Marketing is Like Flossing

Dental floss
Image: © 2010

It’s not subjective. It’s a proven fact. Flossing is good for you. In fact, flossing does two things: it prevents gum disease and it prevents heart disease. My dentist always says you don’t need to floss all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.

Even though you know that it keeps your teeth healthy and helps prevent heart disease, do you do it every day? Maybe. Probably not. Good habits are hard to start and even harder to keep.

Just like flossing to keep your teeth, you need to market to keep your customers. Marketing ensures customer retention and prevents other companies from acquiring your customers. We know marketing is good for our business but it’s easy to make excuses not to do it or to start and stop because the results — just like preventing gum disease and heart disease — may not be all that apparent … until it’s too late.

Healthy habits

How do you get into a daily flossing habit? Get some floss you like. There are tons of different kinds — waxed, unwaxed, flavored, unflavored, ribbon, string. You’ve got to find a kind you like or you’re not going to use it.

How do you get into a regular marketing habit? Choose some techniques you like. Just like floss, if you choose a kind of marketing technique that you don’t like, you’re not going to do it. Now buy 12 of the one you like. By buying 12, I mean commit to it for a year.

If it’s an e-mail newsletter, sign up to do 12 monthly mailings. Now, keep it in sight. Don’t make it hard to find. If you’ve committed to the monthly newsletters, schedule them on the calendar. You use your calendar like you use your toothbrush — I hope — and if it’s on the calendar, it has a better chance of getting done.

Frequent check-ups

Okay so now you’re marketing regularly. How do you stay motivated? The best way to stay motivated is through positive reinforcement. You need some positive reinforcement that your flossing is working? Go to your dentist. Every six months you’ll get to hear how great you are because you are flossing and they wished all their patients were as consistent flossers as you are.

How do you get positive reinforcement from your marketing? Be your own dentist. The dentist can tell you have been flossing because she can see the results in your mouth.

By being your own dentist when it comes to your marketing techniques, you need to check up on your efforts. You need to look at your statistics and analytics. If you’re marketing floss is an e-mail newsletter, look at your open rate, your number of subscribers, your click-through rate. Your analytics should give you the positive feedback you need to keep at it. Look at how many people you are reaching every month and how interested they are in the news and information you are bringing them. Just like flossing, you can’t keep patting yourself on the back when you’re marketing. You need that positive reinforcement to stay motivated.

If your results are not as successful as you hoped, try a new brand of marketing floss that might be more successful and you like just as much.

Eventually your marketing will become ingrained and you won’t need the dentist or the statistics to tell you what a good job you’re doing, you’ll need them to give you a wake-up call if you slip back to your non-flossing, non-marketing ways.

You want to keep your teeth? Floss. You want to keep your customers? Market.

Elizabeth Mansfield

Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at

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