I found my calling in TV news while I sorted thousands of Mother’s Day contest entries as part of a freelance gig with “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee.” It was April 1995. I was 21, fresh out of college at Hofstra University, in possession of a communications degree but unsure where my education might take me.
As I sorted entries, I noticed a commotion around the monitors at the end of the room. A government building in Oklahoma City had been bombed.
I saw the unedited video of the destruction and heard the TV reporters talking off-camera as they prepared to share the stories of the victims and the heroes, the shock of the nation, and the motivations of the bomber.
It was in that moment that I decided to become a journalist.
I didn’t expect to make only $6 an hour and need to wait tables on the side, but that’s what it took during those early years that I worked in television news. I was always behind-the-scenes, first as a production assistant, then moving my way up to news producer. I have always been one of those Type-A personalities you hear about, and TV news helped me channel those instincts in a challenging, fast-paced work environment.
As a news producer, I had a front-row seat to some of the biggest stories of our generation. I was working at the CBS affiliate in Boston when 9/11 happened. The world changed that day, and I knew I had to make a personal change as well.
In early 2002, I left television news and joined the team at The Tampa Tribune newspaper. Eight years later, with the newspaper industry in decline and a growing family to support, I made the leap into marketing and landed a position at a DSO in Tampa, Fla.
Following a Passion for Helping Others
Some of my journalism colleagues thought I was crazy. How could my experience in news translate into dental marketing? Turns out, it was easy.
As the marketing director at a dental support organization with 173 offices and then at a DSO with 265 locations, I had the opportunity to work with hundreds of dentists and the ability to reach thousands of people who needed their skills.
Marketing is story-telling, and I love telling the stories of incredible dentists and the people they help. The skills I developed in television, print, and online journalism are the same ones needed to create compelling marketing collateral, blogs, web copy, social media posts, and our doctors’ online reputation.
We taught our team members how to ask happy patients to post a Google review from their cell phones before they left the office. We also encouraged our patients to share selfies from our dental offices. While it was nice if they gave us permission to share it on our Facebook pages, it was even more beneficial when they posted it on theirs. Word-of-mouth advertising has truly entered the digital age.
Identifying Missed Opportunities
There was one piece of the puzzle that was still hard to solve: tying ROI to our marketing efforts. That’s when I met Amol Nirgudkar, the founder and CEO of Patient Prism, a call tracking system that incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) to identify lost call opportunities.
I’ve used most call tracking systems in the dental industry, and this one blew me away. Not only did it allow me to see which marketing efforts were leading to new patient calls, it tracked the services that patients asked about on the phone, the revenue associated with those services, and whether the appointment was booked.
Then, it did something no other call tracking service did: It sent an alert whenever a potential new patient was not booked with a clear summary of why not, a short training video on how the call could have been handled differently, and the information needed to call back the person to try to recapture the lost opportunity.
I fell in love with the service because of how it could help my dental offices and then joined the Patient Prism team as Vice President of Marketing so I could have an even bigger impact. We’re helping dental offices all over the country grow – and helping more patients get the dental care they need.
My career path has made several turns, from journalism to dental marketing to business-to-business marketing. At the core, though, my inspiration has stayed the same: the compulsion to tell great stories, and the desire to help people improve their lives.