Marketing is a strange beast. You could do a mail out to all the dentists in your area and get a couple of phone calls from prospects, you could personally visit all the dentists in your area and introduce yourself and your business and leave a sample/product marketing material, advertise in the paper, cold call etc. Sometimes a new customer will come from just one marketing action, sometimes from a combination. Sometimes you will get an interested prospect straight away, sometimes it may take months for them to show any interest. The only real guarantee to get some peace of mind was to advertise across all marketing avenues repetitively so your always in the customers face. But it was and still is expensive.
Everyone knows dental labs are successful when they create a solid relationship with the dentist. We work WITH the dentist to provide a quality product for patient satisfaction. The teamwork of the lab and the dentist results in a happy patient and hopefully referrals for both parties. A solid relationship with the dentist is crucial for a successful prosperous partnership.
Keep in mind that I only listed marketing strategies that involved marketing pre Gen Y, born between 1982â1992, they use technology at higher rates than people from other generations. In a survey, they found that 97% of these Gen Y students owned a computer, 94% owned a cell phone, and 56% owned an MP3 player.*
For this generation of dentists, technology and communication is paramount. The relationship is still as equally important but the way that these people are communicating as generation has a greater focus on electronic communication. The audience is now world wide and they are listening. Many labs have adapted to this new form of marketing with a website, but just like older marketing techniques using a combination of marketing tools will reach more of your target audience.
The rules may appear to be set in opposition: if you have a website and social media then you can't build a relationship with a dentist and if you create solid relationships in person then why would you need any web presence. But for Gen Y it's not like that at all (I should mention I was born in 1982 - don't hold it against me :-)), for us youtube, facebook, linkedin, twitter (although I don't use that one much) and blogging are real forms of communication that is valued. But it's not a single business solution either. There must always be a combination that reach to prospects that use their preferred form of online communication.
And here's the kicker that will really contradict what I've said. Don't use all of these unless you have the time and commitment to continue communicating through them. An out of date form of online communication could be interpreted as a 'closed' sign on the shop front. Chose something that you enjoy and you will continue to maintain it. Videos are always a great start because they can be uploaded on you tube and people can take them and repost them for you. The facebook and linked in options will need a bit more attention with twitter being the most demanding of time and attention. It's all about what you prefer, what speaks to your target audience and what makes sense for your business.
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to comment, the purpose of these Tips is motivation and discussion.
*Generation Y traits and characteristics Wikipedia search