The 4 Biggest Marketing Mistakes Committed in Cosmetic Practices

Thank you to our wonderful colleague Joyce Sunila of Practice Helpers for this guest post.

1. Copying retail marketing.

Discounts, loss leaders and other retail store gambits have limited relevance to the marketing of professional services. Over-reliance on them ends up conflating the hard-won skills of surgery with a commodity.

Go in the opposite direction. Convey the distinctive, impossible-to-imitate expertise that makes you more than a doctor – makes you an artist who happens to work in medicine. If you must “drive business” with discounts, make them a minor chord in the marketing symphony.

2. Ignoring how luxury brands 2

Who does Lexus look to when rolling out their latest models? Lexus owners. Owners have already experienced Lexus’s peerless service. Lexus parlays that investment to move new product.

Look to your database of loyal patients first when planning marketing initiatives. Current patients have already jumped the biggest hurdle to booking plastic surgery – they’ve decided to trust you. Parlay that trust.

3. Overpaying and under-strategizing.

There’s a well-known formula in marketing: It costs 10 times more to attract a new client than it does to bring in a current one. Doctors who rank new business above repeat business put themselves on a treadmill. They spend the big dollars on pricey services like SEO, portals and other lead-generators. What’s left over — the crumbs — go to the truly cost-effective tools like email, greeting cards, flowers, local events, etc.

This upside-down spending pattern is the opposite of strategic thinking. It drains the practice and leads to desperation.

4. Not thinking long-term.

Instead of a vision of the future, most practices work year-to-year. Their marketing swerves back and forth, each year’s initiatives correcting the previous year’s failures. This is waffling, not strategizing.

Today’s cosmetic patient is worth over $100,000 in lifetime service. Exploiting that value should be the primary goal of the marketing plan. At maturity (10+ years old) a cosmetic practice should plan on earning 50% of receivables from repeat business.

Set a goal of securing your patients’ lifetime value. Work toward that goal constantly. Use your database every way you can to put a lock on patients. They are your equity. A guaranteed flow of repeat customers is the best way to ensure growth over the long haul.

Get clear on the target to win long-term.

Joyce Sunila is the President of Practice Helpers, providing e-newsletters to the aesthetic medicine industry. She can be reached at, 866-278-3019, or visit the Practice Helpers website,

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