An investor’s guide to marketing success
An investor’s guide to marketing success
Slashing your marketing budget can result in a short-term gain but a long-term sacrifice. Instead, rethink your approach by taking an investor’s mindset to your marketing.
January 11, 2024

Dentistry has undoubtedly become a challenging environment. With changing consumer sentiment and escalating costs to contend with, some patients are seeking greater value and others are delaying treatment decisions for better times.

Alongside this, marketing costs have been climbing. We’ve found that the average cost per click in competitive areas, and for competitive treatments, is going up. And with disruptive market dynamics, such as changes to the minimum wage (which will have an unfortunate knock-on effect on wages across the board), margins may also be declining.

Overall, it’s a problematic picture. As a result, some practice owners may be considering cutting their marketing costs. On the face of it, this is an easy-win cost-saving solution – but is trimming your marketing spend a short-sighted approach?

In a word, yes. Instead of seeing marketing spend as purely a “spend”, it’s more helpful to adopt an investor’s mindset when it comes to your marketing activity. Eliminating inefficient spending and reinvesting the budget in more efficient marketing channels will create opportunities, grab market share from competitors, and grow revenues.

In contrast, a cost-cutting mindset delivers only short-term gains, which are more likely to backfire and lead to negative consequences later on.

Trimming your marketing may be tempting – after all, shouldn’t we assume that in tough or uncertain times, consumers don’t want to spend? In fact, I’d disagree. Despite the current macroeconomic uncertainty, consumer resiliency remains strong. Patients still have the intent to spend; you might be surprised to learn that many of our marketing clients have recently experienced record-breaking months.

So, I’d argue that marketing can be a key driver for success, if you:

  • Get your brand position right, so that people know you’re the practice to go to for the treatment they desire;
  • Continue to build awareness and digital visibility with a blended approach to digital marketing activity;
  • And importantly, deliver a ‘wow’ experience so that people are in no doubt they’ve chosen the right place for their treatment. This will increase conversion, and best of all, they’ll tell their peers. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth referrals.

Viewing marketing as investment

You can get more from your marketing budget and outgrow your competitors by taking an investor mindset view, with a more granular approach to your marketing spend.

This means cutting back where you may be overspending and investing more where there’s greater potential. Doing so essentially eliminates inefficient spending and allows you to reinvest those savings in more efficient efforts and targeted campaigns, which means you could add double-digit growth and create distance from your competitors.

Here, we share three ways to take an investor mindset towards your practice’s marketing.

1. Become financially rigorous about your spend

Aim to deeply understand how you’re spending your budget, and the impact that this has. Get granular to find the ‘bad revenue’ to cut, and then figure out where there are targeted pockets of growth that you can reinvest into. Doing so will allow you to quantify your marketing spend, demonstrate return on investment (ROI), and link marketing value to your business.

2. Make the best use of what you’ve got

Rethink ways to protect and stretch your marketing budget. This means becoming obsessive over your ROI and value creation, reshaping where and how your investments in marketing are being made. Best practice includes improving conversions throughout your sales journey and unlocking growth by rethinking key areas like call answering, patient referrals, the consultation process, and treatment planning (to name just a few).

3. Invest across the funnel

This can mean dramatically rethinking where you invest, while taking a creative approach more generally. Marketing is typically split in two. On one hand there’s brand building for awareness, driven by broad-reach advertising, while on the other, there’s data-driven performance marketing, such as that online ad for trainers that keeps following you around the internet. For many companies, this split inhibits growth and targeting opportunities, with many practices focusing too much on one side at the expense of the other. A blend of customer acquisition at the bottom of the funnel (short to medium term) and raising awareness at the top of the funnel (longer-term growth) is more successful at combining the power of both areas. Ultimately, this delivers higher returns than those approaches that target performance channels alone.

Getting started

To get started with rethinking your marketing, I’d recommend the following steps:

1. Diagnose. Assess where your practice stands across the three areas above: fuelling growth, doing more with what you have, and investing in profit drivers. Consider where you see the greatest opportunities for growth. Determine which areas are aligned with your current capabilities and define your priority areas for marketing investment.
2. Set a goal. Define marketing’s contribution to the business and the methodology for measuring it. This way, you’re approaching the marketing investment decision not as a cost, but as a business case that must be regularly evaluated and adjusted.
3. Build your plan. Define your top priorities, as well as the strategies and tactics you’ll use to achieve them. What will it take to reach your goals? This may mean rethinking the initiatives, resources and capabilities you need to succeed.

We’re here to help

If you’re short on time or lacking in the confidence to get serious about your marketing, it’s far better to ask for help. We regularly work with dental practices across everything from brand building and strategy to implementation and analysis. If you’d like support getting started, or think you’d benefit from a review of your existing marketing, get in touch for an initial conversation with our team.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Hive Business and does not constitute formal tax advice. Any tax outcomes will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future. You should seek specific advice before embarking on any course of action. Hive Business does not provide regulated Financial Advice, including advice on investment, insurance or lending products or their suitability for you. This article is provided for information only and does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact, or not transact, in any investment including Bitcoin and other crypto. Any use you wish to make of any information contained within this article is, therefore, entirely at your own risk.

By Luc Wade Marketing Director
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please get in touch.
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