I’ve been in dentistry for 15 years.
Now that I say that… it seems like a long time for something that started out as “temporary.”
It began when I accepted an office manager position with a practice management company. The owner was a family friend and my wife and I had just moved to Columbus, Ohio. From there I moved into their event department running all the continuing education courses throughout the year and finally ended up as the marketing director. I loved marketing. In fact, the owner of the company entertained the idea of starting a marketing division because he knew how much I enjoyed it.
I began speaking at CE events on marketing. I began consulting clients and helping dental practices put together marketing plans. The conversations would go something like this:
Me: “If I were you, this is what I would do next year for marketing.”
Client: “This is great. Who can do this?”
Me: “Well… there’s Company X, Company Y and Company Z.” (insert the top three, most well known dental marketing companies here)
However, the end result was always the same. The process always took longer, cost more and the creative result wasn’t good. That’s when I realized that the dental marketing industry sucked.
There’s quite a few major problems when it comes to dental marketing companies. Let’s talk about a few:
(1) They are dreadfully unresponsive. I weekly talk to doctors who tell me that when they send their website company updates, it typically takes a month (or more!) to get them done. No where else is this acceptable. So why do we put up with it in dentistry?
(2) The creative is ridiculously deficient. I didn’t go to school for dentistry, but to me, the profession is inspiring. It’s beautiful. It’s innovative. Why do dental marketing companies not portray this? I’ll NEVER understand the use of stock photography and dancing extracted molar logos.
(3) The investment lacks transparency. I routinely analyze marketing plans and I can tell you that the average million dollar practice is spending about $30,000 a year in marketing. I can also tell you that in most cases, the doctor usually doesn’t know where it’s being spent and rarely feels good about it. I’ve seen too many companies hide behind the veil of “mystery” and “complexity” to cover their poor performance.
As I got deeper and deeper into the dental marketing world, one thing became glaringly obvious, the whole thing was broken.
So… I decided to become a marketing consultant. I began traveling the country helping practices put together confident marketing plans that they could understand and feel great about. If there was one thing that practice management company instilled in me, it was the value of profitability. It’s extremely simple: if you’re going to invest $30,000 a year into your business, it ought to give you a measurable return.
And then I started a dental marketing company. I pulled together a group of non-dental-world friends and we began designing brands, building websites and executing the strategies that I was talking about with clients. To this day, we’ve never hired anyone from within the dental marketing community. It’s important to me that they bring fresh eyes to the group. It’s an extremely talented team. I can honestly say that there are quite a few that I would consider “genius” level at what they do. Every week I’m honored to work with them.
We all decided that we would find the good and the true and the beautiful in our corner of the world and we would tell those stories. The world needs more beautiful stories. We all need more good and true. And I found that dentistry has so many of them. I’m convinced that 99% of people cannot see the amazing story right in front of them because they’re too close to it. The day to day grind obscures the view. We can step back and see the big picture at 30,000 feet. At that elevation, the “story.” becomes clear.
Let me wrap up this article with a confession: I never planned on being in the dental industry. I literally fell into it. But this has been my path and I’ve fallenin love with it along the way.
If you’ve been a part of this journey over the last few years, I just want to say thanks. Thanks for your attention. Thanks for listening. Thanks for your support. If you’re finding this for the first time, I hope it resonates with you. Whether or not we ever work together, let’s agree to tell more stories that are good and true and beautiful.