Marketing is the Oxygen to Your Practice. Are You Suffocating, or Breathing Easy?

By October 10, 2013Blog

When we teach a dentist or doctor how to put research behind their marketing and earn consistent returns, they get excited.

Then the big question comes: “What does it cost?”

The practice that is going to see the most production and profits from their marketing programs sees marketing not as a cost but as a life-long investment in their practice, as the oxygen to their practice.

Our practice management friends tell us that the typical marketing investment for a startup practice is about $30,000. After that, a healthy practice earmarks 5-7% of their total production (before cost of goods and expenses) to invest in marketing on an ongoing basis.

That means an established practice earning $500,000 per year is investing somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000-$3,000 per month in marketing. While it’s no drop in the bucket, these are the practices that are seeing regular patient traffic and, in many cases, getting regular referrals from their current happy patients.  And that regular momentum much more than pays for their marketing efforts.

Of course, it’s important to condition the lungs before a marathon.

If your practice is not currently investing 5-7% into marketing, start slowly. Engage with an agency that can help you formulate a one-, three- and five-year plan for marketing.

Train for the real deal by starting with an investment of $750 for the first six months, then moving up to $1,500 for the next six months, then to $2,000, and so on. Just know that the real returns start happening at the 5-7% mark, when you’re investing enough to maintain a balanced marketing portfolio, which may include some internal marketing, some external marketing, as well as some online marketing and perhaps some offline marketing.

Can’t find the cash for even a $750 investment? You might consider starting with a cash flow specialist to help you find the dollars.

After all, it’s impossible to stay alive without oxygen.