Remembering What’s Really Important

As Christmas approaches, I thought I’d share this poem. It’s worth remembering what’s really important (kids, health, safety), and what’s not (video games, bobblehead dolls, holiday sales).

“A Different Christmas Poem”

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

‘What are you doing?’ I asked without fear,
‘Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!’
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.

To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said ‘Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.’
‘It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,’
Then he sighed, ‘That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.’
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam’,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother.
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.’

‘So go back inside,’ he said, ‘harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.’
‘But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
‘Give you money,’ I asked, ‘or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.’

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
‘Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.’

Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our US service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

Different Soldier

Dental Marketing Meets the Holiday Season

Scrooge Misses Out on Valuable Marketing Opportunities

Merry Christmas, folks! This week I thought I’d review how some dentists take advantage of the dental practice marketing opportunities presented by the holiday season.

Holiday Shopping… At the Dentist’s Office?!?

Just because you’re not a retail store doesn’t mean you can’t cash in on Christmas spending! One Ohio dentist is doing just that. Dr. Mindy Munowitz is selling what she calls “Holiday Sparkle Packages” that patients can purchase as gifts for friends and family. (Read more)

Zoom tooth whitening treatment is a part of each “pamper-me” package, but that’s not all. Recipients also get gift certificates for massages and facials. It’s a great way to make a profit off of today’s spa dentistry trends!

Secret Holiday Marketing Weapon: Christmas Lights!

Holiday lights are a great way to draw attention to your building! The photo you see here is of Lake Texoma Dental Care in Denison, Texas. Each year, Dr. Stephen McAnaney makes sure his practice gets noticed by the community. He hires a professional lighting company to decorate the office building with a sophisticated display that not only looks great but also generates new patients. Together, the decorated office and the sign really make a strong impact that says this dental practice is truly bringing the holiday spirit to the community. It also drives home the point that this dental office is warm, sophisticated and probably a great place to receive your dental care. (Read more)

Let’s look at the return on this investment – remember, ROI is a great way to make business decisions! Your first year is an investment; the initial cost of lights will likely range from about $750 to $2,000, depending on the size of your building and types of lights you use. Plan on another $1,000 each year for professionals to hang and later take down your lights. (Unless you’d rather risk breaking your own neck up on the roof?)

How much money does a single new patient bring in? I figure that the average net contribution to the bottom line for an additional new patient, after all the costs of delivering the dentistry, is going to be at least $500, and quite possibly much more. By this math, you would only need six new patients to pay for this the first year and just two additional new patients in succeeding years.

Free Advertising: The Price Is Definitely Right

One IDA dentist has been working hard to use the marketing know-how he’s picked up from The Wealthy Dentist to pick up new patients and increase name recognition of his practice. Dr. Jeff Clay of Shady Spring, West Virginia, teamed up with a local radio station to offer a holiday dental giveaway.

Listeners are invited to enter on the radio’s website (where there’s a prominent link to Dr. Clay’s IDA site, of course!). Visitors get to vote on which candidate needs dental work the most, and the winner will receive up to $2,000 in free dental work from Dr. Clay’s practice. In return for providing free care, the radio station is airing 100 60-second contest promos and another 100 five-second spots – that’s a $2400 advertising value! How brilliant is Dr. Clay’s strategy? Remember, there are more ways to pay for advertising than with money alone! (Listen to the radio ad)

Your Next Chance: New Years’ Marketing

By now it’s a little late for you to launch a Christmas marketing campaign – but not to worry, New Year’s is right around the corner! You can bet that lots of patients will be resolving to finally get the dental treatment they need. Plus, it’s a great time to market yourself to insurance patients whose benefits are renewed with the new year.

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