Is 2013 the year to dispense with the idea of a marketing budget?

For some dental practices and other businesses, having a marketing budget can be too limiting. Whilst business planning and close financial control are vital, dispensing with the idea of a fixed marketing budget represents a fundamental change of thinking. Firstly, it starts with thinking of marketing as an investment, not a cost. That’s a mindset change.

So what is the alternative to setting a fixed marketing budget? Start by calculating the ‘lifetime value’ of your patients or customers, say over 3 years. Whether it’s a patient coming in regularly for routine treatment or a patient that has had some cosmetic work, braces or root canal treatment, practices should be able to calculate patient value over a period of time.

Then it’s a case of working out what you are prepared to spend to win each new patient or referral.  There are many industry stats banded around about the cost of acquiring new patients e.g. £70 for a private patient, £290 for an orthodontic case, £380 for a dental implant case and so on.

So if a patient is worth say £5k over the next 3 years, are you prepared to spend £250 for a new patient of that type, or more or less than that? It’s all about setting return on investment targets for marketing activity, whether a practice rebrand, poster campaign promoting dental implants, a specific ‘Whitening Wednesdays’ campaign or a patient open day being organised at the practice. It’s also about measuring what’s working best, on an ongoing basis.

There are several benefits of this approach It encourages dental practices to analyse their patient list/database. This doesn’t get done nearly enough.  It helps them to identify their most profitable patients, the good old 80:20 rule. It also allows them to think about whether they are targeting the right patients or referrals for their practice. Last but not least, a crucial benefit of this approach is discovering whether the most appropriate media is being used to maximise return in investnent.

For alternative ways to look at improving profitability, contact us on 0845 287 3051.

2013 – now for accountable marketing!

Great marketing should be measurable shouldn’t it? At least if at all possible, and virtually all forms of marketing can be measured.  It’s astonishing how many times I discover dental practices, in fact many types of business, that are not monitoring their marketing activity, whether it’s external media, on-line activity or ‘internal marketing’.

Yet with simple monitoring processes in place and a team motivated to understand the importance of looking at what is working well and the marketing activity isn’t pulling its weight, practices can save a fortune.

Hundreds and often thousands of pounds can be saved by understanding best practice dental marketing and having a solid, measurable plan in place. It’s not unusual for us to save practice owners more than they pay in our fees….and they are also receiving a marketing plan, new ideas and tried and tested marketing techniques as well as having the burden of media liaison, booking and paperwork taken away.  This of course is highly valuable, saving lots of practice time, whether for the practice principal, practice manager or other persons responsible for bringing in new patients and maximising practice income. 

In our quest to help dental practices measure their marketing and save money in 2013, it can all start with an initial chat on the phone about our Dental Marketing Healthcheck. Find out more by contacting us on 0845 287 3051.