Dental Marketing Essential During a Recession

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In this survey, we found that almost 40% of dentists have increased marketing due to today’s dismal economic climate.

When we asked if their dental practices had yet taken any actions as a result of the current economy, 38% reported they had increased dental marketing, while 33% said they had cut spending and were tightening their belts. Only 8% said they weren’t doing anything, and 21% said they hadn’t done anything yet but were considering it.




Specialists were far more likely than general dentists to have cut spending across the board. General dental practitioners, on the other hand, are more likely to have increased their dental practice marketing efforts.

“I don’t want to get behind, so I will increase spending so that I don’t lose market share,” said one dentist.


Silver lining for dentists in stressful times?

  • “I am doing more crowns from people breaking their teeth due to stress! It compensates for the decrease in patient numbers.” (Indiana dentist)

It’s getting really bad out there

  • “I have been through a few of these downturns in 40 years, but never like this. I am afraid it's going to be a real nasty one this time.” (California dentist)
  • "The economy is scary! I have not taken a paycheck for two months, and I have a newborn
    and 3-year-old. Though I have kids to feed, it is all is going into external and Internal marketing!” (Illinois dentist)
  • "I got a HELOC just in case I need extra funds.” (Indiana dentist)
  • “No dental practice is recession-proof.” (Michigan dentist)

What can you do but increase dental practice marketing?

  • “I don't want to get behind, so I will increase spending so that I don't lose market share.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “It's a good idea to keep your name out there. An economic downturn does not mean people will not need dental implants and dental care!” (Alaska dentist)
  • “We know that marketing is more important in economic downtimes, so we will be increasing marketing budget on our website, print advertising, and direct mail." (California periodontist)
  • “We have a pretty big expense at present on advertising. We don't really want to spend more, but we need to keep the flow of patients. Damned if we do, and damned if we don't!” (Florida dentist)

You have to spend both more and less

  • “We have reduced spending and increased marketing.” (California endodontist)
  • “We have actually done both, tightened our belts and increased our marketing.” (Ohio dentist)
  • “We’re reducing labor costs (no more overtime and split shifts for assistants). No equipment purchases for now. Increasing marketing to current patients. Not reducing outside advertising, but not starting anything new.” (Oklahoma dentist)

Don’t overdo dental practice advertising

  • "Dentistry is mostly elective in nature. People will still buy, but based on their perceived need, not our need to sell them treatments.” (Virginia dentist)
  • “We have not seen a dip, blip, or bump or change in our ability to get the ‘yes’ responses. If you are focused on health issues, get the patient involved in self-discovery AFTER finding out what matters most to them and meet the patient where they ARE, and the rest is a piece of cake. 1 dr, 2 hyg, 1 asst, 1 admin…2.4M for 2008 projected on a 35hr work week (30hrs patient care). NOT BUYING TO THE ECONOMY ISSUE SO WE PRESENT BASED ON THE ABOVE WITH OVER AN 90% ACCEPTANCE RATE.” (Texas dentist)

Mixed results

  • “We increased our marketing in January and were pleased with the results, until the third quarter, when sub-prime hell broke loose in our area. New patient count is too low to warrant the advertising cost these past two months, but what's the alternative? Got to keep your name out there.” (California dental office worker)
  • “We are just a little behind where we were last year at this time. However, we did raise fees about two months ago, and we have not really seen any increase in our numbers. I expect this quarter to be lower than last year, and we will end the year about 12% down from last year.” (California dentist)

Internal marketing: Go after your patients

  • “We have reviewed all of our charts to reactivate patients who haven't been in for a while. Also, we are asking patients that have been lost in the periodontists’ periodontal maintenance programs to come back to us every 3 months. (Our hygienists are also perio hygienists part-time.) Why do our patients referred to perio for implants or specific surgeries get pulled into their perio maint. programs out of ours?” (Minnesota dentist)

 

Note: Survey sample included 105 respondents.

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