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The inside track on marketing aesthetic services to men

Article-The inside track on marketing aesthetic services to men

man face injection

At the practice level, growing the male patient population has mostly relied on word-of-mouth and referrals from wives and significant others. At the industry level, manufacturers have started supporting this mega trend by rolling out male-centric marketing campaigns to capture this audience and expand the patient pool.

“A lot of manufacturers are doing direct-to-consumer marketing directed at men,” stated Jason D. Bloom, M.D., a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Ardmore, Pa. “The increasing availability of non-surgical procedures that are safe and have no downtime is an important factor, as well.”

In recent years, Dr. Bloom’s male patient base has grown from 10% of his practice to around 15%. “More men have been coming in the last few years because cosmetic treatments have become more acceptable and it is not taboo for a man to get neurotoxin or dermal filler injections,” he stated. “Among Baby Boomers, men want to stay competitive in an increasingly aggressive job environment and that is driving a lot of them.”

According to Suneel Chilukuri, M.D., F.A.A.D., F.A.C.M.S., a dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon in Houston, Texas, who has also experienced a large increase in male patients, gateway procedures that attract men are the ones to actively market both internally and externally. “Body shaping and skin tightening are big, along with neurotoxin and/or dermal filler injections, gynecomastia, hair regrowth or removal, tattoo removal and physician-dispensed skincare,” he said.

The appropriate place to start when creating a male-centric marketing plan is for practitioners to recognize that men have
different priorities than women, stated W. Grant Stevens, M.D, F.A.C.S., a plastic surgeon in Marina Del Rey, Calif., who developed Marina Man-Land, a “man cave” built into his clinic.

The phenomenon of specialized “man caves,” as well as the use of separate clinic entrances and even treatment rooms, has developed into a fruitful marketing hook that caters to this growing patient population. “Our Man-Land is a cross
between a sports bar and a cigar lounge,” said Dr. Stevens. “My goal was to make it feel like the bar at The Lanesborough
Hotel in London.”

Dr. Stevens’ success was not a matter of chance. Targeting the male patient involved market research work, as well, he said. “When I started on the Marina Man-Land project, I interviewed over 100 men and received over 200 questionnaires
filled out by men. I built my marketing around the responses received from this questionnaire.”

In the process, Dr. Stevens was able to confirm the treatments that he would market directly to men. “For instance, men want more hair on their head; they want less hair on their back. They want to have a V-shaped face, a smaller waist and bigger shoulders. Some of my male patients are starting to venture into IPL and other energy-based treatments. A lot of men have brown spots and they want to get rid of them,” he said.

Additionally, he sought the smallest details of patient preferences. “Our research found that men don’t like couches, they like leather chairs,” Dr. Stevens noted. “When I did olfactory tests with men, I found they don’t like the smell of flowers, but rather they prefer the smell of leather and a new car. They like watching sports programs on flat screens and using Wi-Fi.”

Other marketing approaches that work for men include consumer-facing events, which have also been used successfully
over the years to capture female patients.

As reported by Dr. Bloom, “We’ve done some events in the past and we are now planning a new one: The Cigar Bar. This is a Botox-and-bourbon concept that appeals to men. At this male-centered event we’ll talk about neurotoxin and dermal filler treatments for men, neck rejuvenation, and micro invasive procedures. These are things that men are interested in.”

At Dr. Stevens’ practice, while CoolSculpting fat reduction procedures are considered the gateway treatment for his male patients, “They actively seek other types of services as well,” he said.

“I track my male patients and follow what they keep coming back for. This includes Botox and fillers, as well as procedures
to tighten their necks and faces. Surprisingly, a lot are getting monthly or bi-monthly facials. When I first introduced this idea of facials to men, a lot of them scoffed. The attitude was what you would expect, ‘I don’t need no stinkin’ facial.’ I would counter with, ‘you don’t want a beautiful woman rubbing on your face for 30 minutes for free?’ That’s when they say, I’ll take it. Once they do, they say they want another and another.”

It is important to note that marketing to the gay male inhabits a uniquely diverse niche embracing various geographic regions, political stances, physical categories and professions. “Gay men are in some ways easier to market to than straight males,” said Dr. Chilukuri.

“Their demographic profile encompasses all ages, races, professions and incomes,” he continued. “And as with women, the gay male openly talks to his friends about the work he’s had done, so word-of-mouth is a good method. The straight male, on the other hand, will get the work done but doesn’t necessarily want anyone to know about it.”

In addition to the gay male, practitioners must start reaching out to the Millennial generation of males, as well. “I’ve seen
many young men come in looking for what I call preventive work,” Dr. Chilukuri noted. “They’re asking about skincare, neurotoxins and how those treatments can be used in preventive work.”

Millennials are attracted to non-invasive treatment modalities. “Today, we have solutions that don’t have severe side effects,” Dr. Chilukuri pointed out. “For instance, with the toxins and fillers we have today we are able to do far more preventive work. We can see people looking basically the same age for decades now.”