Letter P

Here are some resources to get you serious about marketing your dental practice

June 24, 2019
Marketing is important, and it's not easy for dental practices. But the 7 Ps of marketing can help guide you in the right direction.
Chris Salierno, DDS, Chief Editor, Dental Economics

As the owner of your small business, you should be ultimately responsible for making marketing decisions. Whether you’re running a simple social media campaign or working with a marketing agency to place ads in local media, you should be aware of how your practice is being represented and how effectively you’re connecting with potential patients.

To that end, I would like to help you become familiar with a wildly popular strategy in the marketing world—the 4 Ps of marketing. During the past few decades it’s been expanded to the 7 Ps (more on that later) so many folks simply refer to this framework as the marketing mix. This is a link to the Wikipedia page so you can get into the gory details, but I’ll share the broad brushstrokes here.

When a business wants to make a potential customer aware of its products, it must consider:

1. Product—Is this actually something people want to buy? What motivates someone to buy it?

2, Place (distribution)—Where can people buy the product, and is it convenient?

3. Promotion—What channels will best reach the target customer? What messaging works best?

4. Price—How much is a customer willing to pay? What are competitors charging?

The 4 Ps were expanded to 7 Ps to better represent the needs of the service industry, which sells largely intangible products rather than physical goods.

5. People—How are the team members who are providing the service trained?

6. Process—What are the systems that allow team members to deliver services to customers?

7. Physical evidence—How do the equipment, interior design, and workspace influence the service delivery?

Again, I’ve discussed this with broad brushstrokes. If I’ve piqued your interest, I recommend reading this overview from Medium.com. You may also want to check out this 2017 study on the 7 Ps that appeared in the Journal of Oral Health and Dental Management.

For me, a big takeaway at this level is that there is a heck of a lot more to marketing than just telling our patients that we’re open for business and that we offer fillings and crowns. For example, imagine if your website says you deliver outstanding customer service, but your receptionist answers the phone by blurting, “Doctors’ office.” That isn’t just bad phone etiquette; it’s a marketing meltdown. We’re in the service industry (the health-care service, but still service), so we had better not ignore the fifth, sixth, and seventh Ps.

If you’re ready to get really serious about marketing, I highly recommend you join us next month for the Dental Economics Principles of Practice Management conference in Norfolk, Virginia. We’ll have a marketing panel with Dr. Josh Austin and Graig Presti on Day 1, as well as a lecture on social media and online marketing from Dr. Lou Shuman on Day 2.




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