Developing Your Ideal Patient Persona

Meet Theresa. Theresa is 44 years old and lives in a quiet suburb. She is a CPA at a successful accounting firm, where she earns $85,000 a year. The firm also provides full medical and partial dental coverage. She is married with two children, ages 10 and 12. She considers herself a ‘foodie’ and enjoys exploring local cuisine, constantly combing through local publications and food blogs for restaurant reviews and announcements. Bonus points if they have a good wine selection, as she considers herself an amateur sommelier.

As she’s gotten older, she has begun experiencing more oral health issues. Her enamel has begun to wear away, accelerated by years of rich food and wine. To make matters worse, her teeth have begun to yellow, making her feel self-conscious. She meets with most of her big clients face-to-face and wants her smile to be as spotless as possible.

There’s one more important thing you should know about Theresa: She’s not real.

Theresa is an ideal patient persona (IPP), a tool used by dental practices to help focus their marketing efforts and target the people they’d like to serve as patients. Practices can build an IPP by conducting interviews with their best and favorite patients, allowing them to repeat continued success. A practice might also like to transition into serving a new type of patient, in which case they can construct an IPP based on the characteristics of the patients they’d like to attract.

Theresa has partial dental coverage, which will help get her in the door, while helping the practice earn more when she pays the remainder of her bill out of pocket (which is not a problem thanks to her stable income). Due to her client-facing work, she might also be inclined to pursue non-essential cosmetic procedures like teeth-whitening or veneers. She also has a husband and two children, whom she may refer if she is pleased with the work she receives.

She sounds like a great patient, but how can the practice reach her? They can start by advertising with the local publications and food blogs she reads to find the restaurants she visits. The more comprehensive an ideal patient persona, the more targeted a marketing approach can be. And the more targeted a marketing approach is, the less money is wasted throwing strategies at the wall to see what sticks.

Stay tuned to our blog for more industry tips and insights.

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