05 May IS IT WORTH IT TO BUY TRADITIONAL FORMS OF ADVERTISING? DO THEY STILL WORK?
The growth of the digital universe has left many questioning if traditional advertising still serves a purpose. Are television, radio, newsprint, magazines, billboards and direct mail still effective ways to market a practice? Every medium has a place, but not every medium is for every practice. First and foremost you must understand your specific market and demographics. Below are a few tidbits of information to help as you decide which, if any, of these traditional platforms could be a fit for your practice:
Television – There are generally two ways television advertising is purchased. First as broadcast, (Local network affiliates such as ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) and second, as cable/dish advertising, (Bravo, Fox News, CNN, ESPN etc.) A full understanding of your market will help you determine which of these two could be a solid option.
Where I grew up in North Carolina local news anchors were their own kind of celebrity. Still to this day my mother and father watch nearly every news cast on their favorite network. For practices looking to reach the over 50 demographic in this market, local broadcast could be a viable solution. In the same market however, I would be skeptical 18 – 30 year olds have much, if anything, to do with local news programming. For non-network and news watcherscable / dish would be a better fit. Cable reaches a lifestyle, while broadcast wins points for loyal viewership during particular programming.
Radio – Much like cable, each station yields itself to it’s own demographic and personality. In smaller markets there’s often one radio station that reigns supreme. Smaller markets tend to have a greater sense of loyalty for local radio stations and will participate in events and giveaways. In larger markets however, your budget can quickly get lost on radio. You may be reaching the masses, but if the masses live more than 10 to 15 miles away from your practice your efforts are less likely to be effective. Consider the realistic possibility of new patients making the trek to you with other options closer in proximity.
Print – Print advertising covers anything from the local paper, neighborhood newsletter, and lifestyle magazines. I often hear media representatives who are NOT in print advertising refer to print as “Dead”. While certainly we must acknowledge readership has declined, still, for some practices print can be a solid resource.
Recently, I worked with a new dental practice in Franklin, TN. The strategy was simple. Reach families in the neighborhoods within a 5 mile radius of the practice. Each neighborhood had a newsletter. Parents would read the newsletter to see their children’s photos from swim meets or to get the buzz on local neighborhood events. Needless to say, this print purchase was quite rewarding. Don’t write off one medium without looking over the benefits. If the demographics of the readers fit that of your desired patient base closely, then considering print could be well worth your money.
Billboard – Is there space available in a high visibility, high traffic area? Then there’s a possibly billboard could work for you. The success of billboard marketing depends on two factors.
- LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!
- Messaging – Billboards need to be able to be read and comprehended in 5 seconds or less. The message must have impact, meaning it must evoke emotion or need. It should NEVER have over 6 words. Evoke emotion using images to tell your story.
Direct Mail – This is a touchy one, and is dependent on numerous factors including market size and location. I have worked with many practices that felt blanketing their immediate service area with direct mail has brought, and continues to bring in new patients. I’ve also worked with practices quick to acknowledge they saw no results whatsoever. Certainly the statistics vary as well. With some yielding very low results and ROI, to others touting success and branding.
When it comes to direct mail, I reflect on my own personal habits. All of my personal DIRECT mail goes DIRECTLY into the garbage. I live in a medium to large market, and receive no less than 4 direct mail pieces a week from Dentists, General Practitioners, Chiropractors, etc. If asked to name those practices I could not.
Again, this depends on the individual and the market. Those are my own personal habits. Ask yourself how you handle the direct mail pieces in your mailbox. Do you take note? Are you prompted to respond to the call to action?
For practices opening in developing and emerging neighborhoods direct mail could be a good fit. Why? The individuals moving to the area are likely relocating and convenience is key so finding a medical provider in their own backyard is an asset.
To Wrap It Up…
Traditional advertising should be a consideration for every practice. While digital growth is not to go unnoticed and is quite efficient, a well-rounded marketing plan is vital. The belief that traditional advertising no longer works is inaccurate. Traditional platforms can help brand a practice quite well depending on the market. Your budget and allocation towards traditional media may be smaller, which means making the correct decision is even more crucial. Be clear on your needs and where the bulk of your potential patient base can be found.
By Laura Bryant Marketer And Host Of The Modern Medical Marketing Podcast And Chief Content Officer of U Aspire Marketing