While discussing dental practice marketing and how it is a must in this economy, lets look at Kodak, Dollar Stores, and Your Choices.
I’ve watched the series of plunges and gradual descent into economic hell by Koday Corp since the dawn of the digital camera. In corporate time lines, it’s been a very quick race from market giant to ineffectual pipsqueak.
There are some serious things to learn from this for every dentist out there. Yet, most will barely pay attention to this headline or to other even more pertinent ones that apply directly to their livelihood.
Even fewer will spend time thinking about what’s underlying the headwinds they continue to feel “post-recession.” They’ll head into the office another day and simply think about what bur or scalpel they’ll start the day with or when that next (insert special interest here date/activity) arrives.
Kodak’s leader’s realized way too late in the game that it’s model got moved. Lots of smart very highly educated engineers and business men were paid well to be vigilant and to “think strategically” but Mr. Market and Mrs. Consumer changed the rules in broad daylight while a the brains were tending to the company’s well being.
At Kodak, quick changes were needed but they didn’t happen. Half-butted attempts at printers and cameras were launched. Sitting in my desk is a pretty darn good HD portable video camera branded/sold by Kodak with a battery life of about 5 minutes. I like it but it needs a power cord at all times to operate it. Sort of removes most benefits of use. THAT was to innovation as what throwing gas on fire is.
Fortunately, for dentists, none of us are behemoths like Kodak, we’re not big and lumbering. We can choose quickly to be smart OR dumb. We either learn how to market and sell correctly and accept that we do indeed as business owners need dental practice marketing.
We can, when economic conditions or patterns change, make very quick turns and changes in response to the marketplace by using dental practice marketing as long as there is a cash flow and debt service either in the business or personally isn’t out of control.
The first catch is we have to realize things are changing. The second catch is that one must realize that clinical leaders, professional organizations, MOST business consultants, will either be just as ignorant of what’s afoot or see what’s happening and refuse to point it out because by pointing it out they must offer solutions. It’s simply easier to distract everyone and hope that things go back to how they used to be. I have developed dental practice marketing and strategies to help with the changes afoot.
When was the last time ANYTHING went back to the way it was? Answer: N-E-V-E-R.
Right now, the most important change underway for your practice, future, and livelihood, has absolutely nothing to do with technology.
The biggest trend and change you need to be concerned with is the shrinking income and buying power of the vast majority of your patients and potential patients.
The dental insurance gravy train is ever more like a drying up crusty train. That fact isn’t changing.
Put these two together and the long show up to work and it always gets better for the dentist boom by simply floating with the trend (ever growing and rising middle class size, wealth, and insurance coverage) is retreating as quickly as Kodak’s sales of TMAX film did.
A quick perusal of the best and the worst performing highly visible and talked about businesses invariably would include Apple on the best side and Best Buy on the worst. Apple targeting the affluent AND those so motivated by the cult they’ll find a way to buy what they want. Best Buy selling to the shrinking middle just like the average dentist.
The latest data on Best Buy shows that on a profit margin per square foot basis, their performance is as good as an average dollar store.
Ultimately, this consumer parable, visibly effecting the good and not so good fortunes of the big guys, also means you have some choices to be making.
Will you continue to sell to a shrinking, poorer, middle consumer or will you move upstream and target those with enough real dental problems that they are motivated to find ways to pursue treatment (I’ll find a way to buy an iMac no matter what!) or actually target a more affluent patient and deal with what that means.
If you’re going to keep targeting the drying up middle class insured, I strongly suggest you start to earnestly study the dollar store model very very carefully as that is where you will need to focus your attention related to marketing, selling, and managing your overhead related to quality of facility, staff and technology.
If you plan to fight the trend and move upstream, I suggest you focus on creating and communicating why you are different from everyone else and address all the facets of selling and promotion. Only those things can take you out of the way of the sea change underway. My program members are doing just that, you can find out more here.
The choice is yours…..upstream or dollar store…..
If you choose upstream, and would like some help getting there, you can go and get a selling and promotion education for free by hanging out at the local book store (if it still exists). Cancel your weekend activities now…..
If you’d like specialized help (and speed), we’re ready to give you the first step in going upstream which is a solid foundation in ethical selling so you can begin moving further away from Dollar Store land. To get going, simply click here for my website.
You can also learn more about making yourself more visible to your potential patients by checking out my #1 top selling book on Amazon.