The consumer landscape is going through a period of rapid and transformative change – and patients are no exception to this. With this shift, the word ‘experience’ has been amplified beyond all imagination.
At the 2019 Align Technology Growth Summit in Berlin, Ken Hughes, Leading Consumer, Shopper Behaviouralist and Playologist, told delegates that to achieve growth in this futuristic era they have to: “Push their way into ‘our world’, not be left standing in ‘my world’, or worse still, ‘the world’.”
Hughes challenged the delegates to ask: “Am I running a 95% physical business? Am I simply treating my work as transactions?”
“One of your strongest assets,” he said, “and most likely hugely untapped, is the capacity to drive business by bringing peer-to-peer conversations to life; from the moment patients leave your practice. You need to be part of their world. If no-one is talking about you, does your business even exist?”
Hughes said: “It’s now about complete connection with the consumer outside the treatment room.”
So, the race for relevance is on. Drawing on consumer examples that have made sea-changes in their business propositions and communication strategies, Hughes encouraged delegates to look outside the world of dentistry to change their thinking in this ‘phygital’ world.
And things will continue to change, Hughes warned, drawing on the concept of having to push harder against the downward forces of natural change to achieve the ‘upward push’ of applied change to grow business in this new era.
An entire generation now use Google Maps and Uber. But smartphone app addict or not, every generation is surrounded by digital technology. It’s up to the dentist to use it “to surprise and delight them”, said Hughes.
Thinking outside the box, examples of where businesses fail to reach out successfully are helpful too. Hughes said that many businesses, including household names, are still failing to create relevant and compelling consumer story arcs. As an advertiser on YouTube to engage effectively your message needs to work in 30 seconds. Don’t, Hughes said: “Be a ‘Skip Ad’ advertiser.” Or indeed a ‘Skip Post’ communicator.
This is a thought process that applies to every form of dialogue. Storytelling is an art that’s vital to drive business growth. ‘Listen’ to social media to understand the conversation style and then define the practice ‘personality’. Dentists should ask: “Is my story authentic?”
Hughes invited delegates to consider McDonalds and KFC versus the street food model. Ask yourself: “What have I done to be different today? How do I bring my story to life?” said Hughes. Bring selfies and other personalised communications into your daily work and post them on the apps most likely to resonate with patients and a wider audience of potential consumers.
So, it’s the smart-thinking dentists who define a fully engaging and adaptive strategy who will achieve future growth. These are the practitioners who will be victors not victims in this exciting but challenging new era.