Creating a Predictive Marketing Strategy

"Hope" is NOT a Marketing Strategy!!

Today's agile dental practices implement certain marketing strategies, whether they are adding to their product/service line or adding new distribution channels. When marketing managers implement marketing strategies on their own volition, they are using proactive marketing. However, if some dynamic occurs in the dental industry like a competitive price change or the introduction of new technology (i.e., in-house dental mills, diode lasers, etc.) marketing professionals may need to use reactive marketing to ward off potential negative effects on their production and profits.


In reality, most dental practices use a combination of both proactive and reactive marketing. Proactive marketing is highly common when a product or procedure is new, because there is little or no competition. The bellwether provider entering the industry is making all of the marketing decisions or being proactive. However, because of its success, competitors gradually enter the market, mostly following similar plans of action. Consequently, the reactive marketing is on the part of the new competitors.


Over time, as the product/procedure becomes established, the industry leader occasionally needs to change his/her marketing strategy as more competitors become established providers in the delivery of the product/procedure. For example, one provider may be trying to establish itself as the service leader, increasing its dental implant offerings. Astute marketers for the industry leader expect some of these moves in advance, and are more proactive in expanding their own production capacity. Then the industry leader eventually needs to employ various reactive marketing strategies, especially if competing providers try to target the leader's patients.


Besides competition, there are other factors that influence whether a provider needs to be more proactive or reactive with his/her marketing. The economy can have an impact on a practice's marketing decisions. For example, a prolix (drawn out) recession may force a small, single practitioner office of premium and high-priced cosmetic dentistry to lower prices, a reactive marketing move. Additionally, a practice's advertising may be deemed by regulatory officials to be misleading, which forces the provider to change his/her advertising, a reactive marketing decision. Contrarily, a sudden influx of available resources may enable a provider to lower his/her prices, a proactive marketing move. Other factors that can influence proactive and reactive marketing decisions include regulatory, UCR, and technological changes.


There are times when patient's actions can force a practice from more proactive marketing to reactive marketing. For example, a strong oral health movement can particularly affect the sales and profits of small dental practices that rely on SRP, fillings, and other restorative procedures. As a reactive marketing strategy, a provider may need to consider moving away from a fee-for-service model to an insurance dependent practice model. Eventually, when industry changes have settled, a practice can resume a more proactive marketing strategy to attract patients.


Providers hoping to increase their amount of proactive marketing relative to reactive marketing should engage a consultant familiar with markets, trends, and emerging best practices in regulatory affairs, reimbursement strategies and the latest diagnostic and treatment methods; a firm with the bandwidth capable of understanding your institutional context, sector dynamics, and macroeconomic environments. Performing a combination of industry study through secondary research reports and conducting patient satisfaction surveys will keep you well-informed about your particular niche' and patient needs.

Not sure if your practice is reacting to your competition? #weshouldtalk