For distributors and manufacturers, the dental market is now moving faster than ever before and with a greater emphasis on efficiency and market penetration. It’s perhaps the understatement of the decade to say that companies are now trying to position themselves in this seemingly hyper competitive space in order to better gain market share in an industry that’s forecasted to deliver about $70 billion in sales in 2013.
However, the unfathomable speed that is moving technology and media is creating a dangerous intersection for CEOs and CMOs who may be left feeling like they are drinking from a fire hydrant when it comes to marketing communications; so are now seeking more clarity on the subject than ever before. Strategic integrated marketing decisions in this space, and acting on them or not, will obviously affect brands and sales outcomes, but only if one can sufficiently separate the hype from the realities.
Below is our take on some of the realities and what dental companies and distributors can expect in 2013 in the marketing communications space. Here are our predictions for the New Year!
Companies Will Be More Mobile or Will Lag Behind
According to Hubspot, in 2012 more people bought more smartphones than PC’s. Fifty-percent of US adults own a smartphone or tablet and 66% get the news on those devices. In the second half of 2012, tablets outsold PCs. By the end of 2013, we predict mobile will play a more strategic role with companies in the dental space, including the adoption of mobile branded content platforms, mobile ads and location based marketing. Naturally, dentists have already moved in that direction, as their behavior typically follows the consumer market.
We believe the strong attachment to mobile devices will mean that those companies who move in a measured and meaningful way will also position themselves to own the mobile device behavior of their clients and salesforce.
Editorial Branded Content Will Prevail
Research tells us that branded editorial not only drives organic search to your website, but also influences the reader. Editorial content must be married with a mobile and social distribution to your company’s relevant network. Everything else is simply fluff. So companies will seek to better align their mobile and content strategies to keep their products more in reach and top of mind.
We’re never wild about business terminology, but we just came across one that fits this prediction: “Newsjacking”! Simply put, brands and companies must generate their own news and become their own publishers. Sales professionals and dentists are a smart bunch, so companies who position their content in a way that they can be perceived as a resource will win over time. Last but not least, companies will create once and publish everywhere!
More Digital Bounce to Engagement, Branding & Sales
According to a 2012 study cited by Hubspot, one-third of CMOs say more than half of their budgets have shifted from traditional to digital marketing in the past year, yet the same study showed companies with 50+ employees spend almost 20% of their marketing budgets on tradeshows. Where’s the intersection? Companies in the dental space will begin to integrate digital strategies into their tradeshow presence to carry relationships formed at tradeshows well beyond that event. Companies will go beyond email, to engagement on social and through peer-to-peer activities and brand story telling via mobile microsites. Companies who engage in this space will also see more earned media as a result of organic search.
Company Website Shall Be Responsive or Be Gone
Since all data is pointing towards the supremacy of mobile search going forward, dental companies who are seeking a competitive position in the digital space – and who isn’t? – will make their websites responsive. Since mobile devices vary in screen sizes, users will grow increasingly frustrated in viewing a traditional website on a mobile device, and if the experience is frustrating, research tell us that they will find an alternative in about 4 seconds.
Move to Big Data in Dental
Companies will look for strategic edges through integration of big data. Companies in the dental space will demand more access to fragmented data either to help access a market or make better decisions on how to drive sales.
Social Media Will Break Out of Its Silo
Brands will understand that likes and followers mean very little unless they are engaged. Companies in the space will capture mindshare by recognizing that will no longer place their brands in social media silos but develop a more integrated approach to telling their stories and engaging their audience. Companies in the dental space will use social media to drive inbound marketing strategies and not simply for branding purposes. Mobile will drive access, meaningful content and the platforms will drive engagement. Social media will evolve in the space to serve as a key platforms for brand KOLs and media engagement.
Advertising Still Useful, Not Dead, Monetize to Digital
The era of branded print and digital advertising is over in our opinion, but that doesn’t mean that the medium is dead. In fact brand print and digital advertising can be quite useful if integrated with their digital cohorts. Successful companies in the space will drive print to web, drive print to social, and drive print to mobile and more. The integration will deliver more data to help CEOs and CMOs make better decisions as they look for growth in 2013.
Finally, No doubt technology will continue to transform how brands communicate their value proposition in 2013 and beyond. It’s important to note that, regardless of technology, the basics of integrated marketing communications strategies still apply. That’s one prediction that we know will last through 2013 and beyond.