Dentists Should Prepare for a Change in Consumers

This week, I extended Monday’s Groupon article as a discussion topic on LinkedIn. Dr. William Jackson made an interesting comment, and I’d like to expand on it. Dr. Jackson said:

Two other factors signal a dramatic change on the marketing horizon: 1) Various mechanisms are evolving for consumers to choose the messages they will see – as opposed to the message being pushed on them. 2) The method of how a consumer searches and decides is going to rapidly change from the current simple keyword searches to a more intelligent search capability.

Let’s look at 1) Various mechanisms are evolving for consumers to choose the messages they will see – as opposed to the message being pushed on them.

How true. I absolutely hated it when WalMart put television monitors in the checkout lines, and then the gas station did the same darned thing! As a consumer, I’m more than tired of products and services being pushed upon me. I do not care if a fuel additive will improve my gas mileage. My husband cares. Yet, I have to listen to it every time I fill up my car with gas. I refuse to ever use the fuel additive because the marketing is obnoxious and intrusive. Don’t make the same mistake with your dental practice!

The Internet provides a unique opportunity for marketing. People get to choose what they want to learn about. Imagine that, freedom of choice for the consumer. IMHO, this type of marketing respects the consumer and treats him or her as an intelligent individual. You don’t have to blanket the world with your message, you just have to get your message online, make it visible on search engines, and entice potential patients to learn more. They might visit your website, subscribe to your dental practice blog, or connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

Does this work? Yes. In November, I had two clients tell me the same thing, “The Internet works!” Yes, it does. It works well if you utilize it with an intelligent strategy.

Now for 2) The method of how a consumer searches and decides is going to rapidly change from the current simple keyword searches to a more intelligent search capability.

I believe this is inevitable. Google already altered its search by providing instantaneous (a fraction of a second) results based on the characters you type in, as you type them. The company is constantly exploring, finding, and presenting to the public more reliable and convenient ways to find information online.

To a dentist, this means you have to stay on top of what’s going on with Internet marketing. It is imperative that you work with a reputable and aggressive Internet marketing company who understands your practice. Two factors come into play in this relationship.

One, there has to be a personal aspect. The marketing firm you use must know you, your goals, your target marketing, and your attitude about patient care. Someone at the firm should be in contact with you regularly because with Internet marketing, new content needs to be created and published about your practice all the time. You need a blog, and your Internet marketing firm should write and maintain it for you. That’s their job!

The other factor is knowledge of the industry. Internet marketing is changing rapidly, and your practice needs to hook up with professionals who understand and stay on top of the innovations and developments – then puts them into action for your benefit. Consider this: You can know about all the awesome dental technology and procedures, but if you don’t use them, your patient gets no benefit from your knowledge. You need a marketing company that acts and doesn’t just talk.

The Internet will change, Internet marketing will change, and the consumer’s attitude will change, as well. You need to understand and prepare for this if your practice is going to thrive over the next decade. That’s all there is to it.

I’m Jill Duty of Modern Dental Practice Marketing. I want to thank Dr. Williams for his comments on LinkedIn and his unintended role in this article ;-).