Many of our clients’ questions are documented in this Frequently Asked Questions section, but if you don’t find an answer please contact us.
What kind of marketing works best for dental practices?
If every practice was exactly the same, this would be an easy question to answer. One thing RAMP has learned from planning hundreds of dental marketing campaigns is that every practice is different, and every geographic area is different. Dozens of variables have to be evaluated in order to determine what will work best for each individual office.
A “big city” doctor making most of his income from doing large cosmetic cases on forty-year-old white collar men in his two-operatory no-hygienist practice has a very specific agenda. He doesn’t want the same marketing strategy as a thirty-year-old recent graduate who partnered in a small town scratch practice with six operatories and 75% of new patients coming from blue-collar families with the same dental plan.
How do the RAMP media buyers pick radio and TV stations?
Media buying is executed based upon a number of factors that include a host of quantitative and qualitative demographic statistics. Our personal opinions about the station’s programming are irrelevant. Independent agencies like RAMP are not aligned with any particular station or station group. As an agency, we have no incentive to pick one station over another. We pick the station that will give our client the best ROI. Period.
Why are some radio advertising “packages” cheaper than others?
Sometimes a more expensive package is actually the better value. It’s important to compare apples to apples. Some bargain “packages” air your commercials primarily on nights and weekends. This is a serious problem for an advertiser, since 80% of the audience listens during the 6am-7pm prime time weekday hours. If you analyze the details, you’ll see that the more expensive morning drive commercial actually reaches more people per dollar than the “cheap” spot at 10pm on Sunday. Similarly, that $20 cable commercial doesn’t seem like a great deal when it airs after midnight on the Backgammon Network. RAMP’s media buyers, and those of other reputable advertising agencies, help clients to spend their budgets efficiently instead of looking for the cheapest spots available.
Shouldn’t I just buy the “biggest” station?
Of course size matters, but you don’t have to be in the newspaper with the biggest circulation or on the most popular radio station in town. The number of times your message is in front of the audience is just as, or even more important than the number of people you reach each time. Very often, the medium with the biggest audience is prohibitively expensive, so the average dental office is hard-pressed to advertise with much frequency. We’d rather reach 10% of the community with a solid, repeated message than attempt to influence 100% with sporadic efforts.
Why are you recommending a station that nobody listens to?
Usually, when we hear this, we know the doctor and his team are really saying, “we don’t listen to that station”. RAMP uses the Neilson rating system, which provides extremely detailed information about thousands of radio and TV stations across the nation. These statistics are a much more reliable gauge of the market than the affinities of a particular office. If a station reaches enough of the target audience – that’s the station we want. Whether we personally like the music the station plays is irrelevant.
How many commercials do I need?
It’s important to get out of the “how many spots” mindset. It’s not about number of spots – it’s about effectiveness. The number of commercials, known in the industry as spots, a practice needs to run can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors. Ten spots in Detroit are not comparable to ten spots in Bismarck. Fifteen spots on the highest rated station in town are often incomparable to fifteen spots on a low-rated station. Beware of any formulas that you hear from “experts” that make it all sound very simple. If it were as easy as, “run fifteen spots a week on the highest rated station”, then that’s what everyone would do, and everyone would be wildly successful. There is no cookie-cutter solution.
Why do I need marketing professionals? Why can’t I market the practice myself?
There’s no reason why you couldn’t handle your own marketing as long as you have plenty of extra time on your hands. For that matter, there’s no reason that you couldn’t do your own taxes, repair your own car, shingle the roof of your house, and handle all the hygiene patients in your practice. You are smart enough and physically able to handle all of these chores. The real question you need to ask is whether you are the right person for the job. To answer this, you must ask:
- How will I decide what media delivers the best results (TV, radio, print, web, yellow pages, etc)?
- If there are competitors in the industry (more than one radio station in your market, for instance) how will I decide which one will be best for me?
- How will I know if I’m being quoted a good price for the advertising?
- How will I know how much to spend?
- What exactly should I say in my advertisements?
- And then, most importantly: Is learning, planning, negotiating, buying and monitoring my marketing the absolute best use of my time?
A dentist is most productive when he or she is practicing dentistry. The efficient dentist realizes this and tries to spend as much time as possible working on patients. It makes sense then, to maximize your available operatory time by letting professionals run your marketing campaign.