By Luc Wade, Marketing Director at Hive Business.
I bet you’ve noticed that the balance of power between brands and consumers has been shifting for a while now.
It used to be that brands had the upper hand, deciding on the messages they wanted to communicate and the channels of communication. Their efforts and budgets mostly focused on creating big moments to shine that built awareness.
For the consumer, the decision pathway was one dimensional, time consuming and limited by lack of information, accessibility and choice. This set up persisted in dentistry for longer than in most other service industries for a variety of reasons I won’t go into here.
But now, everything has changed. There has been a seismic shift of power to the consumer, who has almost infinite access to information, product choice and provider selection at their fingertips. Even, at last, in dentistry.
The consumer’s route to a purchase is now rarely characterised by a few big, well orchestrated moments. Instead, many small interactions unite to determine success. What happens is in the moment, on demand, and these ‘micro-moments’ have become very important.
Because like it or not, today people are all but tethered to their smartphones. When a need arises — to gather information, to research a product, to check the best price, to find the nearest location, to ask for recommendations or whatever our need is at that precise moment — we can scratch the itch immediately, serve the impulse with ease, wherever we are, on demand.
This change in consumer behaviour means dental business owners need to reframe their strategies and embrace the micro-moment.
Marketing channels are now ‘blended’ as customers use any and all touch points to learn, discover, research and ultimately buy. It’s no longer about online and bricks and mortar, but a well integrated ‘one brand, many channels’ strategy serving a singular purpose.
We have seen that word of mouth and traditional advertising can lead to an online search. Therefore your site must be compelling, with useful and easy to digest insights into the service and experiences available. Or the visitor will move on to the next result.
In a sector where the opportunities for growth often mean stealing market share from your competitors, I believe this component — a compelling website — is particularly important to the success of your dental practice.
With an abundance of choice, the only way to break away from all the noise and the generic, stale messaging is to push to higher levels of relevance and remarkability. Your value propositions are going to have to rise above a sea of mediocrity, so that you can deliver a story that demands to be told.
The ‘winning’ dentists that we know are making headway on some of these elements. The others haven’t yet grasped the extent to which immediacy — a consumer’s immediate apprehension of their brand values and story, with easy on demand access to relevant information and insights — is redefining their environment.
So I task you with owning the micro-moments. It’s less about newspaper ads. It is not about a leaflet door drop, or a send and hope email newsletter, and it certainly isn’t about a one size fits all, generic website that lacks identity.
The bigger thing here is how all these elements combine. They have to blend into a singularity of purpose. That’s simply how the world of B2C commerce is now, it’s how consumers understand the brands they buy into. And they are willing and able to buy into your brand if you make it easy for them.
Every channel has a role to play in creating better micro-moments, but blending is the key enabler in your customer journey. If you would like to talk about a blended marketing strategy, please get in touch on 01872 300232 or email us at [email protected].