By JONATHAN FINE
A couple of years ago in the book Moonwalking For Dentists I said dentistry was joining the retailised service industries because of two fundamental forces driving up competition:
- The oversupply of dentists
- The rise of internet savvy consumers
This transformation continues today at breakneck speed and meanwhile it’s become clear that the health market is going to surpass all other service industries in terms of perceived and real value.
Why? People are starting to realise time is the scarcest commodity of all, and you get more time on Earth through health. Just think how many people you know who have started doing yoga and running and have stopped eating meat and smoking in the past two years.
People are taking their health, not just their weight, seriously, and this is brilliant news for dentists. As is the rise of the selfie generation who you could be forgiven for thinking were planted by shady corporate interests to promote the facial aesthetics market, so perfectly has self imagery on social media aligned with the interests of facial aesthetics practitioners.
Facial aesthetics by far represent the most profitable activity for dental practices right now, and awareness of what perio can do for systemic health is beginning to chime with the health zeitgeist I mentioned above, so the only thing left to worry about it seems is how to tell people you do both.
For that reason, here are some top line trends in consumer behavior this year to give you an idea of what kind of beast you’ll be hunting in 2016:
They’re always connected: 75 per cent of Millennials are offline for an hour or less per day. Scary isn’t it? It means your online marketing budget is even more important than you thought it was.
They seek authenticity: 92 per cent of customers have more confidence in info found online like reviews than traditional ads and so they are actively looking for it. Faced with an increasingly cynical audience, your online reviews and patient testimonials are worth more than you thought.
They are opinionated and share it: 51 per cent aim to influence others when they express their preferences online, and 34 per cent have vented about a company on social media, 26 per cent negatively and 23 per cent to share companies or products they like.
They won’t tolerate inaccessibility: Dentists may have joined the service industries but they’re still miles behind trailblazers like Uber and Airbnb (who are so focused on the interface they don’t even own taxis or properties). These companies are accessible to consumers 24/7 across multiple platforms. Your interface doesn’t have to be quite as slick, but your patients need to be able to see your diary and book appointments with the same immediacy because 89 per cent say that a lack of real time booking could put them off, while even the news that the Leytonstone stabber was an Uber driver won’t put off Uber punters, however much black cab drivers wish it would, because it is such a useful and immediate service.
All the best for a successful 2016
If you’d like advice on how to engage with your potential patients in 2016 get in touch with me on 07860 672727 or firstname.lastname@example.org.