In a postpandemic era, traditional marketing options are seeing renewed interest
by Angela Weber
Orthodontists love bouncing ideas off each other, but it’s
important to keep in mind that a peer’s “tried and true”
media mix and budget isn’t necessarily your recipe for success.
In other words, what works in Tulsa doesn’t necessarily
work in Tampa. Seems obvious, but there are quite a few
orthodontists swapping notes and unintentionally wasting
each other’s money.
A question that is coming up more frequently: Should
I focus all of my marketing on digital and skip traditional
Before anyone can answer appropriately, a few things need
First is a deep dive into the data you have within your
own practice management software system. Pull a referral
report from the past 12 months and compare it to the
previous period. What marketing efforts are yielding the
most new patient consults? What trends are appearing?
More importantly, is your team even tracking this
information? The data is only as good as what is entered
into the system. Also, pull a ZIP code report for the same
time periods. Is there a shift in where your patients are
coming from? Is there a new growth opportunity or drive
market to penetrate?
Second, do a market analysis. Online demographic
and psychographic research helps you identify who will
buy your services and why. Psychographics research helps
uncover a target’s buying styles, motivations and attitudes.
It also provides insight on a consumer segment’s media
preferences such as radio, print and email. Having this
type of data helps a practice develop marketing plans with
media channels that are proven to work for their core
consumer groups. Also, take a moment to meet with your
current patients to do a little first-hand research and learn
more about why they chose your practice, what stands out
to them, etc.
Once you have that information, you’ll have a better
idea of what’s needed for your practice’s marketing mix.
can tell you that digital marketing is an important
part of all practice marketing plans; sometimes it’s
the lion’s share of the budget, sometimes it’s not. The
most important thing for a practice to do is to create
a marketing plan that focuses on three things: brand
awareness, engagement and lead generation. A plan that
accomplishes all of these things well typically includes
traditional media tactics..
Traditional media isn’t dead, but it is going through a
bit of a recalibration phase. Recent data says consumers—
especially those in large cities—are experiencing “digital
fatigue” because of the pandemic, so don’t count out
nondigital options for marketing your practice.
Keep reading to learn specific facts about the five most
popular traditional marketing options in the industry.
The pandemic has brought
growth to this traditional
advertising channel. If
you are purchasing space
on a vinyl billboard,
your message can never
be turned off, skipped
or muted, so it’s always
on to capture consumers
24/7. Key takeaways from
a recent report on outdoor advertising: Consumers have become
more receptive to outdoor advertising, because they’re growing
increasingly tired of looking at their smartphones; 45% say they are
noticing outdoor ads more than before the pandemic began; 70% of
respondents will be commuting to work at least part time.
Last year, radio
ad spend dropped
significantly, but as
the world returns
back to “normal,”
radio is expected
to bounce back. AM/FM radio reaches more than
nine out of every 10 adults each week, and 95% of
Hispanic adults. During the past year, radio was a
channel that people tuned into for information and
updates related to the pandemic. Big brands still rely
on radio to get messages out and sales up.
There is more
our fingertips than
ever before. During
the past year,
into TV more than
the previous year.
There was a 77% increase in daily TV time, and evening
news viewership increased as well. However, along with
these increases in broadcast and cable came dramatic
increases in streaming services, which are expected to
have a 45.7% user penetration in 2021. TV can still
be great for brand awareness in midsized markets, but
do your research and get Nielsen ratings to see what
programming resonates with your target audience to
make the most of your budget.
Print is an avenue to reach
a specific audience through
local niche publications.
Print remains compelling,
memorable and engaging
for some consumer groups.
Why? Because humans are tactile creatures, and most print
readers are less distracted than online readers. According to a
study, 82% of internet users in the United States trust print
advertising more than digital marketing.
It’s reported that
direct mail has
rate when sending to an uncurated mailing list. Direct
mail is reported to have a lifespan of 17 days, whereas
an email has a lifespan of a few seconds. Longer
lifespans are typically tied to higher consumer recall.
If you are going to send a direct mail piece, it needs
to have a clear message and a strong call to action.
It’s worth the investment to buy a targeted list, so it’s
getting into the right consumers’ hands.
If you’re an orthodontist who has an interest in
marketing, it can be tempting to always go “all in” on
the next trend or new platform, but keep in mind that
marketing is an industry that’s always changing. There are
new distribution channels, platform updates and sweeping
regulations—hello, death of third-party cookies!—that
need to be kept up with and understood, so chasing the
latest trend can end up costing you way too much time
and money. Do your research—or enlist the help of a
marketing company that specializes in such information.
So, should you spend all of your marketing budget on
digital? It depends. Are you Tulsa or Tampa?