The power of internal marketing

What is dental marketing? Dental marketing is not one or two strategies that you do at the last minute when things look tough.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, MBA

What is dental marketing? Dental marketing is not one or two strategies that you do at the last minute when things look tough. Dental marketing is a well-designed series of 15 to 30 strategies that function simultaneously at all times in the practice. Successful dental marketing is effective in getting practice results in terms of patients, treatment, and financial performance.

When we begin to realize that a marketing program is a combination of strategies, we understand that over time, some will work well, some will be simply satisfactory, and some will not work at all. We have to go back and take out the ones that do not work and try new ones. It has been said, "Fifty cents of every marketing dollar is wasted. Wouldn't it be great if we knew which fifty cents in advance?" Unfortunately, that isn't possible.

Will it work?

Sometimes Levin Group clients ask, "How do we know this will work?" Our answer is that it is something that must be tried. When we go out there and try different marketing strategies, some work and some do not. Once we analyze the effectiveness and results, we gradually customize the successful ones, then phase out the ones that do not work and replace them with new strategies. In fact, we currently have a client who had been involved in a consulting program for 10 months with very good results. Suddenly, the results began to decline in effectiveness. The existing strategy needed to be phased out and a new marketing strategy set in place. Marketing is not a stagnant process, but rather a work in progress. Your marketing program has to change regularly. It requires creativity because whatever works today can run out of steam tomorrow. It is highly beneficial to know what has been tested in other practices in other regions and what has worked.

You can't do it all yourself

Dentists work long, hard days, and may not be the best candidates to implement the marketing initiatives. Dentistry is not easy and remains so even with the great new technologies introduced over the past decades. Today, there are high-speed drills, wonderful composites and adhesives, faster procedures, better crowns, and durable porcelains. In fact, all of dentistry has evolved and advanced to provide patients with a wide scope of exceptional, reliable, and lasting quality services. However, it is still a demanding profession. At the end of a hard day of seeing patients, you are not interested in sitting down and worrying about marketing for a couple of hours. The very last thing you want to do is write letters to patients, create fact sheets, or do all the things that a professional relations coordinator can handle for you. That is why you dedicate a team member to handle the marketing activities for your practice.

The time has come to begin thinking of marketing as an investment. It is no longer something that you should do occasionally, or when you have a little extra money, or when your practice slows. It is a continual investment in the practice.

Marketing is all about attracting patients you want to have, working with those patients, treating them for a lifetime, attracting new patients, and gaining their referrals. It can be done tastefully and positively, but you have to know what type of patient you want to attract, what type of services you want to offer, and what type of practice you want to build so that the correct marketing strategies can be selected.

Cement your success

In any competitive field, it is important that your practice continue to grow. Marketing allows you to cement your success by retaining the patients you already have and attracting new patients interested in the kind of dentistry you want to produce.

Marketing is a game of repetitive, consistent, positive contacts. It is 15 to 30 or more strategies functioning simultaneously to help you become successful. Can you do it? Of course! Anybody can build a successful practice if you are turned on, excited, and have the knowledge.

For a free copy of Levin Group's "10 Tips for Internal Marketing," please call us at (888) 973-0000 or email consulting@levingroup.com.

Roger P. Levin, DDS, MBA, is founder and CEO of Levin Group, Inc., a leading dental-management consulting firm specializing in implementing documented business systems into dental practices. Levin Group is dedicated to improving the lives of dentists through proven dental-practice management and marketing-consulting programs that help practices reach higher levels of success and profitability. Levin Group can be contacted at (888) 973-0000 or at www.levingroup.com.

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