As many of you know, I have been a vocal opponent of the CAP for many years.  Watching a special assessment consistently raise my dues by almost thousand dollars per year combined with ineffective ads running on TV and in magazines made my blood boil.  I just couldn’t stand it any longer, so I opened my computer and started to write.  My fingers couldn’t keep up with my mind as it raced to express the thoughts that had been building for years.  That effort turned into a blog post, which turned into a magazine article.  I learned very quickly that I was not alone in my frustrations.  I also learned that the leadership was generally unaware (or unwilling to acknowledge) the level of dissatisfaction in the membership regarding this issue.

Fast forward a couple years and I decided to run for a seat on the Council on Communications – the portion of the AAO responsible for the CAP.  My platform was simple.  I hate the current campaign, many agree with me, and things need to change.  I didn’t sugarcoat my feelings, but I think my passion became clear, and for better or worse, the PCSO elected me to the position.

So here I am, sitting in the airport in St. Louis to give you a summary of what I have learned after my first in-person meeting on the council.  Here you go!

The advertising company that was in charge of the campaign for the past few years is no longer working with us.  We have hired a digital marketing expert to run the campaign in-house (Katie Maassen).  The campaign will no longer be using “traditional” (read ineffective) marketing strategies.  The campaign will be all digital.  The focus will be on branding, new content for consumers, email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, paid social media and paid search ads.  The goals of the CAP are to:

  1. Build awareness for using AAO orthodontists
  2. Strongly promote in-person orthodontic care
  3. Grow the online presence for the AAO to drive traffic to the member directory.

Katie has been working on shifting the campaign to the digital space and that has taken some time.  You may have noted a slight lapse in presence (or not – which is probably the case because the old campaign had no reach IMHO).  Katie’s initial digital efforts have shown some progress.  There has been a 700% increase in the number of Facebook likes and the click through rate on our ads are above average.  But, this is just the beginning and there is a lot of work to do.  We need original content and that will take time to craft.  We are looking at making videos, blogs, lists, quizzes, anything to engage and educate the public (and yes – there will be more aggressive messaging).  There will be extensive remarketing of people who engage these posts and redirection to the AAO directory (which is getting a facelift) for them to easily find an orthodontist in their area and to click a button to contact that office (still working out the kinks on this one so don’t hold your breath).

So please, if you have an idea for a video, blog, ad, list, concept that will work in the digital space, send it to me!  Specific ideas are welcome as we have to create content!  Help me turn this thing around.

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