Warning: Never Confuse Dental Social Media Marketing With Advertising

By November 8, 2012 January 28th, 2021 No Comments

ALTHOUGH I’VE NEVER BEEN TO DENTAL SCHOOL, I understand from hundreds of visits with dentists that there aren’t a whole lot of marketing classes taught there. That’s OK. There aren’t a whole lot of dentistry classes taught to marketing majors either.

Earn Your Four-Year Dental Marketing Degree By Reading A Few Short Paragraphs Below

Since dentists don’t think about marketing all day there’s a tendency to equate marketing with advertising. Marketing can include some advertising but the concept is much broader. Here’s a slide with a definition I’ve used in teaching undergraduate advertising students about marketing:

dental social media

The Circles Of Marketing

Thanks to Seth Godin, the modern marketing god, for wireframing the beginnings of this concept. I learn tons from him and I try to distill some of those things specifically for our dental practice clients. Grasping the strategy and tactics behind effective dental social media marketing requires differentiating between the activities that surround advertising (white circle) and marketing (blue circles):

dental social media

The outer circle includes all those non-participatory activities that aren’t marketing—they’re advertising.

The next circle in is the first marketing circle (shaded in blue). Tribe building, stories that spread and creating connections represent the foundational goals of your dental social media marketing platform. This circle introduces the human, honest, transparent component of your marketing.

The next circle, “The Experience Being Your Patient” is often not thought of as part of your marketing. This circle represents all of the things in your practice that surround the dentistry you perform… The way in which your phone is answered, the CE you attend, the way your team makes patients feel, the unique qualities of your practice culture, the way your version of dentistry is “packaged”. In short, the things that can literally change people’s perceptions of the dentistry you perform.

Finally, the inner circle represents your “product” and service, dentistry. When your dentistry is remarkable (that is, worthy of a remark) marketing becomes much easier because the marketing naturally springs from the very core of your business.

Here’s the kicker… In Seth Godin’s words, “When in doubt, when your marketing isn’t working, the answer is easy: go one circle in.”

Action Item:

Time for some thoughtful self examination. Does your practice rely on the outer circle? Is that your primary strategy for building your practice? If so, it’s time to make a BIG change.

This weekend, turn off the television, pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and reread this post a few times. Study and contemplate the Circles of Marketing graphic and evaluate the current status of your marketing in each one of the circles.

If you’re first blue circle, “Tribe Building, Stories That Spread, and Connections”, is weak, start there. The easiest, fastest, and most effective way to begin is to become one of our clients (sorry for the pitch… I don’t often do that). If you’re a complete do it yourself-er, read my post about dental social media platforms which has suggestions for getting things set up and started on your own.

Ideas for strengthening the two innermost circles are beyond the scope of this post. However, you likely know what they are if you thoughtfully and honestly think about it for a little while. Where can your product and service improve? How can you make patients feel more valued? Solicit the help of awesome professionals like Gary Takacs and Kristie Nation to put the management and clinical components in place for creating a more thriving practice.

You can do this. We can help.


This post is part of a the series 26 Dental Social Media Marketing Truths.