Auld Lang Syne rings in your ears, your waistband is a smidge tighter than it was a month ago, and those must-have toys havenât been touched in two weeks â welcome to January 2017. Whether you were sorry to see 2016 come to a close, or couldnât put a fork in it fast enough, the great Bob Dylan said it best when he sang, âThe times they are a-changingâ â as they always do.
To help you keep pace with the year ahead, the dental marketing experts at ProSites recently published a whitepaper,Â The Top 10 Trends in Dentistry & Marketing for 2017. Below, weâve highlighted only a few trends because some of us are still feeling the effects of the holiday season (gluttony is not victimless). For the entire list of trends, complete with recommendations for ways your practice can acclimate,Â download the complimentary whitepaper.
Many of us spent the last few weeks with extended family, full of thanks, sweet potato pie, and gratitude that the holidays only come once a year. And while the Top 10 Trends in Dentistry & Marketing are based on the behavior of a much larger sample size, is there any better microcosm of society than the holiday dinner table? Weâre pretty sure that the trends covered below resonate with at least some of those squeezed around Grandmaâs table.
1. Trust of authority and experts is decreasing.Â
This trend is music to your hippy uncleâs ears. Those who came of age during a time when anyone over 30 was suspect, developed a healthy skepticism of expert opinions. The difference is your uncleâs cynicism was most likely rooted in political activism, and todayâs wave of distrust stems from a combination of general apathy and 24/7 access to overzealous media outlets.
A great example is a way the misgivings around flossing took off. What began as an article from the Associated Press titled âMedical benefits of dental floss unproven,â quickly turned into a war on the dental hygiene staple. Propagated by a number of media outlets focused on driving website traffic with provocative headlines, word on the street quickly morphed into something akin to âstop flossing immediatelyâ.
So, how does a message become convoluted so quickly? Enter apathy. It wasnât that long ago that an outrageous headline was cause to look deeper. But now that weâre bombarded with the equivalent of 174 newspapersâ worth of data each day, who has the time to validate? Instead, we click âLikeâ and share or retweet and leave it to someone else to verify. Then, before you know it, dental floss is as controversial as saccharine.
Why should you care?Â As a doctor, youâre seen as an expert and if your messages are automatically cast to the wayside youâre going to have a hard time reaching prospective patients.
2. Belief in crowds and social networking is increasing.
Anyone who has ever tried to tell their 20-something sister that she doesnât know what she doesnât know can testify to the dangers of this trend.
While social media has broken communication barriers and brought news to the forefront, it has also created a self-limiting circle of influence known as confirmation bias. In an effort to provide relevant content, Facebookâs algorithm factors in user behavior. This means that the content and ads you see are based on what you like, follow and unfollow. Â Over time, people develop feeds that heavily reflect their beliefs, essentially creating a bubble of like-mindedness.
Why should you care?Â To be seen as a credible source you need to find ways to insert yourself into current and prospective patientsâ social communities.
3. Everything is going mobile.
Itâs likely your teenage cousin wasnât the only one hiding a smartphone under the holiday table this year. Our mobile devices have practically become appendages, and there is no sign of that changing in 2017. According to the Global Web Index, 80% of Internet searches are done on smartphones. We now do everything from ordering lattes to locating the nearest dentist on these convenient handheld devices.
Why should you care?Â If your website isnât optimized for mobile devices you could be alienating prospective patients before they even call your practice.
4. Video content is becoming necessary to engage your audience.
Your mother can argue against the merits of screen time all she wants, but the fact is video is engaging (which is why The Walking Dead puts your spouse in a trance). This, combined with technology constantly upping the ante, means that what once grabbed Internet searchersâ attention (hello pop-up ad) no longer registers. People are actively searching online for video content on topics ranging from proper brushing techniques to how toothpaste is made.
Why should you care?Â The Internet is crowded, but video provides an engaging inroad to current and prospective patients, with the added bonus of expanding your online reach.
So here we are – 2016 behind us and 2017 staring us in the face. As trite as it sounds, you can make this year your practiceâs most successful year yet.
Find out what else is in store for 2017 andÂ click here to download the full whitepaper,Â The Top 10 Trends and Recommendations in Dentistry & Marketing for 2017.Â