dental insurance. It should be low cost. Of course, something should be free. And finally, when the dentist tries to explain why I need a lot of dentistry and it does not fit this sameness pattern, he/she is trying to 'sell me' something.
But what if you have tons of dental CE? Can create lasting, healthy, beautiful smiles? Have many years of experience? Treat people not teeth? If you are doing one or all these things, YOUR consumers should see something else besides the "same idea of dentistry" people saw 30 years ago when things were more similar.Yes, dental technology and all the cool cosmetic and restorative techniques can get you noticed. But the "new service/technology theme" is short-lived and often shallow in value because it is not focused on people. People make decisions and that means the "justification process" is complicated. Some of it is logical but it also has to do with fear, ignorance, complacency, and emotion. And a beautiful smile might only be a small influence on taking that final step. People only connect to things that have deep meaning; otherwise "simple" rules the day. Free Whitening focuses on simple. Exciting, yes. But still simple, especially when Wal-mart also sells it. They only remember FREE -- whitening is forgotten quickly and then they think - free dentistry from the local dentist who must not have much expertise if he/she is promoting free services. Low cost marketing "works" - but where does it take you?
When dental consumers are not connected - you can lose them very easily. When you do general (competing) dental marketing you invite them to not expect value because you are competing with the same message everyone is offering. You are making the blur of sameness blurrier. Sameness is valueless when it comes to dental treatment beyond cleanings and "fillings".
More on Sameness Stampede Marketing In my next Dental Coaching Blog entry. NOW POSTED.
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