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Inside Dental Technology
June 2012
Volume 3, Issue 6

Mix it up!

Add new strategies to your current marketing plan for even better results.

By Bill Neal, CDT

Just as fast as CAD/CAM technologies have changed dentistry and dental laboratory technology, new tools such as the Internet, social media, and one-to-one marketing have changed how companies are marketing the products they make. What used to work well 2 to 3 years ago is not as effective in today’s marketplace.

Every time the author thinks about the changes taking place in dentistry and then looks at what is happening in the world of marketing communications, he is reminded about a very good book published in 1998 by Spencer Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese? This is a great story that applies perfectly to what is happening in the business world today. The story centers around two mice and two “little people” who live in a maze. Both groups happen upon a cheese-filled corridor. The humans, content with their find, become dependent on the cheese supply and return each day to feast. But as the cheese supply dwindles and eventually runs out, the humans stubbornly continue to visit the cheese station convinced a new ration will appear while the mice strike out on a risky mission to find a new cheese station. It is a story about change in one’s work and life and how to adapt to change successfully. You will come away with a better understanding of what you can do to try and transform negative changes into positive advantages.

For dental laboratories, some of the allegorical “cheese” has moved offshore, and some of the “cheese” is being manufactured in a different way. CAD/CAM represents a huge shift in how we do business as laboratories. Many laboratories are still stuck using conventional technology and are unwilling to change. On the same note, some laboratories are reluctant to change marketing strategies to get better results.

In the world today, as in the book, the story is about change. In the dental and marketing world, change is happening and we cannot sit back and hope things will get better. We need to be creative and motivated and take a few risks because things will not return to where they were a few years ago. The change is permanent, and we all have to be prepared to either go with it or sit back and watch our own businesses suffer.

This month we want to explore some different ideas or “twists” to marketing your products and services. Below are ten ways to mix up your marketing ideas that will help you in your efforts:

1. Text marketing—Younger generations such as Gen-X and Gen-Y are more involved in “texting” and this might be a good way to reach younger potential customers.

2. Referral rewards—The allure today is that some outsource or offshore laboratories have not moved into this area. Create some customer loyalty.

3. Triggered e-mails—Send an e-mail that offers a value proposition such as a free report or includes an offer unrelated to an inquiry on your website or landing page. E-mail addresses can be obtained by making it a requirement when logging on to your website to receive an offer or coupon.

4. Do what your competition isn’t doing—Watch what your best competitors are doing. Maybe they have
left something out which might be an opening for you. Do it ethically. (Remember though, it is best to sell your strengths and not bring out any weaknesses of your competition.)

5. Host events—This is still one of the best ways to get your prospects’ attention. Make it worthwhile and promote through multiple channels.

6. KISS—Remember this term? Keep It Simple Stupid! Messaging needs to be consistent and brief—especially when using the Internet and social media platforms.

7. Ask your customers what they want—Consider using different social media such as texting, e-newsletters, and e-mails. Ask your customers how they want to interact with your company.

8. Conduct a survey—Done correctly, brief surveys can bring you a load of valuable information. For tips on conducting surveys, visit:

9. Use QR codes—In use by some companies over the last year, they still have a place when done right. These are the little boxes with funny lines and angles that when scanned with a QR code reader on your smartphone, you are taken to a website or video.

10. Use “microsites” or miniature stand-alone websites—Relatively inexpensive to set up, they can be targeted to specific audiences without compromising the main corporate website.

Use new vehicles in combination with other marketing channels, and you will become more successful in your marketing efforts. If you take nothing else away after reading this, just buy the book, Who Moved My Cheese? You will then have a better understanding of how the world is changing, and by mixing it up and using some new marketing twists, you can find ways to more effectively reach your customers and potential clients.

About the Author

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

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