Use of Advertising Media in Private Dental Practice - A Case Report

Abstract: Today there are more than thousands of dental clinics in India, of which the main share falls on the private sector, focused on people with middle and high incomes. We live in a commodity-surplus society full of similar companies that employ people with similar basic education and qualifications, who think alike, produce similar products and services that are equal in quality and value. As a result, supply exceeds demand in commercial dentistry, so the issue of attracting clients for paid dental practice is key. There is a large number of publications in modern scientific literature on how to attract and retain patients in a particular clinic. Here is another article on this topic.


Some heads of private dental organizations believe that an optimally configured advertising campaign plays the primary role in the “promotion” of their clinic [1]. However, in our opinion, it is more expedient to start development with orientation and research actions, which consist in finding closely located competing dental clinics and offices and studying their strengths and weaknesses. In this case, SWOT analysis is appropriate. The name “SWOT” comes from the abbreviation of English words: Strengths; Weaknesses; Opportunities; Threats.

Intuitively, each of us uses SWOT analysis quite often, but few people independently bring such an assessment to its logical conclusion  The acronym SWOT was first introduced in 1963 at the Harvard Conference on Business Policy by Professor Kenneth Andrews [2]. Since SWOT analysis does not generally contain economic categories, it can be applied to any organization, individual and country to build strategies in a wide variety of areas. This is a fairly simple and popular technique that allows you to assess the consequences of achieving the commercial goals of dental organizations of all levels, in the identification of which it is important to be guided by knowledge, forming an understanding of the surrounding competitive environment [3]. Intuitively, each of us uses SWOT analysis quite often, but few people independently bring such an assessment to its logical conclusion [4].

Aims & Objectives

The aim of the study is to establish patterns in the use of advertising strategies by dental clinics, developed on the basis of a SWOT analysis and aimed at attracting patients.

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Material and methods

To obtain information, we conducted a survey of 251 heads of dental clinics in India using a specially prepared questionnaire. To be successful, a clinic manager must be able to answer a number of important questions:

  1. Who is our current clientele?
  2. What are our potential patients?
  3. How many are there?
  4. Where they are?
  5. How can our clinic reach them most effectively?
  6. Where do they currently receive the services we are ready to offer them?
  7. Can we offer them something that our competitors cannot offer them? if so, what?
  8. How can we convince them that they should do business with us?

Further, using the questionnaire method, we assessed the use of various advertising media by the heads of private dental firms.
The statistical analysis was done with descriptive statistics only using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS v 26,IBM for Windows XP). Fisher’s and Speaman’s correlation coefficient was calculated.


As part of testing the hypothesis about the use of SWOT analysis by the heads of dental clinics and the corresponding understanding of the concept of the “key” patient, we asked to list competitors and indicate their strengths and weaknesses. The results are shown in Table No. 1.

Table No. 1. Understanding of competitors by the heads of dental clinics who took part in the study.

When asked to describe the profile of typical, desirable patients that the firm aims to attract, responses were similar to the question about competitors. The data obtained is presented in table 2.

Table 2. Understanding of patients by the heads of dental clinics who took part in the study.

Further, using the questionnaire method, we assessed the use of various advertising media by the heads of private dental firms. As a result of the research, a direct relationship of the average degree (r = 0.45) was established.


What exactly is SWOT analysis?

In order to perform a SWOT analysis, a critical assessment of these points is necessary to develop an action plan for the future development of the dental business.

Strengths mean what is exceptionally good. The strength of the clinic may be some advantage of the clinic, such as location, high-quality equipment, unique services, opening hours, professional level, and more.

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Weaknesses are those that reduce patient satisfaction, staff morale, reputation, and productivity. This is something that should not be done at work: you cannot make patients wait long, impose treatment, etc., as well as what the clinic lacks: staff development, networking with doctors, market research. These are overlooked aspects such as prevention, retreatment systems, layout and design.

Opportunities are something that the clinic is not currently doing, but could be done to increase the income and growth of the clinic.

Threats are anything that can get in the way of achieving your goals.

Having correctly analyzed all the factors and compiled a SWOT matrix, you can clearly see all the possibilities and strategies for the development of a dental clinic. Having carried out such a detailed analysis, you immediately see the losses [5]. Having received and brought together such valuable information, you can use it to decide whether to start implementing a particular advertising campaign or not, whether this promotion will help attract the desired number of patients or not.

Correctly analyzing all the factors and the composition of the SWOT-matrix, one can clearly see the opportunities and development strategies a dental clinic, as well as its losses  if economic goal still has not been achieved and the results fell short of wasted advertising allocations, it is necessary to go back to the preceding paragraphs and do more in-depth analysis of the market microconjuncture with an increase in the number of factors influencing the patient’s decision-making process about choosing a dental clinic.

When we asked to list competitors and indicate their strengths and weaknesses, most heads of private practices were aware of their competitors, their advantages and disadvantages. Awareness of competitors also indicated the presence of a strategy as a management tool in the activities of the leaders of the studied dental firms (Table 1).

In general as seen in Table 2, the interviewed managers pay sufficient attention to the analysis of the clientele of their clinics. Moreover, one can make the assumption that there is a certain strategy focused on attracting a particular category of patients.

Clinics with a limited number of loyal customers, forced to rely on non-standard prices and discounts to attract customers, must have a high level of advertising.  The set goals of any advertising program determine the use of a particular strategy. Should a clinic have high or medium advertising or no advertising at all?

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A firm with an established clientele that occasionally uses discounts to attract patients should have a mid-range advertising policy. And finally, a clinic with an established clientele, a certain reputation, which for one reason or another does not want to expand its activities, can use a so-called ad-free strategy.

The heads of clinics, who clearly represent the portrait of their “key” client and clearly know potential competitors (SWOT analysis), used a whole range of optimally selected advertising means and methods (lectures, conversations, videos, videos, booklets, price lists, etc.). P.). Other executives preferred one, in their opinion, the most effective advertising move (booklets, brochures, etc.). At the same time, those of them who were unable to describe the portrait of typical patients, to whom the firm is oriented, the priority choice was made on advertising means.


Thus, we can conclude that the use of SWOT analysis plays a decisive role in drawing up a program of promotional activities, contributing to a more accurate approach to the target audience of the clinic, thereby leveling, according to the Pareto law 20/80 [6], the dispersion of material resources for patients who are not interested in the services of this clinic.

Attracting new customers will always be an exciting topic. Perhaps, within a year, the advertising market will expand, new, more creative tools will appear, the preliminary condition for the effective use of which will undoubtedly be a previously conducted SWOT analysis.


  1. Boyko V.V., Mchelidze T. Sh., Kuraskua A.A. Advertising in dentistry // Institute of Dentistry. – 1998, No. 1.
  2. Mchelidze T. Sh., Gusev O. A. Advertising activity in dentistry // Health Economics. 1998-1999, No. 12-1.
  3. Ball R. Practical marketing for dentistry // British Dental J. – 1996 r. Vol. 180, no. 10, p. 385-388.
  4. Cortland L. Bove, William F. Arex. Modern advertising. – Publishing House “Dovan”, 1995.
  5. Bob Levoy. 201 secret of successful work of a private dental clinic. – M .: Medpress-inform, 2006.
  6. Kimmel K. // Vielfalt der Moglichkeiten wissenschaftlich und arbeitspraktisch betrachtet. An neuen perspektiven des denkens und handelns fuhrt keinweg vorbei // Dental Echo. – 1997 r. – Bd. 67, no. 7.

Further Reading

  1. Mindak M. // Selling the smile: marketing dentistry // FDI World – 1998 r. No. 2, p. 14-18.
  2. Vilfredo Pareto. Cours d’Economie Politique Professe a I’Universite de Lausannt. Vol. G 1897; Vol. II 1897.


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