Something we’ve been missing since 2020 is going to conferences — the booths with all the smiling vendors and their innovative products and services, as well as the informative seminars that teach us about interesting new things. Now that in-person events are starting to come back, we anticipate that conferences will too. While conferences are fun, especially when there’s free swag, there are some things to be aware of when it comes to the marketing agency (or agencies) that will be vying for your attention.
Conferences attract great companies from all over, each one with its own strengths and weaknesses. Of course they are always showing off their best and shiniest toys. At these events, marketing agencies will really turn on the charm, and often turn up the pressure, to attract new clients, so dentists should always do their due diligence before making the leap and hiring a marketing agency from a conference. Jumping into a relationship with an agency you don’t know well could lead to regrets down the road.
The best advice we can give dentists is to meet with a prospective marketing agency more than once. Get the essentials at the conference and make an appointment to sit down for a deeper conversation when the excitement of the event won’t be a distraction. This is an important step in getting to know the agency and how they operate. If you have the chance to speak via video conference or phone call, you’ll be able to calmly ask questions and take the time you need to understand whether the company is a good fit for your practice.
You can get a better sense of the company’s work ethic, whether they are trustworthy, and whether you can comfortably work with them. A 5-minute sales pitch at a trade show is not enough to get all the information you need to enter into a working relationship with a marketing agency.
During a conversation with a prospective marketing agency, try to find out if the company aligns with your goals. Have them explain the types of strategies they use, and what their general approach would be in marketing your practice. Make sure that their products and services will suit your practice’s needs, and not just in the short term. A good marketing agency should be able to give you a well-developed strategy that addresses your short and long-term marketing needs.
Every marketing agency offers a variety of services to market your practice, which is what you want. However, services are not the only thing you should be looking for. When it comes to partnering with a dental marketing agency, you want to understand their overall philosophy and approach. Services are certainly necessary to get the job done, but without a solid approach to back them up, they may not give you the results you want. So, before committing to a package of marketing services, ask the agency about its philosophy.
Buying based solely on services could be a mistake if the company’s philosophy doesn’t align with yours.
One tactic that dental marketing companies use to attract new clients, especially at conferences, is offering introductory discounts. Saving money is always nice, but there may be a catch. If a marketing agency is discounting its services, find out more before signing up. We are not saying that discounts are bad, but sometimes they are used solely to drive volume, and then you end up disappointed in their service, only to find yourself shopping around for another dental marketing agency after a few months.
Again, due diligence really pays off in these situations. Make sure that the agency you choose to partner with checks all the boxes, not just the one for budget.
Conferences are a great way to find a marketing agency for your dental practice because you can interview several of them all in the same day. If a marketing agency makes a good impression at a conference, you should certainly consider their offer. However, you most definitely want to learn more about them before making your final decision, especially if you feel pressure to engage them right away. In fact, if the agency’s approach is very high pressure, it could be a warning sign that you don’t want to ignore.
Your marketing agency should feel like part of your team, ready and willing to work with you and contribute to your success. Meeting a marketing representative at a conference is a good introduction to the agency, but it is not enough to fully understand whether that company will be a good fit for your practice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With more than a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Ms. Ulasewich-Cullen decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase their sales through effective marketing campaigns. She can be reached at (800) 689-6434 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.