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Event Based Dental Marketing - Take Notes on This One

Jul 17, 2008
Targeting an audience is perhaps one of the most misused parts of direct marketing.

In surveys it has been shown that as much as 80% of consumers choose their health care providers (dentists included) by convenience of location. Basically, "is the practice convenient for me to get to?"

But other than location, there is a huge need for your services based not on demographics (age, income, etc.) but based on psychographics. In other words, how someone thinks based on a certain set of circumstances.

These circumstances can play right into your practice goals. There are certain times in a person's life where they will need cosmetic dentistry more than ever. The easiest way for you to assess these times of need are based on a person's life stages.

A life stage for someone is an event, a time in their life that they may experience only once or twice. Here is a list of some particular life events:

* Graduating high school.
* Planning for college.
* Buying a car.
* Getting out on your own.
* Renting a place.
* Finding a job.
* Getting married.
* Buying a home.
* Selling your home.
* Career change.
* Having a baby.
* Owning a small business.
* Planning for retirement.

There are plenty more life stages I could list, but for sake of being brief, the list above will serve as a good starting point. Later, you can brainstorm some more life events, and how and where to market to those people during those events.

In order to show how these life events can be useful as a marketing tool, let's take one or two of them and see how and where to market to these people at the proper time.

I'm going to choose two separate events that go relatively un-marketed, yet both represent a huge part of the current population, and they are very "persuadable."

High School Seniors -

If you don't know when high school seniors get their pictures taken, FIND OUT! Usually this is August or September of their senior year. Find out from a photographer around your area, and see if there is an opportunity to co-market.

This is one of the best times of the year to promote whitening and cosmetic services to a group of people who are going to experience the biggest accomplishment in their lives... High school graduation.

Now, I know you're already thinking, these people don't have money. And you are correct. I would be lying if I told you these were the richest people ever, but two very important factors are at work here:

Factor number one is the fact that everyone wants to look good in his or her senior pictures. This is a picture that they will be known for (until the next stage I will cover), and they can't have dull teeth or else their friends will shun them (death for a high school kid).

Factor number two is the money factor. Sure, these kids don't have money for your services, but who does... mommy and daddy. In fact, those that will care about their appearance the most, come from the families that have material goods, and disposable incomes.

Where to find them: There are plenty of ways to target this crowd. You can purchase lists like the ones military recruiters get. You can also look into advertising in the school paper.

The best option would be to team up with some photographers in your area to offer a "Senior Special." Referrals from this source can be great, especially in the sometimes-slow summer months. The students then can have beautiful pictures to remember for the rest of their lives, until...

Tying The Knot -

The next life event, and the one that leads to many jobs for photographers, is a wedding. Nothing has to be more perfect than a brides wedding day. (I think they start planning these things right after they start walking.)

There are so many moments to take pictures of during the wedding process. Engagement pictures, bridal shower, rehearsal, honeymoon, and especially the wedding ceremony itself.

No bride wants their teeth to be any less white than their wedding gown on this special day. It's not something that is in the forefront of their minds, but it can be with some simple marketing.

These people do have money to make this their perfect day. They also want to have the best wedding pictures known in the land. Every bride wants to be better and more beautiful than the last. This is a market you need to tap into.

Where do you find them? Well, there are quite a few places. Once again, the photographer is key. This is one of the first things a bride schedules when planning. If they can mention you, and how the bride needs to look, your dental services are a slam dunk. Wedding planners work too.

Bridal shows are another place to find a lot of people planning weddings. As with any trade-show, there is a cost involved, but if you take the correct steps, you will be able to create a list of high quality, focused brides, ready to make their smile the best it can be.

Engagement announcements are always in the paper. Make sure to look through them and see if there is a possibility you know someone that may be ready for your services. Also, promote your bridal package in your newsletter to your current patients. Everyone hears about a wedding, and it is nice to have everyone know you have a package available for his or her cause.

There, I have listed two of the many life stages almost everyone will go through. There are plenty more, but this should be a good start for you.

The next step is to sit down and brainstorm some important life events and how they could relate to some of your services.

Remember - the key to life stages is not to think of certain ages or incomes, just events. These events trigger needs and wants much more than, say, a persons 40th birthday.
About the Author
James Erickson is the President of EMC Dental Marketing which gives Dentists a resource for turn-key dental marketing programs and dental practice marketing education including new patient attraction, and internal marketing systems. Visit www.EMCdental.com and get a free practice
building kit sent directly to your home or office.
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