Today we had the pleasure of a special guest, Carlos Hidalgo. He is the CEO of Annuitas Group (www.annuitas.com), a company that specializes in B2B marketing for fortune 500 companies. Carlos himself has been recognized as one of the 50 Most Influential People within Sales Lead Management for the past 3 years. It was great having his vast experience within the marketing field to share with us.
We get many phone calls from people regarding how to best attract or market to new patients, so this is a very hot topic within dentistry. Carlos made an interesting comment really early on in the discussion based on the marketing he has had sent to him, he said that it appeared that most of the marketing being sent appeared to be what the doctor would be interested in vs. what a patient might be interested in. Meaning, we need to understand what motivates a patient to either go to a new dentist or change dentists. Often many doctors assume the patient is simply looking for a deal, and of course some are. Carlos still keeps in touch with his dentist of 20 years ago and said if he lived within an hour and half, would travel that far to still be his patient. His old dentist obviously left quite an impression on him. I found it interesting that he didn't comment at all on his current dentist and thus assume perhaps this person hasn't left as much of an impression on him. We all understand that it is truly a relationship business, the question is how can we communicate this via marketing to our prospective patients? Carlos, felt that the message was the key to any successful marketing campaign.
Mr. Hidalgo also made an interesting comment about people seeking a referral via Social Media. I thought this was pretty profound. As prevalent as social media is, people are still seeking a referral, thus it is still a referral based business. Of course in some cases people do pick a doctor via just a marketing piece, but I would contend that the majority of the time we still need to seek a referral, perhaps via social media.
Yet another profound comment he made was that no one channel should be the entire marketing plan. As he put it, "don't put all your eggs into one basket." I know far too many people that are planning and staking their marketing future on Facebook and while I think it can be a good resource, if your read the article I posted on my blog last week, it can't be your only outlet!
We then turned toward a leadership conversation as clearly he has a lot of experience in this area. Often I hear from doctors that they love doing dentistry but struggle with the leadership side of their business. My question to him was to describe his journey from a very small company to a much larger one and what advice would he give to anyone going through the same journey? When he started his own business, it was very small at the time and as he put it, he did it all. What he has had to learn was to delegate and actually relinquish the control in the process. He used to struggle with really letting go of the control of certain tasks and now enjoys seeing his people grow within their skills and blossom into more than they were before. One challenge he experienced in this process was to check his ego. I suspect what he meant by that was he used to feel that he was the best at every job. Clearly as his company grew, he could no longer keep that attitude and has had to hire people to replace himself for many of these responsibilities. His advice to all doctors was to check your egos and lead your team rather than doing it all yourself.
It was an absolute pleasure to have him on the show and perhaps we can bring him on again with a more pointed conversation about marketing dental practices. It would be interesting to actually review some marketing pieces and essentially do a case study for a client, but that is a topic for another day.