One ever-constant factor in the highly competitive world of plastic surgery marketing is change. Change happens; in the geographic marketplace, in healthcare competition, and in the effectiveness and efficiency of your plastic surgery marketing strategy.
Elective care patients are, more than ever, informed and value-cautious consumers. Discretionary purchase decisions for cosmetic procedures—even for many affluent buyers—is weighed against affordability, convenience and benefits.
What's more, competition among plastic, cosmetic, reconstructive and other provider practices is dramatically different, and increasingly intense, with each turn of the calendar. Not long ago, the competitive arena was limited to a credentialed colleague or two down the street.
Now, plastic, cosmetic and aesthetic procedures, services and products are a territorial battlefield for surgical, minimally-invasive and non-surgical options. In some service areas, the players often include cosmetic ophthalmology, OB/GYN, and ENT practices, general surgeon practitioners, as well as medical spas and commercially promoted OTC products.
Today’s consumers begins their search via the Internet; instantly confronting a bewildering forest of options for breast reduction or augmentation, liposuction, facelift or “mommy makeover.” Plus, they find non-surgical, laser and other procedures such as botox injections, hair transplants or removals, spider vein treatment or tattoo removal.
Successfully meeting these and other dynamics requires a plastic surgery marketing strategy with a solid foundation; one that creates a compelling differentiation that is head-and-shoulders above the completion. Among the fundamental drivers for winning the attention and engagement of the consumer public are these concepts:
Patients don’t buy procedures. Skilled surgeons devote years of professional training and experience to the fine art of excellence in Augmentation Mammaplasty, Blepharoplasty, Liposuction, Rhinoplasty and many other procedures that many patients don’t recognize by name. For that matter, patients are not motivated to shop for “eyelid surgery,” “nose reshaping,” or even “breast augmentation.”
What people buy is happiness. Although these are the names of some of the most common plastic and cosmetic surgery procedures—what plastic surgeons DO—it is not what patients BUY. The individual purchase decision factors may vary somewhat, but the primary motivations are to improve their appearance, bolster their self-image and/or to feel better about their appearance.
They don’t care about the clinical name if they can see the promise of a beneficial solution. One of the cornerstones of successful plastic surgery marketing and advertising is to effectively communicate the prospect of improved self-esteem, life satisfaction and self-rated physical attractiveness--happiness.
People buy from people they trust. What is the price of happiness? The prospective cosmetic surgery candidate will weigh pros and cons, although financial considerations are only part of the equation. All surgery—even less-invasive procedures—includes risk factors and consumer concerns that they will achieve the anticipated outcome and that they are safe (clinically and emotionally) in the hands of a qualified and experienced doctor.
Anticipating and answering these concerns, and building a bridge of trust between the patient and the provider, is essential to building a successful plastic surgery marketing strategy. Trust building begins early in the process of research, consideration and provider selection--often by way of advertising, marketing, online information--as well as personal and professional recommendations.
Happiness and trust…
These key components—recognizing a patient’s definition of happiness, and inspiring a patient-surgeon bond of trust—are essential to a plastic surgery practice marketing strategy that wins new patients. We're here to help. Connect with us today for marketing resources and ethical strategies and tactics that stand up to the competition and grow your bottom line.
Stewart Gandolf, MBA
Related: Plastic Surgery Web Design