Cliff's Notes

The Business of Dentistry

Variolink Veneer, How Healthy is Your Healthcare facility?, Deconstructing Dental marketing!

Cliff’s Notes for August 1, 2010

Cliff Marsh, Henry Schein ……Cell: 201-321-7494……Fax: 201-262-2210…..E-mail:

“Comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort.”
Peter McWilliams

In This Week’s Issue
• Variolink Veneer by Ivoclare Vivadent!
• How Healthy is Your Healthcare Facility?
• Deconstructing Dental Marketing!

Variolink Veneer……
Every now and then a product comes along that impresses me. Remember, I am not a “wet finger” dentist so I rely on the feedback that I get from my client base. I’m not saying that everyone like the same things (that’s why they make chocolate and Vanilla) however, all of my client dentists that have tried Variolink Veneer, started to use it on a routine basis. Ivoclare Vivadent is a restorative company. They began as innovators in laboratory production and fabrication and it was a natural transition to clinical applications. If cosmetic and restorative dentistry is your thing, the Ivoclare Vivadent product line is defiantly worth the look.
As for Variolink Veneer, it is an “easy clean-up” microfill resin cementation system that features a unique “value” shade system. Available in seven light-cure (amine-free) shaded cements and try-in pastes, the logical “value” shading sequence simplifies cement selection. The shades are based on the true influences of the cement (i.e., the “value” or relative brightness) on the esthetics of final restoration, rather than on the “color” of the cement. As a result, clinicians truly have the ability to manipulate the visible effects demonstrated in the final restorations.
Variolink Veneer is indicated for the adhesive cementation of all-ceramic restorations where light-curing is indicated. Variolink Veneer’s reinforced microfill technology provides high wear resistance with long-lasting polish and provides an ideal interface between ceramic/tooth structure and gingival tissue. Its formulation is also designed for easy clean-up regardless of your preferred placement technique – resulting in saving valuable time chairside.

One of the most interesting things about Ivoclare Vivadent, unlike other manufacturers, is that all of their research data is published on the internet. Please follow this link to clinical presentations and technical information about Variolink Veneer. From there, you can explore the rest of the company.

How healthy is Your healthcare Facility?…..
Masks, gloves, disinfectants, chemical compounds and all the other un-seen microscopic visitors that invade your small and tightly packed office complicate your environment. How many patients tell you about the “dental office smell”? How many do you WANT to come in regardless of there cough or sneeze? How many staff members come to work sick because they can’t afford to miss work?
THE ISSUE – For years office workers have suffered unexplained headaches, asthma, allergy like symptoms and other respiratory distress now recognized as “sick building syndrome” (SBS). Although there have been many reports on SBS, (there is no precise definition) cost estimates range to billions in absenteeism and lowered productivity. Currently, about 15 million workers in the US are affected to some degree by SBS and could be eligible for health benefits. SBS is caused by “poor” indoor air quality from energy-efficient, airtight buildings and the resulting concentration of airborne contaminants. Given that more than 70% of the workforce in North America and Europe work in office environments, this problem is significant. As well, ‘buddy sickness’ (i.e., caused by airborne germs which can infect people in the office) contributes to absenteeism and reduced productivity (how many times have you gone to work when you have a cold or flu, only to spread it to your co-workers?).
RECENT STUDIES – Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) has long been used to sterilize hospital instruments and sensitive areas, and is also used in Surgically Clean Air Systems for treating air in offices. The benefits of this technology in mitigating SBS have now been quantified by a very recent study conducted by the Montreal Chest Institute at McGill University (results are published in the British medical journal, The Lancet). The “double blind” study found that installation of UVGI air purification equipment resulted in a 20 percent overall reduction in all symptoms for some workers; a 40 percent reduction in respiratory symptoms and a 30 percent reduction in mucous problems. The benefits were greatest for workers with allergies and for those who had never smoked.
The Air Is Only Clean As Your Last Patient – Dentists, hygienists and dental lab technicians require serious protection from the harmful chemical VOC’s, odors and microbiological contaminants specific to the dental industry. Using a six-stage purification system, Surgically Clean Air systems can efficiently remove mercury vapor, blood pathogens, drill aerosols, monomers, metha methacrylite, dust, bacteria, viruses and the strong odor from lab ovens.
Facilities that neglect air quality also put their patients at risk, increasing the probability of respiratory problems and the spread of disease. The Surgically Clean Air 301F air cleaner/purifier is not a consumer based product. It offers an advanced multi-level system capable of removing airborne particles, odors, chemicals, bacteria and viruses.
Surgically Clean Air 301F
The Surgically Clean Air 301F Air Purifier will remove harmful toxins, pollutants and airborne microbial contamination.
The 301F combines six stages of air sterilization and purification. There are four capture stages for particulate matter and two kill stages for volatile organic compounds, bacteria and viral infectious agents.
• Removes harmful toxins, pollutants and airborne microbial contamination
• Reduces absenteeism
• Minimizes unpleasant odors
• Promotes positive PR – show your clients and staff you care
• Protects electronic and digital equipment from harmful dust build up
• Increases alertness and mental energy
• Low annual operating cost
As I stated earlier, the 301F is not a consumer based system. It has been designed for commercial health environments and it is not cheap. That fact alone will prevent many dental offices from utilizing it, but that’s just another example of “walking over dollars to pick up dimes. The cost of the unit is about the same a quality sterilizer but you must consider the benefits to employee productivity and your families health. Many dentists spend a lot of money making their offices “patient friendly”. I always see postings in reception rooms about the benefits of digital x-ray systems emitting lower levels of radiation and notices about ADA / CDC accepted sterilization procedures. However, you can still smell the eugenol. Quality clean air systems unit will also eliminate many O.S.H.A. concerns. For more information, follow the link or contact Cliff at any time.

Deconstructing Dental Marketing……
The following article was written by Abe Kasbo, the CEO of Verasoni Worldwide. Verasoni is a Northern New jersey based advertising & marketing organization that specializes in healthcare. Their approach to the “new world” addresses cutting edge ideas and techniques with regard to product, brand and name recognition. I have seen the results of their product and I am impressed. It’s not just about a great looking website, it’s about your target audience. Take a look by logging log onto:

Deconstructing Dental Practice Marketing
Filed under: Healthcare — Abe @ 12:48 pm July 26, 2010
Copyright 2010
Like it or not, there’s a new economy and a “New Normal” upon us, and will probably be with us for the foreseeable future. “The New Normal” was coined by legendary bond investor Bill Gross, in his June 2009 outlook, when he referred to the new economic order in the aftermath of the most recent global economic collapse.
I would like to add on to Mr. Gross’ thesis in a way that I believe is more meaningful to how dental practices promote themselves and grow. Certainly the “New Normal” relative to the economy is impacting us all, but there’s something just as significant that impacts your dental practice on a daily basis, it’s what I call our “New Interconnectedness.” The advent of the rapid adoption of the Internet, and I am not simply talking about websites, has brought meritocracy (real or perceived) to dentistry. It has, and continues, to radically alter the way dental practices promote themselves, acquire new patients, and keep existing ones happy. I would like to point out that our “New Interconnectedness“ has less to do with the Internet, although the Internet serves as its backbone, and more to do with the tools of the Internet, which includes: email, blogging, internet video, social media, and perhaps more importantly, the eminent rise of mobile applications.
Double Trouble
At this time dental practices are facing a double-headed snake. Both the recent unfortunate economic realities, and our newly found “interconnectedness” have had a profound impact on the dental patient, and therefore your dental practice. The Internet has effectively decimated traditional media, and our attention spans. Add to that shrinking paychecks and economic uncertainty and we’ve got double trouble.
Make no mistake about it, from a business point of view; these seismic events cannot be viewed separately, nor seen as or historic anomalies. We must view them in the aggregate, it is the zeitgeist in which we live and work.
Reality Check: Your Internet Reputation is Your Reputation
As a dentist, like it or not, your brand is now in the control of your patients more than ever before. This is not a trend that will reverse itself, you must understand what this means, and more importantly, how to harness it to grow your practice. Ratings websites can work for and against your practice, and so paying attention to your web reputation is paramount to this discussion. Your web reputation is your reputation. So, be sure that you know what people are saying about you on the web, and where they are saying it.
What Dental Practice Marketing Is & What it is Not
Marketing your dental practice ought to be driven by strategy, not tactics. Marketing represents every touch a potential patient has with your practice. From the front desk experience, your website, your chair-side manner, to the paint on your walls. Everything. Marketing is about behavior – patient behavior – and what it takes to convince them that you are the right dentist for them as opposed to your near by competitor. Marketing represent any and every activity that allows you to promote and grow your practice from answering the phones to email marketing, every bit if it matters. Done right, it allows you engage your patients, and in doing so, create a preference for your services / products over your competition. Think of your practice as the Porsche, and the strategic marketing as the gas. After all, the Porche would be a pretty expensive paperweight without the gas!
Dental practice marketing is not your logo, your brochures, your website, your magazine and TV commercials. It is not your website, but what you do with it. It is not your logo, but how you use it. It is not your brochure, but what it says, to whom it’s distributed.
Just because you have a website doesn’t mean that you are promoting your practice appropriately, and just because you’re advertising doesn’t mean that you building brand equity in your practice. In marketing, activity is not synonymous with productivity. In fact certain activities can be harmful, at least financially, and at worst inflict long-term damage to your brand and reputation.
In addition, we are now in an era of engagement, the old advertising model is just that, old and out dated. Long gone are the days when a dental practice can rely solely on one mode of advertising. It’s hyperbole, but it’s true. Long gone are the days of hiring a graphic designer or web “designer” to “put up a site.” Long gone are the days of expecting a $50,000 case, when the front desk person is chronically having a “bad day.” But most of all, long gone are the days of “my patient.” Patients today have real choice, and will seek to exercise it at any given moment, so dental practices must recognize that they must work diligently to keep your existing patients. A new dentist is simply a click away.
What I am talking about is strategy. What is your strategy to market your practice? Once your strategy is in place, what tactics will you be using? Remember the strategy is what, when, and how you will market your practice. The tactics are the specifics steps you will take to do so.
Here’s an example:
“Utilize our practice’s laser dentistry to differentiate our selves in the market place by promoting laser dentistry.”
1. Build the key marketing messages that the market needs to hear about your laser
1. What is it?
2. Why should they use it?
3. Why here?
[Remember in messaging it’s not about you or your credentials, those are features, and we need to sell benefits to the patient. So think from the patient back]
1. Message Distribution
1. Where do you distribute this message effectively? What media do you use?
2. How frequent?
3. Budget?
[Imagine if Apple has developed the iPhone or the iPad and told no one about it?]
1. Evaluation
1. What are your metrics to evaluate this strategy?
The Internet Deconstructed
The chief customer for your website is Google, and no one else – at least for the foreseeable future. Google represents 85% of search, if not more, so if Google can’t find you, then potential patients can’t find you. The main strategy and goal of your website ought to be is relevancy to Google.
Not all websites are made equal. Your website must be developed by those who understand two vital elements: Patient behavior and the medium. Hiring a “programmer” or “designer” will rarely achieve your goals. They will give you what “you” want, because they are probably good at what they do: design / programming, but chances are they have no clue about positioning your website to compete on the web. After all, if your website is not competitive, then you might as well print a brochure and call it a day.
Understanding patient behavior on the web is critical. Your website has to be written from their perspective and must support your business goals. Understanding where patients aggregate, and how market to them using various modalities on the web is crucial.
The actual writing and programming along with design have a profound impact on how you promote your site, and the costs going forward to promoting your site. Remember, like the lifetime cost of a car, you need to know what the on-going costs of promotions are going to be, and those costs are necessarily impacted by the design, writing, and programming.
Key to a Kick-butt Website
For all purposes, a website is useless unless it is doing all of the points below on some level:
• Controls your web reputation
• Is relevant to search engines
• Either supporting or enhancing your offline brand
• Is a source for patient leads
• Deliver key marketing messages on home page within 4 seconds (research tells us that patients will spend 4.5 on the home page before they decide to either leave or go the next page on your site)
• Provides the visitor the opportunity to take action
That’s your website. Now what about the opportunity to distribute your brand across the web in order to drive your practice?
Social Networking
Ah, the fools gold of dental practice marketing. I’ve seen “intensive course” being sold by self proclaimed social media experts, I’ve seen articles hyping social networking in dentistry, but what I haven’t seen are tangential results. And while the idea of social networking is appealing on so many levels, it makes little practical sense for the individual dental practice.
Multinational, billion dollar corporations with substantial resources still haven’t figured out how to monetize social networking. They have learned to distribute their brands to achieve more effective impressions, reach more people, but when you examine the research, the evidence is compelling. Most corporations recognize that they are still learning how to better convert impressions into dollars.
To start let me debunk two ideas running wild in the marketplace: First, that social networking is free; second, anyone can do it. Social networking sites are free to join, but the time it takes to “do it right” is not free, it has a real cost. Social media is time intensive, because it is a medium of engagement, so if you are not constantly engaging your network with relevant programs, then you’ve got people sitting there in a group or a fan page doing what? Second: The idea that a high school kid or college kid can do this for a dental practice boarders on the sublime. While these kids can socialize online, there’s a real difference between socializing and delivering integrated, business driven social media strategy for your practice. It’s akin to me reading an article on root canals and then attempting one! Besides who cares about social networking, isn’t the real business goal social commerce?
Your social media network is only relevant if your network keeps growing, and if you have engagement tools for those who choose to follow you on line. Moreover, recent data speaks of “social networking fatigue,” especially with respect to facebook. And while facebook’s aggregate user numbers are overwhelmingly compelling (500 million users or so), your practice’s network will be as large, and more importantly, as relevant as you make it. Aggregate numbers mean nothing without relevancy. Relevancy means nothing without engagement.
The Internet: Where the real gold can be found:
I compare the rush to social media in dentistry as well as other industries to the Internet rush in the mid-90s, which directly led us to the crash of 2000-2001. Social networking, like the Internet is being sold as an overnight road to riches. Take a step back for a moment and consider this, if it took Coca Cola 85 years to become the brand it is, what makes us think that any medium will meaningfully propel our dental practices into prosperity overnight? That makes no business sense, and there is no evidence of the same to boot.
Research from the Pew Research Center tells us that email is still the number one way to reach patients, and that healthcare, excluding pornography, is the number one searched category in the United States. So what are your search and email strategies? What is your Internet reputation as measured by the number of blogs that you have contributed? Remember blogging will enhance your Google reputation because Google loves fresh content. So the more fresh content you have on your site, the more relevant your site. By the way, if your site is less than the market expects, do not expect it to perform. If you want the large cases, and your nephew did the site, chances are your site is not speaking to the market you desire – both in design and copy. So if you’re going to venture into social networking and blogging ensure that your site is done right or else risk alienating new visits to your site.
The Internet: What’s next?
What’s next is already here. It’s mobile. Forget social networking and focus on mobile. It’s where everything will be for our lifetime. If you website is flash based, then the iPhone can’t read it. If someone sees your ad, card or brochure somewhere and gets on their mobile to find you and your site looks less than, they will leave. So being prepared for mobile strategies in my estimation is far more important and productive than involving your practice in social media.
Frequency & Reach: The Ultimate Reality
Regardless of what you do the name of the game in marketing is frequency and reach. Meaning how frequent do your messages penetrate the market place and whom do they reach. You can calculate the cost per impression by dividing the impression by the Frequency and reach take strategy and budget, otherwise, you are simply buying media. Frequency and reach without proper messaging techniques is also frequently used.
The integration of your messaging, frequency and reach are the foundation blocks on which to build a successful marketing strategy for your practice.
What Your Dental Practice Really Needs
What your practice really needs is someone focused on marketing it. Not a graphic artist, not your receptionist, but someone who understands the nuances of marketing. By the way, while it would be nice for them to know about dentistry, it’s not necessary. When American Express interviews marketing consultants and agencies, they are looking for good ideas, and rarely ask the question “what do you know about financial services?” As Albert Einstein famously said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” So look for a firm who be your advocate and fight on your behalf in the marketplace.
Also, Not Everything You Do Will Work
The old Madison Avenue adage is still in play, “I know that 50% of my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which 50%.” Yes, marketing your practice is experiential. It is unique to your situation and despite the claims of many out there, there is no cookie cutter solution to promote your practice.
If you are in business than you recognize that you need to continuously market your business. You also recognize that not all marketing strategies will work, but that doesn’t mean that you ought to stop marketing. Marketing is a business discipline and you will need to continuously develop new strategies and tactics and hone what works and what does not.
Growing your dental practice requires one basic understanding. Your dental practice is a business and must be treated like one. Patient volume growth doesn’t simply happen, it is driven by two interconnected business realities: strategy and execution.
Think of your dental practice itself as one of the great Duke University Basketball Teams, and you, doctor, are Coach K. No matter how talented your players are, no matter how good you are as a dentist, you have to execute the game strategy each and every time. If you don’t execute, you don’t give your team, in this case, your practice a chance to succeed. Think of it this way, what if Apple developed the iPhone and did not tell anyone about it? How likely would it be that the iPhone would be the juggernaut it is today? Not likely.
Marketing matters because your business cannot thrive without it, because the status quo simply isn’t good enough anymore.

Sunday August 1, 2010…
Today is Sunday August 1st. The weather has gotten much better as we enter the dog days of August. Enjoy the day and please, play safe.

Cliff Marsh
Henry Schein Dental
P.O. Box 663, 45 Rt. 46 East, Suite 605
Pine Brook, NJ 07058
tel. 201-321-7494

August 1, 2010 Posted by | Cosmetic Dentistry, Dental, Employee Management, Marketing, Practice management | Leave a comment