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Marketing experts offer tips for attracting, retaining male cosmetic surgery patients

Key iconKey Points

  • Practices that serve primarily women should encourage patients to bring in male friends
  • Create a referral card that is specific to the male brand
  • Post a chart in the office that displays the number of aesthetic treatments performed on men in the U.S

Ms. Maley
While some strategies for reaching male patients mirror female-oriented strategies, marketing to men generally requires a deftly targeted approach, say two marketing professionals.

Ms. Drumm
When working with a practice to lure male patients, says Tracy L. Drumm, "We always have them start by marketing to their internal patients, even if they have a primarily female clientele." Word-of-mouth delivers the highest new-patient conversion rate, says Ms. Drumm, who is vice president of Chicago-based If Marketing, an aesthetic medicine marketing consultancy.

Tools such as a "male playbook" describing a practice's male-oriented services can go a long way toward making a man feel comfortable in the waiting room. (Photo credit: Tracy Drumm)
Men possess a stronger fight-or-flight reflex than women, adds Catherine Maley, MBA, a San Francisco aesthetic marketing strategist and author of Your Aesthetic Practice. If they feel at all uncomfortable, "There's a much better chance they'll book an appointment and not show up, or get to the parking lot and not go in. "If the woman pushes the issue a bit, that seems to help," Ms. Maley says. "For example, if a woman wants a facelift, often her husband comes in with her for the consultation" and subsequent appointments. This allows him to get to know the doctor, the practice and the process of care, she says. Over multiple exposures, "There's a much better chance for him to say to the doctor, 'By the way, what about my eyes? Or liposuction for my love handles?'"

Promotional pearls
Along with courting significant others, practices that serve primarily women also should encourage their patients to bring in male friends, Ms. Drumm says. "We do that with a male-referral card. It's specific to the male brand — not too feminine or flashy." A typical example could take the form of a male VIP card designed largely in basic black, she explains.

Along with informing women what treatments are available for men, such cards incorporate a built-in call to action; namely, to give them to the men in their lives for consultations, Ms. Drumm says. Moreover, women provide a main source of validation: "It's OK to do this. It's not a feminine procedure," she says.

Regarding content, "The biggest difference when marketing for the male segment is that for females, we typically use an aspirational branding approach," she says. Through patient profiles, "We focus on the story of the person getting the treatment." This can inspire women to see themselves in — and want to emulate — the profiled patient. "It's about empowerment — the idea that 'this could be me.'"

Furthermore, the narrative-based approach reflects the way women speak to each other. "Women watch long stories on TV; men want the sports highlights," Ms. Drumm says.


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