Debunking the Myth: Dentists are CHEAP
One of the first things I was told as a marketer, 15 years ago, when entering the dental arena was, “Dentists are cheap!” I have continued to hear that commentary on and off for the past decade as well, so this Dental Geek has decided to investigate this statement’s validity.
First, let me state that some dentists definitely are cheap. There are “cheap” people in every profession in the world. But to make a sweeping generalization about a profession could be very dangerous.
Urban Legend – Several years ago, the ADA Annual Meeting was in Las Vegas. There was much buzz about this, but it was mostly due to the rumor that the ADA was banned from having its annual session in Las Vegas because the taxi drivers got together and said that dentists did not tip them and that dentists do not spend their money in the casinos. If taxi drivers have that much power over the economic influx of a destination city I would be perplexed. And if the fact is true that dentists do not gamble, good for them! The Vegas we know today was not built by giving big payouts to customers.
My instinct tells me that we as marketers and manufacturers have promulgated and supported the myth that dentists are cheap through our own actions.
When I came to dentistry I was completely astonished at the number of “deals” that were in place as an incentive to buy. There was a Buy/Get scenario for just about every dental product. Buy two handpieces, get one free! Buy 15 inserts, get 30 free! Even today this practice exists on the show floor, in magazines and on sales calls.
Yes, everyone likes the word FREE and receiving free goods, but what does continually offering free goods do to a product’s brand? It cheapens it and it trains the consumer to expect it.
We as marketers have TRAINED dentists to EXPECT deals with products. You never see deals like this with high technology dental devices (CAD/CAM systems, 3D Cone Beam Systems, etc.). I also would not qualify a dentist who is spending over $100K on equipment for his/her office as “cheap”.
That being said, can we get rid of the Buy/Get offer in dentistry? Can we UNTRAIN dentists’ mindsets? What if we price products appropriately and communicate the values of the brands we represent?
The dentists I know, and I know thousands of them, are not cheap. Many of them are deal seekers though, and I believe we as marketers and manufacturers have made them that way! Who is with me in ending the Buy/Get mentality and elevating our profession to an educational, reasonably priced offering space?
What do you think? Share your thoughts with The Dental Geek!