When is it most important to invest in marketing your practice: in an up economy or in a down economy?
The answer is yes.
It’s always a good time to keep your marketing strong—that is, if you want a sustainable and competitive business. When the economy is good, you can build Top-of-Mind-Awareness (TOMA) that can sustain you and even out revenue fluctuations when the inevitable dips and recessions come.
During the “Great Recession” of 2008, businesses that had relied mainly on word-of-mouth and did not invest in marketing their brand were the first to fail. Those businesses that survived came out of the Recession with stronger Brand Equity and a larger share of the market.
The same holds true during the current pandemic-induced recession. The opportunity to position one’s practice for a robust return to business finds its fulfillment in smart marketing; smart marketing calls for engaging the services of experts specializing in dental marketing to help navigate you through the tough times.
Down times present a rare opportunity to have your message fairly shout, as competition for that TOMA is almost non-existent. Marketing is the first thing many businesses pull when revenue goes down, even though doing so is a classic mistake. There is no better time to set your business up for a jump in market share.
David Ogilvy, the “Father of Advertising,” said, “Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals.” Now is not the time to bunt; as any good marketing “coach” will tell you, now is the time to set your stance to knock it out of the park.
Dr. Brad Bynum and his wife Vicki, of North Valdosta Dental Care in Valdosta, Georgia know well the wisdom of investing in their marketing.
In the early days of their practice, the Bynums relied largely on a network of acquaintances. “Shortly after we got our start, a fellow dentist said, ‘if you need patients, I’ll give you some,'” according to Brad.
Times change; communities grow; competitive environments evolve, and word-of-mouth alone doesn’t suffice. By 1991, the Bynums made their first foray into marketing when they had stationery printed and placed newspaper ads. So began a journey that would teach them valuable lessons about how to use various media and strategies to grow their business.
These years of experience with marketing their practice served the Bynums well in good times, as well as leaner periods, including during the current pandemic.
“The Bynums stayed the course through the Great Recession,” says RAMP Results Vice President, Joe Barton. “They continue to stay the course now, during the COVID-19 crisis. You have to stay smart and stay active, especially when others are putting on the brakes.”
As they have for years, through the 2008-2010 Recession and after the shutdown began, the Bynums have had a go-to when the market gets cold.
“We call up Joe for his insights; he knows what works and what doesn’t. He can research and determine why our numbers are low,” says Brad. “Last year, when new patient acquisition fell dramatically, and our Pay-per-Click results dropped, we knew why and what to do about it.”
In addition to having their marketing agency track their analytics, the Bynums track referral sources in the office. “We have a form we give new patients asking for each and every way they’ve heard about us, including a checklist of every marketing medium we use.”
The Internet has been the biggest source of referrals over the last five years for the Bynums; tracking online leads and responding informs their overall marketing strategy has been invaluable in continually refining their strategy for best results.
While competitors were pulling back on their marketing, the Bynums were pressing in, working closely with their marketing professional to minimize the impact of the coronavirus shutdown and set themselves up for a strong and sustainable recovery.
Author: Kelly John Walker is Senior Writer and Editor with Strategic Dentistry, the parent company of DOCS Education. He holds a Master of Science (MS) degree in Environmental Science from New Mexico State University and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English Composition.