Sept. 15, 2004
Assignment #2: 1-800-BEST-DDS
Statement of Explanation
1 800 BEST DDS is a three-in-one enterprise: a product, a referral-service company and a phone number. The company is based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, where Dr. Baldev Sandhu has been acting as CEO since July 2003. When he first signed on, the company had almost no callers and was hardly able to compete with the much-larger 1 800 DENTIST service. Since 1 800 BEST DDS is smaller and has fewer funds, it had to come up with a gimmick.
So Dr. Sandhu had a special, peroxide-rich toothpaste created for the company. He used the company’s name as the product’s name and began distributing it both to his own clients and to retail stores. The whitening toothpaste not only won over customers on its own merits but because of what it hinted at—the message that “if you want the same smile you get from our toothpaste to be permanent, call our number or visit our Web site and we’ll refer you to a dentist that we’ve personally approved.”
Contacting 1 800 BEST DDS, whether by phone or by Internet, allows interested customers to search for cosmetic dentists near them. Such dentists often charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but for those who want it and can afford it, it is an ideal way to find a good cosmetic dentist. The company would likely appeal to people such as models or actors, businesspersons or anyone else with a lot of exposure to the public and the media. Anyone can make use of the services, however. And the services are guaranteed to be from professionally certified dentists—1 800 BEST DDS personally evaluates each of their dentists before accepting them to their referral list.
Whether a person simply
wants a brighter smile or actually has noticeable imperfections, they are
invited to try 1 800 BEST DDS’ services. The Web site discusses all sorts of
examples of cosmetic procedures generally offered, from fillings and inlays to
teeth straightening to gumline recountouring. Sometimes the person simply wants
to look their best; sometimes the procedures are needed to prevent more serious
problems. People are not required to buy the toothpaste before getting a
referral, or vice-versa, although the coupon included on the back of the
toothpaste boxes is likely to encourage some to make that appointment. The
sooner the people make the call, the better, because with 1 800 BEST DDS’
growing number of referrals, it may gradually become harder to get an
appointment without having to wait a long time.
Outlining a Public-Relations Document
The goal of 1 800 BEST DDS is to draw clients for selected dentists (whom they approve and represent) everywhere while selling strong, high-quality toothpaste at a reasonable price—with the company’s name and number right on the tube. It is not meant to try to pressure people into spending a lot of money on procedures; rather, customers can try out (and continue to purchase, if they wish) the toothpaste. If they feel that they are in need of a stronger treatment than just the toothpaste, they may visit or call 1 800 BEST DDS, where they can quickly find a cosmetic dentist near them.
The fact that the company refers customers to cosmetic dentists is not meant to exclude those who cannot afford expensive procedures. Rather, it is simply the company’s belief that those who would be most interested in such surgery are the ones who could afford it. Any individual is welcome, of course, but 1 800 BEST DDS would likely be sought after by people who are high-profile or otherwise concerned about their appearance and reputation. People might include business executives, fashion models, commercial actors or anyone else in a recognized/prominent role as a public figure.
Of course, 1 800 BEST DDS doesn’t think that anyone sits around constantly worrying whether or not their teeth look good. In the business world and entertainment industry alike, people are concerned about a lot of things. For some, it is holding a position of leadership in a corporation and having to manage all the complexities involved. Some people are involved in publicity and public relations, like spokespeople and have to worry about their company’s image. Others have to deal with their own image, whether on-camera or otherwise. And everyone has their finances to take care of; they have to be successful regardless of what they are doing.
This is not to say that people don’t worry about the endless stream of day-to-day issues, whether personal or international. News stories on all levels often have some impact on a person’s life, to some degree. There are a thousand and one matters, worries and events affecting people in all types of occupations. Again, however, in a society where looks are usually the first thing we notice about someone, it’s important to look professional before we are considered such.
We try to address the concern of personal appearances. We know that when people want to improve, they look for many factors: quality, a good price, reliability and availability. As a company, our goal is to see that our customers get what they are looking for and nothing less. For quality and reliability, we examine every one of our potential dentists on an individual basis. Care is taken to verify that they are certified and we even personally visit their offices to evaluate the quality of the work for ourselves. While 1 800 DDS does not claim that its dentists are inexpensive, we do guarantee that the customer receives what they expect—and their money’s worth. Additionally, a coupon for $50 off the first appointment can be found on our toothpaste boxes. Regarding availability, customers may either do a search by zip code on the 1 800 BEST DDS Web site, or if they call the number directly, they will be directly connected to a cosmetic dental office near them by direct routing technology.
By and large our best means of self-promotion is on our toothpaste. Because we are smaller than some of our similar competitors, we currently do not advertise on television. Print ads may be found in some magazines, and retail stores that carry our toothpaste may use standard in-store displays to advertise. We would like to expand both our product line and the number of retail chains that carry our merchandise. Additionally, if possible, small promotional stands or booths may be periodically put up at malls, supermarkets or other such locations where people can learn about what we offer and take samples. Our office also gives toothpaste samples. Again, though, the toothpaste itself—both the box and the tube—are our chief means of advertisement. The company name also refers to the Web site and phone number, making it easy to remember. 1 800 BEST DDS may put out press releases relating to new developments.
It is advantageous that the company, phone number and Web site are all the same, which is like promoting three parts in one. How we deliver the message is intriguing, in a way, because it is designed to be a multifaceted approach. Each of the different mediums are interrelated. For example, when someone hears about the company by word-of-mouth, they may go to the Web site. If so, they can ask for a free sample tube of the toothpaste; if they actually visit one of our represented dental offices, they also carry our toothpaste. We know that we are attempting to appeal to a lot of people in important positions, including in the corporate world, so promoting our Web site has drawn attention. Satisfied clients are encouraged to tell others about 1 800 DDS, which they are usually more than happy to do.
While supermarkets and malls may not seem like the way to attract our target audiences, they do indirectly; CEOs and models don’t shop at “ordinary” places like that much, but it can draw media attention and the large crowds also help “spread the news.” Even though a lot of people can’t afford expensive dental surgery, they can afford the reasonably priced toothpaste. Press releases also prove effective marketing tools and a company that is making significant growth, such as ours, has begun to catch the attention of bigger companies and clients. It is our hope that as we expand, we will be able to explore new advertising avenues.