I’ll confess now, the term ‘Integrated Marketing’ makes my blood run cold. Not just because of the awful memories of an awkward presentation at University under taken in front of the rest of whole cohort as part of the final module a few years back – but mostly because it’s a very hard concept to actually get right.
Often misunderstood as the concept of running the same advert across a number of channels (marketing is not advertising), Integrated Marketing is an approach where a unified and seamless strategy is undertaken across the whole business including communications, research, PR, business processes, pricing, and everything else in between.
“Integrated Marketing Communication is a concept of marketing communications which recognises the added advantage of using a holistic plan in the evaluation of several marketing strategies”
(Peltier et al, 2003)
Basically it’s when the a**e knows what the elbow is doing.
Examples of excellent integrated marketing exist amongst the big brands that we are familiar with, but how can this concept be implemented in a dental practice in 2016?
If you are trying to attract new patients (and show me a practice that isn’t?), then you need to fully understand your location and demographic. It may well be you’re located in an upmarket town/city with an affluent older generation, that happens to have a University. Here you may decide to run separate campaigns for separate treatments, and run different offers that appeal to the two demographics.
A dental practices success is founded on the passion, skills and professionalism of its staff. This is not news to many dental practices, but even if your team is outstanding, perform well and you like them, (lol) it might be worth taking a backward step and ensuring they are up to speed with your marketing strategy.
Often your reception staff are most in-touch with what your patients need and want from your practice. They also tend to have a good idea of how your dental practice brand is perceived, so it can be worth getting the team together in some brain storming sessions when deciding on your next marketing campaign. Be warned though – you know what they say about too many cooks, and be sure to make decisions with the team and explain why you might not undertake a particular idea.
You need ‘buy-in’ from the team, as they are the customer facing touch point that a patient has with your practice business. Give them ownership of the marketing strategy by:
Getting creative and ‘thinking outside of the box’, can sound a bit frivolous, but the most clever and out-there marketing campaigns have a lot of thought put into them. If you have an idea that sounds silly, or stupid, give it more thought. Think about h it can it be improved upon to get the right message across. Once you get started it becomes easier to utilise this creativity across various channels at your disposal (print advertising, practice literature, the website, staff involvement, promotions etc).
Just make sure you do run the idea past at least one other person, preferably you team; as above!
Your visual identity needs to be consistent across all correspondence. Far more than just your logo being on everything, a visual identity means the look and feel of your images, fonts, common colours, everything should look as if it came from the practice, even without seeing the logo. A patient reading a newsletter or brochure should immediately connect those pieces of marketing material to your website, and your practice itself.
The importance of tracking all your marketing efforts cannot be over-estimated. It’s be like making the decision to extract a tooth without looking at any other part of the mouth! You cannot make correct future marketing decisions if you don’t have an idea of what is working and what is not. Ensure you
Being on top of your marketing strategy is paramount for 2016. With so many channels to expose your practice to the local community through – it’s vitally important you’re in control.
Offline and On-line marketing is undoubtedly a powerful strategy, and the whole is certainly greater than the sum of its parts.