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Market Segmentationby Scott McDonald, Doctor Demographics, LLC
I recently asked a young dentist who needed marketing help exactly who he considered his target audience for messaging. “Oh, we serve EVERYONE!” he said. “Great,” I said. “But you cannot target every person and every person in your practice area. Can you?”He replied, “Sure, I want to reach everyone!”
I have no doubt that he was well-meaning. In his mind, he wanted to serve every person in his community who had a dental need. After all, who would you want to skip? But the truth is, you simply cannot reach everyone in a practice area with a persuasive message, nor would you want to do so. In terms of the calculations of cost-efficiency, every advertisement, coupon, church bulletin, and school health fair will cost time and money. Therefore, if we assume that you don’t have unlimited funds and limitless time to spend on marketing, you have to be somewhat selective. Universal visibility for a practice might be nice, but it is impractical.
Not choosing the “wise path” to reach potential patients who will seek your care and instead being indiscriminate with your practice promotions is foolish. It assumes that everyone will have the same “return-on-investment” for your efforts, and this is not true on its face. There are people who won’t pay their bill. Others who will be extremely difficult to treat (and to deal with for both doctor and staff). There is probably a segment of your local population who will never seek treatment no matter what you do short of threatening their health, safety, and beloved...
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