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The Hidden Dangers of a Prideful Approach to Marketing + 1 Quick Tip on How to Deal with it in Your Dental Office

The Hidden Dangers of a Prideful Approach to Marketing + 1 Quick Tip on How to Deal with it in Your Dental Office
Justin Morgan

Commitment vs. Control

Is your dental marketing company committed to great results?  Or do they try to control which medium you use to advertise?


I recently had a very successful and highly regarded dentist contact me about SEO.  He told me a PPC/Adwords consultant was controlling and managing his campaign.  He was very happy with the results, and boasted high ROI from such efforts.  He told me his billboards, radio ads and TV spot ROI didn’t come close to his PPC campaign.  He wanted to know if SEO was the right fit for him to gain new patients.  In our conversation, I mentioned we should review some data within his Adwords account to see just how many people were searching in his target area.  After all, if the search volume isn’t high enough, SEO wouldn’t be the right fit for his practice.


He decided to think about it.


Later, I found out the Adwords manager opposed the idea of this dentist doing SEO.  He was personally offended that the dentist felt his PPC management wasn’t enough.  He derided SEO as an ineffective way to gain new patients. The dentist didn’t want to offend his PPC manager any further, so he decided SEO was not worth exploring.  This is a prime example of a marketing company controlling a doctor rather than being committed to their success.

Too often, I come across marketing companies who specialize in what I like to call ‘alphabet soup’ dental marketing (PPC, SEO, SEM, elemenopee, etc.) and have lost sight of what really matters: finding the best fit for the dentist’s marketing goals.


On top of the lack focus on the doctor’s needs, marketing efforts are often disjointed and sporadic. The direct mail company fails to speak at all with the SEO strategist.  The photographer and videographer never meet.  The SEO strategist never speaks with the front desk, which is in charge of “blogging.”  Then, you have the pay per click manager, who is resentful if you try some other form of digital marketing.  The guy selling billboard space doesn’t ever ask what your TV and radio message entails.  The public relations firm is tucked neatly away from the social media strategist, and the web designer seems to have no problem asking for “content” to fill the blank spaces in the new website they created.


On top of it all, the dentist is stuck translating technical jargon from one department to another.  It’s a telephone game.  He needs to know how to speak clinician; computer-geek, layman, and marketer speak.

To some, it may not seem like to big an issue, but from a strategic standpoint, there is a grave problem.


Who’s calling the shots, here?  No one is on the same page, and worse yet – each company or department is at odds with each other.  This is often a result of each specialist taking pride in a platform, tactic, or medium, rather than taking pride in the overall message.  It’s time for dentists to take charge of their marketing message, and demand their marketing companies commit to results.


No dental patient ever said “I’m so glad my dentist bought Adwords!”


It’s time for dentists and marketing professionals to do something brave: Be willing to admit when the marketing medium isn’t the right fit for a particular practice, and commit to contribute ideas on how to create remarkable content.


I have had the opportunity to chat with some folks who are committed to just that.


Dr. Christopher Phelps runs a company dedicated to helping dentists track real ROI.  His service promotes a revolutionary idea in dental marketing: just do what works.  He doesn’t try to control which particular medium you choose.  He’s in favor of commitment to results, rather than controlling you.


But most marketers don’t think this way.  In fact, the only place you’ll find most marketers truly committed is in an insane asylum. (credit: Robert Rose of Content Marketing Institute)


We’re on the brink of 2017.  It’s time for more marketing specialists to think like Dr. Phelps.


Dr. Seth Lookhart, based in Anchorage, AK tells us how he keeps track of the ROI at Clear Creek Dental:


“All forms of marketing are self-reported. New patient paperwork has check boxes with all forms of current marketing methods on it. Each is entered into database, then at the end of each month we take each form of marketing and look at the amount of revenue generated from it. Then run the numbers through this formula:  return-investment/investment to get us our ROI, anything over 5.5 we consider worthwhile and continue to invest. Anything below 5.5 get a closer look to see what it would take to get above a 5.5. Some are worth working more to get above 5.5 but others are not and we move on. With the method of data collection I hold my front desk highly accountable and patients are not treated until they have filled in that portion of the paperwork. “

Dr. Lookhart also boosts conversions on his website by having a wellness program for those without dental insurance.



AnissahomesreminDr. Anissa Holmes promotes a message that her audience believes in.  Even though she specializes in helping dentists with Facebook Ads, she allows different types of marketers to join in on the discussion of what’s best for any particular dental practice.  Just like Dr. Phelps, she’s committed.


Being willing to engage in an organization-wide discussion about what kind of differentiating message you can deliver is the first place to start.  Tracking ROI gives you the ability to look in the rear view mirror and learn from past success and failures, but only a comprehensive content marketing strategy, where every member of your team has a say in what rules should govern the message, is the only way to ensure that your team is committed to results, rather than control.



Use a project management board, like Trello.  Get everyone in your dental office involved in a discussion on what kind of content will resonate with your ideal patient types.  Create content rules that govern what kind of differentiated message you can deliver that no other dental office can.  You can still use email if you’d like, but with Trello, you can showcase everyone’s feedback and ideas in a central location.



So how about your marketing service provider?  Are they controlling you?  Or are they committed to your success?  In my next article, I’ll show you the top red flags to look for so that you can know the difference.

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