Good Marketing is a Moral Imperative

August 16, 2021
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I would argue that not teaching marketing principles in medical and dental schools is an ethical failure.  And the accrediting institutions like the AMA and ADA are complicit.  State licensing boards who require you to fulfill competency mandates also are guilty.

Just ask the following questions:

1. Do you deliver a service that TRULY helps people?
2. Do you belong to a community or group who could REALLY benefit from a process, procedure, therapy, or service that you offer?
3. Do you feel that you are the most qualified person to provide those therapies, procedures or services to people who truly need it?

If you answered YES to these three questions, then I maintain that you have a professional, moral, and ethical responsibility to learn as much about marketing as possible.

It’s a simple moral equation:  People need my help; I can give it and I am better at giving it than others.  So, if I don’t do everything I can to get what I have to offer to the people who need it, I am missing the mark.  And missing the target is how the word SIN came about.

Teaching how to do something that is a communal or societal necessity, while not teaching the skills necessary to communicate its value and benefit is a glaring deficiency. Sure, the ADA mandates teaching ‘practice management’ as I did at Columbia and now at Temple.  But they say nothing about marketing.

There’s no better example of how this marketing deficiency has played out than in the current Pandemic.  The lack of people’s abilities to effectively communicate to various communities has resulted in the void being filled in by the media, social influencers, and non-professionals.  The result is that half the country doesn’t trust the other half.

What’s the use of knowing that something can help people and not being able to deliver it?

As we have seen, the impact can be devastating.

Here’s an example of excellent communication.



This video of Dr. Catherine O’Neal pleading to her community to get vaccinated and mask up when appropriate.   Agree with her or not, she is a great communicator and a perfect example of how healthcare authorities could communicate or market their ideas, if only they were taught how.  For Dr. O’Neal, it obviously comes naturally.  Most of us aren’t born with that gene.

The purpose of marketing is to:

1. deliver a message


2. stimulate some action

That’s why educating people accomplishes only ½ the goal of marketing.  Alone, #1 or educating someone might not get them to act.  And if what you are providing is something they truly need, then getting them to act is an imperative.

What did Dr. O’Neal do in the video to effectively communicate?  She employed good marketing skills.

How can YOU do the same in your practice?  

How can YOU stimulate the same level of ATTENTION she does?

How can YOU build EMPATHY?

How can YOU tell a compelling STORY?

How can YOU create a sense of URGENCY?

How can YOU stimulate ACTION?

If you do any marketing, doing it properly is crucial to get the best return on your investment of time, effort, and money.

Because most Dentist know NOTHING about marketing, they are ready prey for those who are themselves good marketers.  They know how to do all the above (at least they should).

But judging from most dental websites, even most so-called “marketing experts” have little knowledge of the basics of good marketing when it comes to attracting dental patients to YOUR practice.

A ‘One Size Fits All’ solution is what most marketing/websitecompanies sell, even the ones promoted by some of the large Dental Organizations. They accept any dentist regardless of whether they already have another dentist in the same market.  Sure, they might plug in some custom pieces, photos or even videos.  But they often know little about what makes YOUR practice UNIQUE, what we call your UVP (Unique ValueProposition).  That’s the reason someone would choose YOU over any other dentist.


If that singular question is not answered within 20 seconds of a prospective patient visiting your website…your website is not functioning optimally, you’re losing potential patients, and your money isn’t working as hard for you as it should.

Look at your website.  Put yourself in your ideal prospect’s mind (that’s what all good marketing should do).

Does it answer the above question?
Would you know that this practice is any better than any other?

Or, is it just another cookie-cutter website.

Do you not offer the same services?
Do you also offer Expertise, Comfort, Comprehensive,Excellence, Friendly, Reliable, like everyone else?
Do you compete on price, offering the lowest cost of entry?  With rising costs and lower profit margins, good luck with that one.

Want a professional analysis?

Yes, I’m a dentist too.  But I also studied marketing with Dan Kennedy since 1984 and worked for the Madison Avenue firm of Sudler & Hennessey, who represented Colgate (they were actually on Park Avenue).  I guess you could call me a Mad Men Dentist.  My patients would probably agree.

Look, you’re spending good money on your website.  Shouldn’t it perform optimally?

I can evaluate your website and issue a report with recommended modifications that you can take back to your web person and request that they make the appropriate changes.  And if they can’t, I can steer you towards several, small companies that can help you get the results you deserve.


If the modifications I suggest gets you even ONE single new patient, the investment will pay a 10X dividend.

Do you even have a way of knowing which patients come from your website and WHY they chose you?

Just that information alone will enable you to identify what works and what doesn’t.  And there are simple ways for you to get that information that can be incorporated into the website and your phone answering process.  But that’s a whole other story that we cover elsewhere.


This is NOT an optimization or keyword analysis.  This in NOT a critique of the esthetics.  This is a review of how your site communicates to an audience.  It’s an analysis of the messaging.  In short, once someone comes to your site, this analysis will help you get them to do what you want them to…PICK UP THE PHONE TO RESERVE AN APPOINTMENT.

Note the little nuanced change from ‘schedule’ to RESERVE?  That’s purposefully done because people usually associate reservations with something pleasant like restaurants.  This is just one of many types of recommended changes you’ll hear more about when your website is analyzed.

The summer is almost over.  Optimal New Patient attraction time is soon upon us.  Get your website analyzed and maximized to get you the new patients you’re spending good money to attract and that are the necessary fuel to keep your practice growing.

You can’t afford to hire a Madison Avenue firm for your marketing.  You can’t hire focus groups and do marketing research.  You’re not Colgate.  But you can afford this offer and get the benefit of the same expertise I gave the Big Boys.

A $189 investment can easily supercharge the $10,000+ marketing investment you’ve probably already made. Make what you already have work better for you.  Optimize your investment.

Your marketing should be generating revenue for you every day.  If it’s not, the maybe there’s something amiss?


To your excellent clarity and success,


Practice Success Insights

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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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