Market Focus - Dentists: Marketable Smiles
Because dental practices are businesses—and typically small businesses—dentists purchase office equipment and supplies like chairs, cabinetry, copy paper, electronics and lighting. “If you think of anything that can go in an office, the dentist has some hand in it—though when it comes to purchasing, the dental assistant will make a lot of decisions,” says Kevin Henry, DDS, managing editor of Dental Economics magazine.
According to Jennifer Felling, account executive at the list management and brokerage firm Statlistics, dentists are also a good market for business subscriptions and financial offers. TIME and Newsweek are frequent users of the Statlistics dental files. Other frequent users include manufacturers of uniforms and shoes, and gift businesses like Harry & David.
Dentists also buy consumables such as cotton balls, bibs, gloves and masks. And then there are major dental purchases, says Henry, like cone beam technology, which lets dentists take panoramic X-rays of the entire skull, including sinus cavities and teeth.
Because dentistry is physical work, dentists are interested in products that allow them to work more comfortably, such as ergonomic drills with small heads, small cameras, dental equipment with easy-to-hold grips and ergonomic dentist stools.
Outside of the dental category, high-end travel is big. “We find travel is the No. 1 thing that dentists and their staff will spend money on,” says Henry. “They go to places like Hawaii and Las Vegas for continuing education.”
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Ready to reach this healthy market? Henry says that print and direct mail trump e-mail marketing. “We found that dentists are a little slower on the technology curve than a lot of their compatriots are,” he says. “There are still a ton of our readers who are using AOL. And, until recently, we had quite a chunk of people who were still on dial-up.” In fact, Dental Economics is in the process of offering digital publications—and finding that an overwhelming majority of its readers want print.