In this episode, Howie and Mark talk about your dental practice competition. Who are they? How are they promoting their practices? Why does it matter? You can either ignore it, or exploit it to your advantage! Learn how to set yourself apart.




Podcast Highlights:

  • Niche vs. price
  • Positioning in the local market
  • What sets you apart?
  • Financing
  • Convenience
  • Public relations assets
  • Technologies
  • Competitors too focused on low prices?
  • NOT using price in marketing to set yourself apart

Podcast Transcription:

Hello, and welcome once again to the Dental Marketing Mastery series. This podcast is brought to you by and New Patients Incorporated. I’m Howie Horrocks, the Founder of New Patients Incorporated, along with me once again, as my friend and partner and the President of New Patients Incorporated, Mark Dilatush.

Howie: Hello, everybody. Once again, we’re here with our weekly podcast. How you doing over there, Mark?

Mark: I’m doing just fine, sir. It’s the middle of August in New Jersey. So it’s 90 and 90-90 degrees 90% humidity

Howie: Here in 90-90. environment.

Mark: Yeah, we’re running the other day. I run either three or four days a week and it was it was Saturday, it was Saturday and I figured out you know, what, Saturday afternoon odd. We had some stuff to do in the morning. So what a mistake. I hadn’t like no air. Normally, I can run quite a ways, right? without having to stop. I mean, you know, two or three miles or so. And not so on Saturday. So we’re dealing with 90s 90-90.

Howie: No, gosh, okay. Well, there you go. What are we talking about today? Something about dental practice competition. Correct? Who are they? How are they promoting their practice? And why does it matter?

Mark: Yes.

Howie: Yes.

Mark: We get all kinds of, by the way, if anybody wants to send us a topic or a question or situation, or we’re not going to use your name or anything, right. But if you send us a challenge that you’re having a marketing challenge that you’re having, send it to [email protected] and we’ll make a big deal out of it. Do a podcast and you know, send you

Howie: will send you a cookie

Mark: We’ll send you a cookie. So dental practice competition, I think it’s reasonable for us to recognize that dentists, many dentists, I’m not going to say all dentists, but I’m saying many dentists don’t even like to recognize that they have competition.

Howie: Hmm. Yes.

Mark: So we’re not being judgmental. We’re just being observing. Okay, because we can’t count how many times dentist to say, Well, I don’t really have any dental practice competition. Okay. So, you know, you know, we love you all and, and we believe you believe that, okay. But, you know, it’s funny. You pay us not to believe that you pay us to recognize who your dental practice competition is, and create dental marketing plans more effective than your competition does. If we can’t do that, you should fire us. Okay? Because we’re not the right people for you, you should hire their marketing for whoever’s kicking your butt, right in the marketplace. So I think it’s really, really important.

For you know, maybe we need to use a different word than competition, maybe we need to, I don’t know why I just can’t think of a different word. So we’re going to leave it come, we’re going to call it competition. But, but everybody has to realize that everyone is in the world, everyone in the world is competing on some level. You know, I mean, it is important to recognize because if, once you recognize where it’s coming from, you can choose then to ignore it. Or you can choose to add wrinkles to your marketing. Actually to exploit it. It doesn’t make sense, logical sense. Somebody says dental practice competition and exploit it. But you’ll learn why here in a second.

Howie: Yeah, you know, little comment, if I might Mark, you know, it was popular some years back to for Dennis to say, Well, you know, the real competition we have is, you know, patients going on vacations or buying expensive Nike’s for their kids. That that sort of thing, right, and that’s where they spend their money rather than on dentistry and okay, that’s fine. We can consider that to be competition. But,

Mark: Absolutely, that’s competition for money.

Howie: Exactly. But likewise, you know, the practice down the street. That’s competition. You know, and I know that we don’t like to brand colleagues that way, or it’s somehow demeaning to them, but it isn’t. It’s just the fact of life. The dental consumer has a choice whether they give their money to you, or the guy across the street. Okay. And that’s just the way it is, right?

Mark: Yeah, so this is, yeah. There’s, there’s all kinds of micro and macro competitions happening simultaneously. It’s sort of like putting a spoon in a bowl and mixing up a whole bunch of ingredients, and it’s just constantly turns and stirs and mixes. So this podcast is about, you know, who are they? How are they promoting their dental practices? And why does it matter?

Well, Howie uncovered one dental practice competition which everybody’s in competition for available spending dollars. Everybody is Amazon is Walmart is the real estate people, you everybody everything every everyone selling anything is in competition with everyone else that’s selling anything for available dollar. So that’s a very good point. I’ll add to that. The number of dentists in your market serving the available population creates what we call a doctor patient ratio. That will numerically measure supply and demand.

So supply and demand. The supply of dentists in a market area is your competition. The demand of the consumer either shrinks the dental practice competition or expands it. Okay? How now this is the part. This is the part of this that initially may sound counterintuitive, Normally, you would say competition, and you would not say well, let’s exploit our competition. Okay. But if you have dentists or dentists in your market, who are promoting their dental practice a certain way, good, let’s go through the relatively easy to recognize scenarios that happen, I don’t know 10s of thousands time of times each month in the US. But the easiest ones to recognize are the dentists who are spending their marketing dollars promoting niche niches rather than General Dentistry or Family Dentistry.

Another one is another really easy to recognize dental practice competition or way that other doctors in your market are promoting, is how they promote based on price or they don’t promote based on price. Are they selling a price point? Or an offer? Or are they selling the benefits of dentistry that’s really easy for you to recognize, and no matter what at it, if it’s offline or online dental marketing, doesn’t matter what kind of an ad is. Um, so now, now you say okay, well, I have this many dentists than my market and this many dentists are promoting, actively.

I see them spending money on marketing. I see it in my home in the dental direct mail marketing, or I see it online and the Google ads or I see it through the online reviews, or I see it every day I see it everywhere. And, I have this many people competing for the same dental consumers in the same general core market as me. They seem to be spending money on advertising which means I probably should. They seem to be paying attention to their online dental reputation management which means I should two or three of them offer online dental scheduling right off their computer right off their website. Maybe that’s something I should consider.

All of these dentists are offering a certain menu of services, maybe I should jot down that menu and see if there’s anything that I do. That is different and all of you have things that are different, not just services. What if we looked at amenities, technologies, conveniences, financial arrangements? What if all the other offices in your general market, you know, are offering x, but they don’t mention it in any of their advertising, because they’re too busy advertising a low price point.

Howie: Right there, their real estate, if you look at it that way is taken up by the promotion of a price incentive.

Mark: Right.

Howie: And it could be being used to promote Invisalign, for example.

Mark: Right. Right. So you have the same number of competitors, the same amount of money they’re spending on their own marketing, you can see what they’re promoting. You can see if they’re promoting certain services, amenities, technologies, conveniences, public relations, assets, you can line up everything that you see visibly. And you can say to yourself, or what are some of the things that what are my advantages? versus this list? Do I necessarily have to use price to promote dentistry? Well, if you don’t, that’ll be different than 99% of the advertising you see on the streets?

Howie: Definitely.

Mark: Right?

Howie: Yeah

Mark: That’s, that’s where lining up your dental practice competition. Okay. And just taking a look like it’s sort of like a, it’s just a list, right? You just jot down yeah, they’re doing this they’re doing that looks like they’re spending this much. They’re advertising this, they have this kind of deal, this kind of offer.

And you make up a list and you say to yourself, well, should I do all the things that most of my competitors in my market are doing? Won’t that dilute the message? And if I don’t use those same messages, won’t that make my dental practice marketing that much more effective? Won’t that make the perception of my practice that much diff that much more different? Won’t that separate me from the pack in case 8, 9, 10, other Dentists in my market are basically doing the same thing. And I say that because 99% of you have dentist in your market who are doing basically exactly the same thing.

Howie: Great. Let’s, let’s take a short break here, Mark, and we’ll be back so don’t go away.

NPI Click: Hello, everybody. This is Howie Horrocks and along with me is Mark Dilatush, the president of new patients Incorporated. How you doing Mark? Hey Howie, how are you? This is the part of the podcast where we get to brag about our company. Yay. So sometimes it gets lost. And all these podcasts what new patients incorporated actually does. We have, I don’t know how many podcasts 7581 a week for well over a year. And all of you listen to these a half hour at a time and you might lose sight of what we do. So here’s the short answer, we do everything we’re talking about in these podcasts on behalf of our clients.

Okay, we did the podcasts are there for our clients, of course just so they understand what the heck we’re doing. But also for the doctors who are do it yourselfers. If you’re not a do it yourselfer, and you want someone to do this for you,, there’s an icon in the dead center at the top of our homepage, where you can get a complimentary marketing plan, a series of questions will need to be completed and once you complete that, we will analyze your market area, develop a marketing plan and get on the phone with you discuss all the sections of the marketing plan just to make sure you understand a couple of things, what you’re up against, what your expectations should be, and what market Howie would do if we owned your dental practice.

Howie: Alright, we are back. Yes, dental practice competition.

Mark: Dentist doing the same thing.

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: That’s basically what we should call this podcast. Because,

Howie: Yeah.

Mark: So because we have these when we when we do marketing plans when we build marketing plans for because dentists will engage with their clients yet, they’ll engage with us just to see if they want to be a client. And we always build them a marketing plan that doesn’t cost anything. But when we do that, we always analyze the market area and we align all the assets, we can see all the doctors marketing assets that we can see.

When I say see in a browser, you know, on the internet, and then we look do searches for their competition. And we try to ascertain as best we can get an idea of what we’re up against what those other dentists are doing? How they’re positioned? What their reputation is. Some of the services, amenities and conveniences. The competition is at least advertising and, you know, we always get a list of marketable attributes for all of our clients and prospective new clients.

And we try to see you know what, what part of that list isn’t being advertised in their market area. Now, obviously, there’s a lot of things we can’t see, we can’t see magazines or mail or anything like that. But usually, if you just kind of browse through the competitors on the internet, you get a really good idea what the competition is doing.

When you do an analysis for Google PPC ads, which is basically required before will even take on a new AdWords campaign client. Not only can you see it, but you can statistically measure it. So you can say, Okay, how many competitors do you have? For which of these keywords? How many times are people typing in these keywords and phrases? How much are these competitors spending? What are they placing their ads throughout the month? I mean, there’s just a ridiculous amount of data that you can collect on your competitors.

Howie: It’s pretty transparent, isn’t it? That’s amazing.

Mark: Yeah, it is it is in an ad tells us, you know, should the dentist even spend money right on Google AdWords, and if so, where which subjects which subjects or would pose the least risk, all the way down to the most risk for their mark anyway, for their marketing dollar anyway, the point is that this is all dental practice competition.

And competition require if you really want to squeeze like, like a, like you’re bringing out a dish, you know, dish drying rag, if you really want to squeeze everything, you cannot have your advertising budget, which everybody listening to this podcast is automatically going to raise their hand, of course, I want to do that them just like we do, then then it really will be a good service to you to communicate the importance of measuring your competition, seeing what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, trying to come up with a list of items on your end, that they are not list of services, amenities, technologies, conveniences, public relations, assets, private, whatever things you possess, in your dental practice that they are ignoring.

Now, the two that we’ve identified, immediately are, if they’re promoting based primarily on a price point, and you’ll see this in mail, you’ll see it on websites, you’ll see it in Google ads, you’ll see it all over, you know, sometimes you’ll even see it on their Facebook page. Okay? If you see it anywhere in there, then you can just assume that the rest of their advertising, whatever they’re doing, even if you can’t see it is also trying to promote dentistry based on some kind of a reduced price point, usually for an exam. What you take away from that is, if I don’t do that, if I don’t try to get the phone to ring based on a price point or a reduced fee, then I am automatically different. I am automatically speaking to people who kind of get turned off.

Howie: Yeah, you’re actually choosing a better audience.

Mark: Yeah, yeah, you’re right. That’s actually what you’re doing. But in order for in order for you to make sense of it for yourself personally, in your own little micro market, right, which a marketing company, we can see a lot of data, we can do all kinds of measurements, but we can’t you know, we’re not on your kitchen table. We don’t know what kind of mail you get, we can’t see every dentist office that’s in the local newspaper or in the community, local community magazines or whatever. I mean, only you can see that stuff. So it really is a great exercise.

Maybe you could do this maybe over the next 90 days is just accumulate. Um, the pieces that you get, you might get in the mail, something in money, mailer, maybe you take a look, maybe sit down on a rainy Sunday for an hour with your laptop and just type in dentist near me in your browser. Right?

Howie: A little industrial espionage.

Mark: Yeah, exactly industrial espionage, that’s right? Just type dentist near me. And see the Google Map, look at the ads above the Google Map. Who are those people? What are they promoting? Do you see implants for 1599? Well, now you know what they’re promoting. Okay, you can click through them, it’s going to cost somebody eight bucks, but you know, they’ll get over it. And then go look and see what the landing pages what the offer is, what their call to action is, okay? And just start to make a list these this is, this is my competition, this is what they’re doing.

Then at some point you come down to, what can I do with my marketing budget that’s different than what everyone else is doing. And what you’re going to end up with, here’s where you’re going to end up, you’re going to end up largely where we where we are, where we take our clients.

Okay, we take our clients on the opposite end of the consumer spectrum, we take them to the point where we’re not, we’re not basing promotion, on volumes of calls of shoppers, we’re not basing promotion. Honestly, we base our promotion on trying to drive the highest first year average revenue. Yep, that’s where everything is driven. You know, if I get an average first year revenue of 1100, out of a market, like, I don’t know, Cleveland, I’m disappointed. Should be around 1435. That’s average.

Right, so, so everything, right, everything is driven toward first year average revenue per new patient. Right? In order to do that you have to do this whole podcast is about hopefully trying to get you out of your dentist shell. To say no, wait a second, I am a business person, I do own a business. I have employees, I pay my taxes here, right? They should tax me like a business. Right? So I must be one. So I must have competition.

Now I don’t have to, you know, hate the dentist down the street. That’s not what we’re saying. We’re just saying, hey, look at their marketing assets, look at their marketing liabilities, understand where you are in relation to them. And that’ll start to paint a picture of where the majority of your marketing budget should go. This is exactly the steps we take when we build marketing plans, we line up assets of the dentists we line up assets of the competition, we take a look at everything that the dentist, you know, can say about themselves that doesn’t have anything to do with a reduced price point.

And, and we line everything up not just according to what the practice possesses, but according to what we can see their competition, the mistakes their competition is making. Basically, we leverage the mistakes, your competitions make your competition next. Okay. People ask us all the time, you know, for recipe. I mean, there’s, there’s lots of pieces to it. But you know, in the end, in the end, where we get the results we get, because we’re not doing the same thing everybody else is doing. I know this sounds oversimplified.

But it’s true. It’s absolutely 100% true. And what we just shared with you was a little piece. And I think dentists should do this on their own. I don’t think they should rely on us to do it for them. I think if they actually go out and look themselves on that rainy Sunday with their laptop, they’ll get a much clearer, more defined picture of what they’re up against and how not to be the 10th 12th 15th 18th dentist saying exactly the same thing. That never makes sense with a marketing budget.

Howie: Right. Well, all right. We hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast today. And we hope you will continue to tune in we like that, don’t we Mark?

Mark: It was pretty intense. Sorry, if I got intense. It’s okay. If you if you if you listen to this podcast and say now I don’t have any competition. That’s okay. Nobody will. Nobody will judge you.

Howie: Yeah, no, we’re good. We’re good. Anyway, thank you all. We’ll see you again next time. Bye now.

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