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Don’t take you foot off the pedal – crisis is opportunity!

April 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Don’t cut your ad budget.  You are building your brand while the other guy disappears from the consumer’s radar screen.

Here’s an excerpt from a WSJ interview with Nancy F. Koehn, a business historian, author and professor of business administration at Harvard Business School http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124024841790635643.html  :

It is in the early 1930s [during the Depression] that Procter & Gamble Co. says, “We are going to market the hell out of our products, and we’re going to do it on radio,” which was like the Internet of the time, “and we’re going to sponsor these little dramas.” That’s how they came to be called soap operas. So [one lesson in downturns] is market, market. Don’t cut back on marketing.

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Categories: Branding

Offer value – not low prices!

April 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Here’s a WSJ article about offering value without sacrificing your brand.   http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124025180363135917.html

Selling price is a tricky thing.  You don’t really want to be known as “the cheap dentist” – do you?

Categories: Branding

Can you compete with a Mexican dentist?

April 6, 2009 1 comment

There were three articles in the Chicago Tribune about Americans heading south of the border for dental care. See them here: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-border-dentists_boxmar24,0,5556110.story .  

Americans use dentists in Mexico for one reason – cost. Even after accounting for travel expense, you probably can’t compete with a Mexican practice on cost. If you can, you need to raise your rates. Where you can compete is value, of which cost is just one component.

The value perceived by the dental patient is established by balancing your fees against two things – the quality of the dentistry and the quality of the service. Many factors contribute toward the patient’s perception of the service quality, including how easy or difficult your team makes the whole process. Was the process, from booking the appointment through exiting the building, easy or complicated? How was the initial phone call handled? Was it easy to set up an appointment?  Was the patient greeted with a warm smile, or just barely acknowledged by your front desk with a point towards a chair, during the middle of a phone call?  Was there a lot of waiting in your reception area or was the patient seen promptly? Is the office comfortable? Were questions answered? Does the patient have to repeatedly fill out forms or give the same information again and again?

At an American practice, patients expect that they will receive top-notch dental care, that the office will be clean, and that equipment will be sterilized. If you deliver these things and also make it easy, comfortable, even a little pleasant (all things considered) to come to your office, people will see the value in your higher cost.

Advertise like Toyota

January 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Toyota’s latest campaign promotes value instead of low-cost.  They even launched a domain name for the campaign, http://www.qualitysavesmoney.com   You could have worse models for creating your own message.

The economy is our reality.  You can’t pretend it doesn’t exist, but you don’t need to panic either.  Instead of slashing prices, sell value.

Advertise for now . . . and for the future

December 4, 2008 Leave a comment
I might sound like a broken record, but I’ll keep hammering away at this point:  Now is not time to cut back on your advertising.  Authorities wiser than me are making this point as well.  see:  http://www.forbes.com/2008/12/01/advertising-recession-wharton-ent-sales-cx_1201whartonadvertising.html?partner=daily_newsletter

I know that immediate return is down for many of you, but a dental ad campaign is more than just pure direct response.  You are building a brand, and the brand that sticks around is stronger than the brand that disappears when the economy slows down. 

 

 

Keep Marketing Your Practice – You’ll Be Glad You Did

October 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Some of the biggest marketers in the country see the down economy as an opportunity:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/20/business/media/20adco.html?partner=rssyahoo&emc=rss

In the stock market, it makes sense to buy low.  In the advertising arena, when the “average” practice cuts back on marketing, the efficient practice stays the course. The practices that keep marketing will emerge stronger than ever.

Own Your Market

To a certain extent, you are who you say you are.  If you continually reinforce to the public that you are the “implant dentist” or “the sedation dentist”, eventually that reputation takes on a life of its own.

“Owning”  your market means penetrating the public consciousness to a degree that you become the default choice for the service you own.  This requires a serious and long term commitment to your marketing campaign, and most likely will use a variety of media.  Some clients of mine who “own” their markets use a combination of web, radio, direct mail, tv and billboards.  That’s sounds like a big investment – and it is.  But none of my clients started their campaigns so aggressively.  Each started with a modest budget, using one or two media, and grew the campaign over a period of years as the ROI built them a marketing warchest.