Hooked on Classics by Angela Weber

Categories: Marketing;
Hooked on Classics 

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 media channels?.

Before anyone can answer appropriately, a few things need to happen.

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.

Outdoor advertising
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 programming at our fingertips than ever before. During the past year, Americans tuned 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.

Direct mail
It’s reported that direct mail has 2%–3% response 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?

Author Bio
Author Angela Weber is the chief marketing officer for OrthoSynetics, leading a team dedicated to developing and implementing cutting-edge strategies and solutions for clients in the orthodontic and dental industries. Weber has more than 15 years of experience in the advertising industry, with a knowledge of current and past trends, philosophies and strategies for marketing within the health care industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University and an MBA from the University of New Orleans.
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