Behind the Marketing

A Glimpse into the Heartland Marketing Team

Marketing Team

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising." - Mark Twain

This quote describes the goal of marketing and advertising in a nutshell—to take a business, service or product from the ground up, create an invigorating brand image, spread that image through media outlets and constantly attract attention through innovative ideas and technology.

Here at Heartland Dental Care, the Marketing Department shares a similar goal: to constantly attract patients to Heartland practices by utilizing a wide variety of marketing initiatives. Most dentists would rather practice dentistry than focus on business, so the Heartland marketing group provides a smooth transition for affiliating doctors and teams by determining specific marketing needs to increase new patient flow. So let’s take a look at the individuals involved in this department and discover how their roles help Heartland practices continue to flourish.


On the front lines are the Market Managers—featuring Ted Gardewine, Larry McDevitt, Alaina Niemerg, Kari Kabbes, Kaitlin Carpenter, Brian Mans and Supervisor, Brian Blome. Each communicates with numerous practices to establish internal and external marketing needs; develop relationships with Regional Directors, Regional Administrators and Practice Administrators; negotiate and purchase advertising; and recommend marketing methods to achieve office goals.

"Our doctors can focus on patients instead of spreading the word about their practice— we do that for them."

Brian Blome

Supervising the Managers is Brian Blome, who works to remove any obstacles, align the Market Managers with the operations team to ensure unified function, encourage the team and streamline the marketing process.

"Our doctors can focus on patients instead of spreading the word about their practice – we do that for them. We’re moving away from an ad agency mentality of simply listening to what practices want and responding," Blome said. "Now we’re becoming much more proactive in recommending initiatives that will produce successful results."

Those recommendations stem from information provided by Marketing Analyst Charity Bohnhoff. She studies and interprets the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by profiling patients, observing trends and measuring campaign reactions. Using the results from this data, Marketing Managers suggest the most useful marketing tactics to their practices. Bohnhoff also monitors the flow of patient calls, referral tracking and patient satisfaction using Press Ganey.

Through creative talent, Graphic Designers Alysia Wills, Andrea Wright and Supervisor, Derek Greenwood give Heartland its world-class image by producing a variety of advertising, including direct mail postcards, print ads, flyers, billboards and more. The designers create a brand image for each practice known as a “thumbprint” in which all materials for that practice coincide to create a uniquely identifiable look that customers recognize. In 2010, more than 10,000 design projects were completed for practices and corporate use.

Optimal website functionality and image are also needed to best market a practice, which is Jeff Murphy’s area of expertise. Murphy creates Heartland websites that are not only visually stimulating but user-friendly as well, with each practice’s site corresponding with its thumbprint. He also updates content to ensure the latest information is presented and enhances sites through search engine optimization and online video to increase Internet visibility and attract new patients.


Left to right: Market Managers Larry McDevitt, Brian Mans, Alaina Niemerg, Kari Kabbes, Kaitlin Carpenter, Brian Blome and Ted Gardewine.

Marketing Assistant Karla Swingler supports the mailing and printing processes for the department. She orders all the mailing lists for campaigns from USA Data, coordinates printing of marketing materials and maintains direct mail requests. In 2010, she helped send out over 10 million direct mail postcards.

The public relations area of the department consists of Supervisor/Community and Brand Manager Ashley Buehnerkemper and PR Specialist/Copywriter Adam Lueken. This team monitors messages utilized by the graphic and web designers and maintains Heartland’s corporate image. They will soon implement a social media strategy for recruiting and development as well as brand strategy for almost 300 practices, a vital goal for 2011.

"In 2011, we will expand the use of web resources, execute social mediaplatforms and amplify our pressexposure significantly."

Fred Lyons

"Applying social media will add another layer of communication, opening the door for our recruiting/development teams and affiliated practices to reach an extended audience," Buehnerkemper said. "We are excited to interact with an online community of brand enthusiasts."

Buehnerkemper and Lueken also identify and write press-worthy corporate and office news releases, write editorials for practices and other corporate members and publish SMILING Magazine three times per year.

At the forefront is Vice President of Marketing Fred Lyons, who has established high goals for the department. "As we strive to become a world-class manager of practice marketing initiatives, it’s critical that we continue organizing our infrastructure and implementing new techniques to maximize our efforts in assisting growing practices," he said. "In 2011, we will expand the use of web resources, execute social media platforms and amplify our press exposure significantly."

Although each portion of the Marketing Department may function differently, each member works together for the same purpose: presenting Heartland practices the best way possible.

"I have great faith and confidence in the knowledge and expertise of each individual in this department, and each is committed to attaining our goals," Lyons added. "As Heartland advances, so will the Marketing Department through progressing creative vision, developing comprehensive analytics, emphasizing Return on Investment, successfully executing marketing plans and creating an efficient synergy with operations so that consistent, quality service will be provided to our practices."