Dentist, Market Thyself

Last week I called on an orthodontist — or more specifically, the practice’s office manager. I learned two things of note:

1. Things are really, really slow these days. Parents are still bringing their kids in for braces, but in smaller numbers. And their lucrative adult-braces business is way down.

2. The doctor has steadfastly refused to advertise.

So it was with interest that I read — and mailed to the orthodontist — Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal article on the trend among those in the dental profession to increase their marketing. The article told the story of Dr. David Wong of Tulsa, OK.  Dr. Wong’s business has dropped about 10% in recent months.

Dr. Wong has upped his advertising, taking advantage of low newspaper and broadcast rates, and now sends email reminders to customers on top of traditional mailed postcards. He is even on Twitter, aiming to connect with customers as “not just the guy in a white coat with a drill in his hand.”

“It’s a lot more work,” he admits. “You can’t go to the office and just be a dentist anymore; you have to go to the office and be a dentist and a CEO.”

Ed Ridgway, a practice consultant, offered this take on his Dental Marketer blog:

Are you growing your practice – or just waiting for the competition to eat your market share?


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