Best Practices for Traditional Marketing in Aesthetic Medical Practices

Francis Acunzo
CEO of medspa810
Chair of the Aesthetic Business Institute Board of Directors

John Powers, PhD
Director of Education and Research
Aesthetic Business Institute

While digital communication has become an essential part of a medical practice’s business plan, traditional marketing is alive and well! There have certainly been many shifts in the marketing landscape toward digital and social media, and yet there are still important avenues of traditional marketing that need to be adopted into a marketing plan. As with any type of communication, it is crucial to know exactly who to target in your traditional marketing efforts and how to engage audiences with compelling messages. Where does your medical practice fit in with these results?

Marketing Responsibilities

Key Stat – 46% of practices have their traditional marketing strategy developed by the owner/physician

Many aesthetic medical practices and small businesses have limited staff and resources, and thus multiple responsibilities fall upon the owner/physician. According to the ABI Flash Poll, this is true in the area of traditional marketing as 46% of these practices have their marketing efforts led by the owner/physician. Interestingly, only 22% of practices utilize professional marketing people (outside consultant or internal marketing staff) to develop marketing strategies. The percentages drop some when it comes to who at a practice actually implements traditional marketing tactics, but that number still is very high for owners/physicians at 36%.

“The issue with having an owner/physician develop and implement marketing strategy is their time limitations,” Acunzo stated. “This typically causes inconsistencies in the marketing program that eventually can lead to reduced leads thus reduced sales.”

Monthly Spends on Traditional Marketing

Key Stat – 54% of practices spend between $1,000 to $2,500 each month on traditional marketing.

It is no secret that with many aesthetic medical practices and small businesses, every dollar counts and needs to be spent wisely. Marketing spends can often be thought of as an “extra” or something that can be increased when cash flow improves. The opposite is often the case. Practices that wish to increase their sales and profit usually need to increase their marketing efforts. While over half of the practices surveyed spend between $1,000 to $2,500 each month on traditional marketing, the number grows to 74% when increasing the range to $5,000 per month.

“A practice needs to view marketing as an investment in their future. There is a direct correlation between the amount of money spent on communicating your message and the number of leads that come in the door,” Acunzo added.

Traditional Marketing Tactics

Key Stat – 80% of practices surveyed utilize brochures in their traditional marketing, 58% produce counter cards, and almost half (48%) use print ads.

The vast majority of aesthetic medical practices surveyed in this month’s ABI Flash Poll (traditional marketing) and last month’s survey (social media) integrate their marketing efforts with a variety of tactics. With this in mind, the results show that 80% of practices still print brochures to distribute to potential clients, while 58% also print “counter cards”. These traditional marketing tactics fit into the understanding that high percentages of people continue to prefer a physical, printed marketing piece to take home with them. In addition, 48% of practices still purchase display ads in newspapers and magazines, despite the shrinking of these media outlets over the last decade. And while the number is smaller, there still are a significant number of practices that utilize radio and television advertising to market their services (24%).

“A practice should always be communicating their message to their existing clientele through the use of in location signage of some type, e.g. counter cards,” Acunzo said. Effectiveness of Traditional Marketing

Effectiveness of Traditional Marketing

Key Stat – 64% report that their traditional marketing efforts are only somewhat effective or not effective

Despite the high percentages of practices that still utilize some form of traditional marketing to promote their business, close to two-thirds of those surveyed feel that this effort is not effective or only somewhat effective. Only 7% of practices felt their traditional marketing was highly effective. Those who consider their traditional marketing to be effective mentioned the aspect of targeting older audiences that may be less digitally savvy. On the other hand, the majority’s lack of enthusiasm may have to do with the fact that it can be more challenging to track results and utilize analytics with traditional marketing as compared with digital media. Others acknowledged that their lack of success with traditional marketing had more to do with not strategizing and planning for an extended marketing effort, and instead implementing a more random and haphazard effort.

“Everyone needs to realize that it has become very difficult to track the results of traditional advertising,” Acunzo shared. “No longer do people pick up the phone and call the practice because they read an ad in the local paper, but instead they grab their laptop, phone or Ipad to review the practice website.”