It is much easier to market orthodontics to both tweens and adults than it was in the past… especially if you understand that tweens today do not want to be treated like kids. The average age for a tween patient is 11-14, in full treatment. Homework is done on computers, projects presented with PowerPoint, ipods growing out their ears and cell phones in their backpacks. They are 12 going on 20…which is a young adult mindset.
When targeting perspective patients, create marketing tactics that target both tech savvy tweens and adults. In my experience…if you treat all patients like young intelligent adults…its a win, win all the way around.
For example, the majority of tweens are no longer impressed with run of the mill theme days and many are embarrassed by activities that draw attention to themselves. Decorations and posters taped throughout the office that remind them of grade school are definitely old hat. You may hear a mom commenting on how cute it looks…but most tweens won’t react one way or another. If tweens aren’t proactively commenting on your efforts…it’s back to the drawing board. And adult patients are definitely uncomfortable when walking into an office that reminds them of a pediatrician’s office. The entire team should listen and watch what is going on around you, discuss your findings, and make changes, if needed, the next time around.
Presentation is everything…
There is a happy medium. Adults understand that the majority of patients in your practice are kids and will accept and enjoy a more playful atmosphere, if done correctly. This includes not only the decor in your office but all your marketing activities. If you can’t do it up right, sometimes you are better off not doing it at all. It’s not the quantity that creates reasons for patients to talk about you but the quality of the presentation. Don’t think kids, think playful adults!
If you are going to have theme days, make them worth your time and effort. Halloween…put up “remarkable” decorations and dress up to blow away all ages. They don’t have to be elaborate… just original. Buy quality decorations to add to your collection every year when they go on sale. Don’t put them up too early or leave them up too long. Theme days aren’t for everyone…just those patients scheduled at the time. Give out roses on valentines day to everyone that comes into the office along with a few chocolates… including the guys. Offer prizes for contests that appeal to all ages and make them EXTRAordinary to create buzz.
I have also found that many practices still do not take advantage of their treatment results as a component of the office decor. Adding patient portraits, both tweens and adults, as verifiable proof of treatment expertise will grab the attention of all age groups, increase their comfort level and gain trust. Be sure to include all nationalities. Digital photos of before and after treatment results, fun times in the office, team bios and community activities… presented on flat screen monitors mounted in your reception area… also grabs attention. Who doesn’t like to look at photos? Especially if they are directed towards the reason for the visit.
All patients, no matter what age, are in your office for one reason…straight teeth. So create an atmosphere that promotes the beautiful smiles you provide and makes them want to get started with treatment right now. Showcasing your results throughout different areas of the office is of interest to all ages and a great way to redecorate. Intermingle photos of the doctor and his family along with other interests. Give your office a personality. Venture outside your decorating comfort zone.
Take a look around your office and eliminate items that only target one age group and replace them with items that are of interest to all ages (keep a toy area for small children). Doing the same thing over and over again will never get you better results, especially with today’s tweens who are like no generation that has come before.
You don’t have to think outside the box… think inside the box… and take it up a notch or two when marketing to all age groups.