Inside Dental Technology
March 2012
Volume 3, Issue 3

Hit Your Target Market

Reach your audience with the correct research and a variety of distribution channels.

By Bill Neal, CDT

Many laboratories set out to market themselves or a particular product but all too often fail in their efforts. They may have offered the right product but to the wrong target market or the wrong product to the right target market. Maybe the marketing channel was incorrect or was not supported by other means to get the message to the target audience. It might also be that they did not research their products or their intended market.

Successful target marketing is dependent on several factors—product, price, promotion, and place or distribution. However, even the most creative marketing campaign can fail in spite of a great offer and a well-designed marketing piece. For a campaign to succeed, the marketing piece has to reach the market segment that is most likely to purchase your product or service. To hit your target market you need to have the proper database of potential clients (ie, a good prospect list). This can be a daunting task, but it is an effort that will pay dividends in a new business over the long haul.

You need to set up a profile for the type of customer that has the greatest potential to buy your services, and the first place to start is within your current customer list. The Pareto* principle’s 80/20 rule is beneficial to remember. It states that approximately 20% of your customers will contribute about 80% of your sales—these are your best customers and their profile is important because they are the ideal type of customer you want to attract to your business.

These customers may have similar or common demographic or geographic characteristics and, once defined, building a good target list should become a little easier.

In reviewing your customer list and building profiles, keep in mind that how you obtained that “ideal” customer is important as it will help to define the media you will want to incorporate in your marketing efforts. You might find that a majority of recent new customers responded to something on your website, Facebook page, postcard, or a sales visit. If so, where did you obtain that lead—a referral, a seminar, convention, or by taking new visitor to a “lunch & learn?” Your best customers’ history can provide a wealth of knowledge that will help you decide how to go after similar markets. While you may not be able to identify all of the ideal prospects, you will be close enough to make some impacts with those you might not have identified as potential customers—ultimately making a difference in your results.

Now that you have identified your target market and know which products or services you are going to advertise, you need to develop a campaign that uses different marketing disciplines. We call this multi-channel marketing, and it can be very effective in getting your message out to your target audience. Remember, it takes multiple “touches” to gain a prospect’s interest. Multi-channel marketing strategies require that you use different methods and types of media in promoting your product or service to your target market.

Each time a prospective customer sees a promotional piece about your company or service through a different medium, it reinforces your message and brand. This helps to increase the number of responses. The more you promote and get the message out, the more touches you get and ultimately a greater number of responses or leads will start funneling in. To increase visibility, begin with these examples of multi-channel marketing:

  • Website
  • Social media
  • Journal advertising
  • Direct mail
  • E-newsletters and printed newsletters
  • Email blasts

By incorporating different methods or marketing channels, you are able to get your message to those who may not use a form of social media, for example, or those who do not respond to e-mail blasts. There are other methodologies that companies use to get their message or brand out to their market. Some laboratories use signage or “wraps” on delivery vehicles. Others might tie in with dental groups promoting implants or other types of services, such as cosmetics using television, radio, or newspaper advertisements. Some of these might be limited in certain states, so make sure you check with your state’s local regulatory groups if you decide to go directly to patients.

If you use your website as an integral part of your marketing campaign, remember to answer some key and vital questions in your strategy:




  • Is my site search engine optimized?








  • Will we use “landing pages” for a response mechanism?








  • What will we use to drive potential customers to our website?








  • How will prospects become aware of our website?








  • Will we provide follow-up literature to inquiries?








  • Does our website have e-mail and/or literature request sign-up capabilities?








  • Who can we designate to follow-up on leads quickly and completely?


    Hitting your target market is not a science. It is a matter of hard work and a lot of research. Your success directly depends on developing a sound plan and strategy for your campaign. After all, if you are going to spend the money, why not ensure that you hit your target market more effectively?

    About the Author

    Bill Neal, CDT, is the founder of AMG Creative, Inc., in Fort Collins, Colorado.


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