Cosmetic practices that wish to retain and grow their business in an increasingly burgeoning and competitive landscape need to excel in marketing that constantly engages existing patients. That’s according to Adam Weinroth, chief marketing officer of eRelevance Corporation, an Austin, Texas-based customer marketing service with a focus in the aesthetic space.
“There is a lot of dissatisfaction and confusion about marketing, as well as some misconceptions,” Weinroth tells The Aesthetic Channel.
The recently released commissioned study by e-Relevance, “The State of Aesthetic Healthcare Marketing 2017,” underscores “… the big myth that you have to spend a lot on advertising to acquire new patients and that to grow your practice requires you to be as visible as you can in the community,” Weinroth says. “However, this is not the case.”
In reality, practices on average derive 40% of their revenue from repeat patients, followed by 32% from new patient referrals. “Combined, this represents 72% of revenue originally sourced from existing patients,” Weinroth says.
That’s why keeping in touch and staying connected with existing patients outside the point of care is critical, according to Weinroth. “It is one thing to provide great service while the patient is in the office for a procedure or to select a product, but the key to success is the efforts you exert outside the office,” he says.
To accomplish this goal, though, “you have to face the realities of today’s highly fragmented and constantly changing digital world,” Weinroth observes. “Consumer attention is fragmented across many channels. By relying on only one channel to connect with patients, you probably will achieve only mediocre results at best.”
The most successful practices digitally surround their patients, “so that these patients can be reached in our highly fragmented digital experience,” Weinroth says.
Another key finding of the report is that satisfaction levels with marketing are not very high. “There appears to be a lot of confusion between the role marketing plays in acquiring new patients and marketing to existing patients,” Weinroth says.
Confusion can be minimized in part by measurement, “… which is something very challenging for aesthetic practices,” Weinroth notes. Many smaller practices, in particular, do not have a dedicated marketing staff or marketing analytics experts, either in-house or on a consulting basis. “Therefore, these practices do not have very good visibility into what marketing has the greatest impact, and whether that is improving or declining,” he says.
Many practices mimic their competitors marketing-wise. “But these practices are not necessarily able to judge whether competitor initiatives actually move the needle,” Weinroth says.
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On the other hand, about 30% of practices share marketing responsibility between physicians and their staff. “But a whopping 42% of physicians research their own marketing products and solutions, without input from the staff,” Weinroth conveys. “This tells us that the physicians recognize that their own staff are usually not marketing experts.”
Hence, a lot of practices outsource most of their marketing to expert consultants. If so the question you need to ask becomes, “What kind of reach will I get in return?” Weinroth says. For instance, limiting marketing to email will reach only about 20% of potential patients.
There also needs to be measurable results. “It does not really matter how smart your marketing is, unless the marketing drives results that are measurable,” Weinroth explains. Results should translate into scheduled patient appointments, consultations and booked procedures. “In other words, you should be able to walk those marketing activities to the bank,” he says.
Mobility in the digital world is driving consumer trends, but not just with mobile devices. “Today, consumers are constantly spreading their attention between screens: the watch, the phone, the desktop, laptop and digital TV,” Weinroth says. “Consequently, it is incumbent on practices who want to market to their patients effectively to be able to reach consumers with that reality in mind. And it is only getting harder, not easier.”