For many, marketing exists in its own bubble. We might know it’s an important part of our business, but it’s a self-contained entity – tucked away “over there” in the sales and marketing department. There are those who do marketing, and those who do not.
The influential thinker Peter Drucker neatly summed up the pitfalls of this approach when he said:
“Marketing is so basic that it is not just enough to have a strong sales department and to entrust marketing to it. Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialised activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final result, that is from the customer’s point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must therefore permeate all areas of the enterprise.”
To really crack this issue, we need to redefine what we think of as marketing. Social media, Google Ads, brochures, websites; yes, they’re all forms of marketing, but it can also be more subtle. Phone calls, in-person conversations and the experience of your brand world are all just as important, and all worthy of consideration.
This is because fundamentally, marketing is about communication – in its many forms. It can be written or verbal, but it can also be subconscious. Even things like ambience, layout, and dress communicate messages to us. To repeat Drucker, marketing encompasses the entire business because it’s the business as seen from the customer’s point of view. Everyone in your practice is a part of this experience, from receptionists taking calls to cleaning staff maintaining the environment, to dental nurses, to the dentists themselves.
As a business leader, it’s your responsibility to make sure that everyone in your practice knows your marketing objectives and targets, along with your brand values, purpose and positioning. This doesn’t mean that you won’t still have a specific marketing team or staff member to handle things like overarching planning and day-to-day tasks, but a shared marketing mindset, regardless of role, is key. It’s only when team members are aware of your goals, that they can help you to reach them.
Sometimes, practice owners might feel that their marketing efforts simply aren’t working – those goals aren’t being met. However, when we look into this, we often find that there’s an issue within the sales journey; perhaps leads are being generated, but then dropping off because initial enquiries aren’t dealt with appropriately. Your marketing may be doing the job, but it’s up to your whole team to maintain the momentum and create a consistent experience from one stage to another.
As I’ve written before, everything a patient is exposed to should ideally feel complementary to your brand and everything else it does. So, if you’re running a specific social media campaign, it’s crucial that your team is ready and waiting to service that demand. If not, it’s a bit like directing keen shoppers towards a closed store; naturally, they’ll turn away (feeling a little more bitter for the experience) and go elsewhere. Insincerity, with marketing making hollow promises, is a sure-fire way to alienate your targets.
Within dentistry, and especially private dentistry, customers want to feel value and to feel valued. The way they’re treated builds trust: if an experience is seamless and embodies professionalism, they’ll assume that you must know what you’re doing, and therefore trust you more. And with marketing’s ultimate goal being to get and retain customers, trust is a key step towards success.
Leaders are the ones to get a team engaged and motivated when it comes to marketing. It’s in everyone’s interests to know about it and support it, because this will ultimately generate revenue to grow the practice and create more opportunities for its staff. Staff buy-in and collaboration therefore make a real difference to how effective marketing campaigns can be. If your team knows why they’re prompting patients to complete reviews, taking photos of smiling patients post treatment, or asking for video testimonials, they’ll be much happier to do so. Here, they can see the bigger picture, and see the benefits that this will bring to the practice.
Of course, getting more people involved in discussions around marketing will naturally prompt more input and opinions, and some of these might be negative or challenging. However, this is all part of creating a marketing mindset, which will also lead to positive customer experiences, more efficient working, and – importantly – even more ideas for ways forward.
If you’d like help with setting out your brand or marketing strategy, or if you think you’d benefit from speaking with a management consultant, get in touch.