‘Search Starts Here’: Mary Boysman Talks Mobile, Measurement, and the Relevancy of YP

Mary Boysman, vice president of brand marketing and advertising at Aspen Dental, gave an insightful talk this morning that had the audience buzzing about measurement, mobile and the local search industry’s role in the marketing mix.

Boysman outlined the role that marketing and communications play in supporting growth at one of the largest and fastest-growing network of dental providers in the country.  Mary opened by connecting the company’s mission with her challenge as a marketer.

“I have to overcome people’s fear of going to the dentist. … Their biggest fear is embarrassment.  So everything we do through our marketing efforts and media channels reinforces that we not only provide the functional care but also the emotional care they need.”

Boysman spoke of the importance that measurement plays in Aspen Dental’s marketing efforts.  “I’m really big into measurement because in other places I’ve worked, I’ve lost budget in the past because I couldn’t prove that it worked.”

For Aspen Dental, this level of measurement includes tracking call volume and understanding the revenue impact.  “We have tracking lines for about a third of our directories and will have it in place for all lines this year.”

Aspen Dental has diversified its marketing mix since she assumed the role in 2004, but the company’s investment in local search hasn’t decreased as new media have emerged.  Boysman said print Yellow Pages play a critical role.

“Traditional Yellow Pages still drive solid local volume.  We’ll shift when it shifts, but it hasn’t shifted yet.”

In addition to print, Boysman said that paid search is growing exponentially and that mobile is growing very fast.  Aspen Dental’s mobile programs have helped double online appointments in one year, and net revenue from online leads is up 52%.  Aspen Dental also invests in broadcast, direct mail, sponsorships, social, and public relations – among other things.

“When they’re ready to purchase, we want to be found … All these media work together.  They are not mutually exclusive.”

Boysman said that the local search industry can do a number of things to stay help advertisers

  • Bring new partners to the table
  • Provide insights on new and emerging media – but make the business case for new media
  • Be channel neutral when possible
  • Reward loyal and growing clients
  • Keep in mind that online reviews are growing

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