It has become almost impossible today to pick up a dental journal, log onto Facebook, or attend a conference without “marketing” being a central topic of discussion. And this represents a significant turn of events for those of us who have been around dentistry for thirty or more years.
I have long made the argument that marketing was central to the support and advancement of a relationship-based/ health-centered practice, while others have implied that word-of-mouth was the only way to build a proper practice, and viewed the idea of using marketing to build and sustain a practice as somehow being sub-professional.
The thinking of this later group however has largely faded away along with the phone book, and as websites have taken its place. Suddenly, dentists had to publicly project an image – and suddenly they were overtly marketing their practice whether they liked doing it or not.
The distaste of overtly marketing has now been subsumed by “how” to best market instead of “should I”, and into that world, dentists have plunged, checkbooks and credit cards in-hand, throwing money around at anyone who claimed expertise is this area.
Is this doing anyone – particularly patients – any good?
Marketing can be defined in many ways, and that is likely why there is so much fog around the topic, but any valid definition should be centered around the concept of enhancing perceived value.
How does this happen? By first helping ourselves, and then others, to clarify values. And what does “clarify values” mean? It means making more thoughtful informed choices.
That which we greatly value, is by definition, important to us. And when we understand why we hold these values, we have completed an extremely sophisticated act of prioritization, and goal setting.
And that is your primary job as an ethical, health-centered marketer of your services – to help others make better choices about their healthcare which support what they want for themselves long-term.
At its finest, this type of marketing helps people clarify their values by encouraging them to concretely establish and act upon personal priorities. And in this respect, ethical health-centered marketing is the contrary to “selling”, which places upon one person the need to make choices for another person and to manipulatively gain their acceptance.
Ethical heath-centered marketing involves consultation, and clarification, THEIR active involvement in the decisions, and NO emotional manipulation.
So with this deeper understanding, how is your marketing strategy going? What outcomes do your marketing efforts consistently render out? And are your patients making better choices as a result?
Are most of your patients advancing their heath, or are you just looking for a new marketing guru to solve your production issues this year?
Paul A Henny, DDS
Thought Experiments LLC, ©2017
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