Successful radio marketing can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Every successful campaign will share certain things in common, including a strong message, a responsive audience and an appropriate budget and frequency. But your market may dictate subtle yet important differences between your campaign and your equally successful colleague in another radio market. Failure to recognize the idiosyncrasies of your market may lead to a painful and expensive learning curve.

The savvy dental marketer will recognize that every market is different. Make sure that you respond to the unique circumstances of your market, and make appropriate decisions for your campaign.

At RAMP we discovered that the major media markets were not producing radio patients for our clients as consistently as the smaller markets. This was a frequency issue, which means we weren’t able to buy enough commercials to make an impact. We created co-op campaigns in the biggest market to address that challenge.

All the frequency in the world won’t help if you’re not addressing an appropriate audience, but selecting a station is not always easy. Some areas of the country have very strong talk-radio audiences, which have responded well to our sedation dentistry message. But studies have shown that talk-radio is not as strong in every market, and that a music format is more efficient. Each practice should make buying decisions within the context of their own market’s demographics.

State regulation has become a major issue for DOCS members because this often directly affects the message of the commercial. RAMP has responded to the changing regulations around the country in a number of ways. A dentist who is limited to anxiolysis in his practice should probably not use the word “sedation” in his advertisements. The legality of this varies from state to state, but even where it is legal, the word may cause more problems than it’s worth.
Similarly, we always recommend against anyone using the word “sleep”. The impact of the word is not worth the negative attention it generates. An anonymous “concerned citizen” in the Port St. Lucie area notifies the Florida board every time they see or hear a sedation ad. We’ve seen similar activity from other “concerned citizens” in a dozen markets over the last three years. Make sure you know the regulations of your own state.

Our clients who strictly practice anxiolysis, whether temporarily or permanently, use other words to get the message across. They describe an anxiety-free experience, as opposed to a sedation visit. It’s not uncommon for one of our clients to use an “anxio” message in their marketing while they are getting the training and permits that they need to follow a conscious sedation protocol. Once they have satisfied their state requirements, they switch to our traditional sedation language.

Similarly, we have adapted our commercials for some practices that employ both IV and oral sedation. These scripts describe how modern dentistry has options available for making patients comfortable, but don’t employ any “little blue pill” type language.

The local regulations should always be a starting point when you’re devising your message, then adjust the rest of the campaign until you get the results you’re looking for.