DSO Marketing: 3 Strategies You Can Use Right Now

Whether you’re an established Dental Service Organization (DSO) or on your way to being one, there’s no shortage of market challenges, including industry consolidation, downward budget pressures, the rise of competitive forces, media fragmentation, and the social and digital enterprise. That's why marketing strategy should be at the center of every DSO’s brand.

Here are three key business-driven strategies that DSOs (or business-minded dentists) can implement right now:

1. Be an entrepreneur.

The time for DSOs, regardless of size and breadth, to behave like entrepreneurs has never been better than right now. One way to be more entrepreneurial is to take advantage of the fragmentation of media. This phenomenon has actually made it easier and more effective to negotiate with media outlets. From a brand campaign perspective, DSOs can acquire media at deeper discounts than before, potentially dropping patient acquisition costs. Efficient marketing processes are also opportunities that can unlock lots of value for the business. Managed marketing services, rather than multiple vendors, can often drive better marketing outcomes while driving down costs.

2. Branding Campaigns are a waste. Really.

If there’s a singular lesson to be learned from pharma advertising it’s that advertising can indeed be uber-efficient, if done right. For example, pharma TV and digital video messaging regularly feature the product that improves a particular and very specific condition. Pharma advertising usually speaks to two different audiences at the same time, the patient and physician, with the brand relegated to the end of the spot, occupying very little time and space.

The same strategy can be deployed by DSOs to drive laser-focused messaging while building robust equity in their brand(s). Dentistry is famous for promoting multiple services in advertising and marketing; the trouble is the consumer doesn’t process messages that way. McDonald’s® spends millions on promoting a single item, coffee. Why coffee? McDonald’s recognizes the attention span of the consumer is fleeting, and human beings can only focus on one or a few items in a meaningful way, and not the hundreds they have on the menu. Once the customer comes in for coffee, McDonald’s sells them other items. Similarly, once new patients come in, DSOs ought to ensure they stay by having a plan to keep them and  promote other services as part of the patient journey.

3. Your social enterprise is inefficient and a distraction.

I don’t think we’re going out on a limb when we call organic social marketing on social media platforms for DSOs inconsistent at best and a failure at worst. While there is anecdotal evidence of social media success, it is subjective at best. Consider this: as recently as March 2018, the world’s largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, announced a significant cut to its social media advertising, citing better returns elsewhere.

Be careful where you drive engagement. Space in social media is effectively “rented” by your organization, and with Facebook allowing organic posts to be shown to 2%–4% of the audience you’ve worked so hard to secure, is it even worth the time and expense? Also, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will make it much harder for social media advertisers. Google has already announced GDPR compliance that will adversely impact ad retargeting.

This article was originally published in Sidekick Magazine.

About the Author: Abe Kasbo is the CEO of Verasoni World Wide and Founder of Dentourage.