Date: October 1, 2015
Session 11 – Behind the Scenes
Listen to the Podcast here:
Session 11: Behind the Scenes. Inside Baseball on Demographics
Hello. My name is Scott McDonald and welcome to Doctor Demographics. I started this company nearly 30 years ago. In that time I have been a pioneer in professional practice demographics. Let me answer an obvious question: Why choose us?
Because we are among the oldest and largest demographic companies serving professional practices, we have been the targets of comparison. Some companies say they are cheaper. Some claim to be faster. Some claim that they have data we don’t. I just thought a quick video that explains what makes us different from the competition might be in order.
- We don’t just do data. We do analysis. This is a pretty big point. There are lots of places you can get demographic data. They may have pretty charts and even offer some maps. To be honest, we are likely getting out data from the same sources. That is because the U.S. Census Bureau and their vendors are the most likely places to get information. The difference is that we do analysis. In short, if you want to know if a place is good for a particular type of practice, every report we offer is based upon analysis of the data. Is it important if the household population is 2.3 or 2.7? Well, if you just get the data you will have the numbers but you won’t get the meaning. Just knowing about the Median Household Income or Population per Doctor may be useful but without someone telling if the numbers are higher or lower than normal, it doesn’t help. I bring this us because we get many calls from doctors who have ordered data reports from other vendors. They never got a good explanation of what the data means to their projects. At Doctor Demographics, we will make a solid analysis and recommendation for or against a site. And, yes, there are times we will tell you that it is NOT a viable location. It doesn’t make everyone happy but if you are putting money into a location, you certainly want to know.
- First-hand knowledge. We do something a little different. We send out writers out to various parts of the U.S. to get a first-hand look at what is going on. We have trips planned in the coming months for Texas, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, New York (both City and Upstate). We recently visited Michigan, California (north and south), Nevada, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. In fact, we have visited every state in the Union, most of them several times. That is because numbers are useful but eyes on the ground are indispensable. Other companies just can’t offer that insight.
- Explanations are available. If you don’t understand something, we will try to answer it within 24 hours via telephone or e-mail. There is no extra cost for this. We think this is why our word-of-mouth referrals have been so strong. Sure, if you need time on the telephone particularly if you have specific questions and a limited time to make a decision, we can do a 30-minute telephone consultation. These are limited to a few hours per week but you can order one via the web site. They are all for a flat fee and we do our research on your questions before we get on the phone.
- Industry Specific. We know the difference between what makes a good area for a prosthodontist and an oral surgeon. We know the difference between a small animal and exotic veterinary practice and the settings that will work best for each. We know the difference between Urgent Care and Prompt Care Clinics. Most importantly, we know what the difference in demographics and competition ratios that will work. Private practice is what we do and what we know best.
- Our reports include data and prose. The idea is to give you something that makes sense. Many vendors give you circle radii. We know that drive-time radii will work best if combined with Zip Codes. Sure, we know that there are smaller units of analysis (Census Tracts and Tiger Units) but we do not use them because they are hard to apply and are statistically unreliable. As doctors you know that very small sample units tend to lack statistical reliability. Therefore, we believe that Zip Code units are better understood and will have superior supportability when it comes to recommendations. Want smaller units? We can get them but they are not standard.
- We do three things with demographics and psychographics.
- We can evaluate the viability of a specific site
- We can recommend several locations in a larger area (up to 5 Zip Codes in the same State) if you want to find sites that will match your priorities
- We can offer scientifically based market-segmentation practice promotion reports. This is where we explain the best marketing approach for the population in a specific area based upon psychographics. There is a difference on advertising to Laptops and Lattes versus Suburban Splendors. We can tell you what to do.
- We don’t usually reference our competition and compare ourselves to them because we have always considered what we do a little different. There are some great sources of information out there and some good advisors who use it. These companies may work well with you in getting the answers you need. They may have proprietary methods of analysis or some arcane databases that we don’t offer. But for the most part, we all draw from the same well. It is true, many will be a few dollars less than we are. When you analyze what you are getting, however, you should know that we are an extraordinary value. That is why we publish our prices on our web site. Have you ever wondered why our competitors are vague on this point? Let me reference a couple of things that are becoming confusing. Yes, we use market potential reports. This means that we track how much doctors make in any given area and track this in terms of dollars and in terms of an index figure. We also have the data on how much patients spend on average. There is a company out there that claims to be the only one who has that data and this simply isn’t true. The real issue with this is that we know of two demographic companies that are misusing the information. They will take that number and multiply it by the potential patients in an area and get a figure that looks like how much a doctor can earn in that community. The problem is that on paper, they are right. But the reality is that unless you take into account the cost of employees, the lease rates, and the compensation rates by insurance companies, you are going to make an assumption of potential that will be disastrous. The figures they are using only show what the aggregate earnings per doctor or practice will be. Obviously, two doctors can have offices right next to each other and one will be successful and another will not. The reasons for the outcomes in each case has nothing to do with production potential from demographics and psychographics. In demographic circles, we refer to a statistic like this as a “silver bullet.” It is the holy grail of determining the potential of a location. But the silver bullet is a fallacy. Unless you get inside the numbers, you are at risk by using these statistics to evaluate a site. I know this is a little confusing but let me illustrate it this way: You would never give an X-ray to a patient without help in interpreting it. The X-ray is a real and fair representation of what can be seen using this technology. But unless you have looked at several hundred or thousand X-rays, the means of what you are considering will not be clear. That is why just getting the facts (like a demographic report or X-ray) can actually be more confusing and do more harm than good. Sure, we will give you the data but it will ALWAYS come with an explanation and a way for us to answer questions free of charge.
I created this company to provide solid answers to specific questions. I feel privileged that my team and I could provide the help we do to so many wonderful professionals. Just let us know how we can help. A live person answers the phone. They are usually a trained demographer so we can get right to business. Free samples are available for download from the site.
Thanks for watching.