For years, Baby Boomers have been the driving force in cosmetic surgery trends and have directed most everything, from marketing strategies to the consult and the business overall. But according to one expert there’s a whole new generation that’s changing the face of cosmetic surgery — and they offer a lifetime of opportunity to the cosmetic practice.
“Millennials are becoming our largest patient base and that’s a good thing,” says Lauren Amico Reed, PA-C, who spoke at this year’s annual Vegas Cosmetic Surgery Meeting in Las Vegas. If you can capture them, she says, you’re likely to have them as lifetime patients.
In her presentation, “Move Over Baby-Boomers, The Millennials are Here!”, Ms. Reed pointed out that while there are around 75 million Baby Boomers in the U.S. — notably the wealthiest generation, there are more than 80 million Millennials — the most educated generation and widely in debt because of college expenses.
Translation: Your potential patient population has more than doubled in favor of the generation that currently spans ages 16 to 36. And while they may be smarter, they don’t have as much disposable income.
It’s no surprise then that the what, why’s and when’s of treat younger patients has quickly become a widespread topic of conversation, especially when 64% of cosmetic surgeons are seeing patients under the age of 30, according to Ms. Reed, a NCCPA board-certified PA and Aesthetic Specialist at the La Jolla Cosmetic Surgery Centre. And understanding this younger generation’s motivations is the first step to successfully folding them into your practice.
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NEXT: Millennial Motivations
So what’s driving Millennials into the cosmetic surgery practice? The biggest motivating factor is that they simply don’t want to look like their mothers — or grandmothers, says Ms. Reed. And then there’s social media omnipresence: Profile pictures are the new first impression. “Self image is portrayed through social media,” she says.
Adding fuel to the fire, there’s also the fact that younger celebrities, like the Kardashians, have ushered the industry into a new, more “glamorous” era.
“Social media is the driving force of nonsurgical treatments,” says Ms. Reed. So the question becomes, how do you capture this younger generation?
NEXT: Marketing to Millennials
Marketing to Millennials
There’s no question that Millennials offer a high lifetime customer value. They are fiercely loyal to the brands they love. However, “Millennials only give you one shot. You fail? They don’t come back!” cautions Ms. Reed.
Millennials are also advertising goldmines, she says. “If they love you, they LOVE you,” and you will be rewarded by word of mouth referrals and in positive online reviews.
As for getting this younger generation into the office, you need to have a strong Internet presence. Here are Ms. Reed’s rules of thumb:
- SEO — Be on the first page for the combined search terms: “your city” and “Botox"
- Use plenty of before and after pictures
- Have lots of good patient reviews
- Use genuine or authentic content in social media, not just advertising
Once they’re in the office, there’s also the changing nature of the consult to consider.
“My consult has changed based on my experience with younger patients,” says Ms. Reed. “They come in and know a lot about you and your products. While they may be self-educated, however, they don’t always know what’s best,” she says.
Be sure you manage their expectations, she emphasizes: “They may expect miracles, but they don’t have a lot of money.” The opportunity with Millennials lies in gaining their trust early and keeping them as lifetime patients, so “Talk to them. Create a long-term plan,” advises Ms. Reed.
NEXT: Treatment Tips
Effectively treating the Millennial generation means understanding them.
For example, if your patient says she wants “natural” looking lips, don’t assume you’re speaking the same language.
“What I think is natural isn’t necessarily what they think is natural,” explains Ms. Reed, who says she speaks from personal experience. While her idea of “natural” may be Cameron Diaz, she says, her patient’s very well could be Khloe Kardashian. Therefore, Ms. Reed emphasizes the need to use common reference points to make sure you’re on the same page before treatment.
“Take lots of photos,” she adds. Explain what can be achieved and what cannot as well as duration — BEFORE treatment, Ms. Reed says. “If you tell them before, you’re a genius; if you tell them after, you’re lying.”
Ms. Reed also recommends what she calls the .2 cc Filler Rule. “When you’ve got .2 cc filler left, hand the patient a mirror and ask what else they want.” It’s smart, it’s efficient and it’s the perfect way to get their approval for the final result.
Finally, remind patients when to return and be sure to follow up with your patient. “If someone’s unhappy, you don’t want to find out about it on Yelp,” she says. By following up, you’re more likely to correct the situation and get a positive review in the end.