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Interview Your Dentist

| March 27, 2013

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

cookewriterBLOCK ISLAND — Assume that, in meetings you’re not invited to, tough decisions are on the table. And as cutbacks continue, it’s real smart for on-air personalities to seem real valuable to the sales department. If your endorsement spots move product, bean counters view you as “revenue,” not just expense.

Savvy hosts are pro-active, not just reactive. They THINK sales, spotting prospects everywhere, and tipping-off the sales department.

Next time you slide-into the dental chair, you might chat-up your doc…at least until he or she numbs you.

Though laser eye surgeons are still using radio, the category has cooled, as the market saturated, and with demand being met. Prediction: Dentists will be worth even more to radio than laser eye surgeons have been, for five reasons:

1. They need new patients. In the two generations since Baby Boomers squirmed into the chair, dentistry has evolved. Amalgam fillings were profitable work in the 1960s. As fluoride and better care have reduced cavities, dentists’ new opportunities are…

2. Catering to cowards. Dentists need new mouths, and lots of mouths need a dentist…but are embarrassingly overdue, because they’re frightened. Copy I hear in my travels is for docs who refer to their practice as “Sedation Dentistry.” You-know-you’re-overdue-and-you-know-why. Copy speaks of “A SINGLE PILL” that the doc has you swallow, very unthreatening. Come in, we’ll knock you out, and when you wake up, your teeth will look great.

3. Teeth whitening. You’ve seen the infomercials (including Vanna White’s); and over-the-counter products (with huge margins) have exploded, as coffee, red wine, and smoking have taken their toll. We all want to look better, and Boomers are already spending big on cosmetic surgery. More and more, I’m seeing/hearing/reading ads for Botox docs, and other outpatient turn-back-the-clock procedures. When I asked my dentist about over-the-counter products like the $40+ Crest White Strips, he unwittingly ad-libbed the ad for me: “WHAT I HAVE IS THREE TIMES STRONGER.”

4. Neither of these procedures requires the capital investment that laser eye surgeons had to make. If laser surgeons liked the way radio lined-up people to pay for expensive hardware, dentists will love radio because they don’t have to. Sedation is simply a pill; and my dentist tells me that the whitening procedure consumes a per-patient kit, which itself has a nice mark-up.

5. Like the laser surgeons, dentists aren’t savvy media buyers obsessed with the numerator and denominator of ratings points. Dentists are more interested in your audience geography than its size. I kept my Washington-area dentist when I moved back to New England, because he’s GREAT, and because business brings me to the DC area often. But he tells me that I am the exception. When he recently relocated, my doc chose a new location convenient to his patients. Dentists are techies, often intrigued by amoeba-shaped coverage maps.

Interview your dentist, and you’ll hear him/her speak in copy points. And I’ll bet that you will also notice how much he/she enjoys talking about his/her work. Heck, that’s Sales 101: Get the proud prospect talking about what he/she does. Dentists seem especially appreciative.

Try it. Then, ask: “How would you like us to tell that story on the radio, to tens of thousands of people?”

And about “her:” Many women prefer doctors who are women. It might make sense to use a lady doc’s voice in her spot.

Now, rinse?


See, hear, read more from consultant Holland Cooke at and follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke. Meet Holland Cooke at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday June 6.

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Category: Sales