In addition to being good word-game players and world-class worriers, we Kellmans are exceptionally prolific plaque producers, and so I have been going to the dentist every four months for cleanings since I was a teenager. And I spend a lot on toothbrushes and hygiene care.
For years, I have said I would give anything for someone to make a “forever promise” to keep my teeth and gums healthy. I have paid attention to direct-to-consumer, digital native new entrants to the space, like Quip
And now Oral-B, Procter & Gamble’s dental hygiene brand, is trying to make that promise with a more direct and “membership” oriented approach.
I just got ordered new electric toothbrush—because of my plaque issues, I usually just go for the most expensive one, with the most bells and whistles. So when I saw that the Oral-B Pro 6000 has Bluetooth and is “smart,” I was hooked.
In addition to buzzing every 30 seconds to let me know to move to the next quadrant, like all the electric toothbrushes, the Pro 6000 has a mobile app that tracks where, how much and how hard you brush. There are also different programs you can set to achieve specific goals, like whitening teeth or caring for gums, which last multiple weeks. There’s a camera feature which I haven’t figured out yet, but I’m guessing it allows communication with the “experts” at Oral-B who can give feedback on how you’re doing, when you need a new brush-head, and what additional products might help (floss, mouthwash, toothpaste, special brushes—who knew, there were so many options!)
Instead of making do with the free toothbrush I get at the Dentist with each visit, I spent a 100 bucks. I’m sending them information about how frequently I brush, how often I change brush heads, and what “challenges” bother me most. And I’m giving them permission to reach out to me via email and directly through an app I’m using (or supposed to use) twice a day.
And instead of having to go through a retailer like Amazon or CVS, Oral-B now has a direct line to me. Going forward, maybe I’ll order my products direct, instead of going through an intermediary. Maybe Oral-B will truly become my one-stop-shop for oral hygiene. That’s bad news for the retailers but also for Oral-B’s competitors like Philips Sonicare and Waterpick. And I’ll probably never try Quip, if Oral-B doesn’t screw up. My Pro 6000 is fast becoming a habit, a part of my daily routine, so I’m unlikely to look elsewhere.
I’ll let you know if Dr. Jollymour, my dentist, notices an improvement. In the meantime though, I’m sending all kinds of information to Oral-B which they can use to build loyalty and ultimately increase the value of our relationship, on both sides. And that’s really the goal of the forever transaction—to increase the value on both sides.
About Robbie Kellman Baxter
Robbie is the founder of Peninsula Strategies LLC, author of The Membership Economy, and the Instructor for 10 LinkedIn Learning courses including: Create a Membership-Based Business and B?ecome an Entrepreneur Inside the Company. Her clients have included large organizations like Netflix, SurveyMonkey, and the National Restaurant Association, as well as smaller venture-backed start-ups. Over the course of her career, Robbie has worked in or consulted with clients in more than 20 industries.
As a public speaker, Robbie has presented to thousands of people in corporations, associations, and universities. She has an AB from Harvard College and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Find Robbie on Twitter, @robbiebax