Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sur-Thriving in a Difficult Economy

Christian Louboutin was on CNN this morning--he's having his best year ever! A pair of his shoes runs around $1K or more. Now, if some of your aesthetic treatments run about the same, on average, per treatment as a pair of Louboutins, doesn't it make you wonder why you aren't having your best year ever?

Consumers are confused and concerned about America's economic problems. If financial troubles haven't hit them yet, they're wondering when and if they might. Your customers may be scrutinizing their aesthetic purchases, which ultimately puts loyalty to the test. They may be looking at other options to see if the treatments they receive at your practice can be matched elsewhere for a lower price. What to do?

Here are 3 sur-thrival tips. I call them Sur-Thrival Tips because if you do them, you'll not just survive but thrive! I'll be posting more sur-thrival tips over the next few days and weeks, so tune in again.

  • Position aesthetic care as a need, not just as a want. Who needs aesthetic care? People looking for work, folks wanting to hold off on a surgical aesthetic solution by using laser treatments and fillers, brides, mothers of brides (and grooms)-to-be, women re-entering the job market, trophy wives, executives, models, actors, professional singers, sales reps who sell high-end items like luxury cars, high-priced homes, insurance--they must look like they are doing well. Get out there and present 30-min seminars to these groups at their job sites and clubs. Go into their sales meetings, run ads targeting job-hunters, singles, brides-to-be.
  • Sell experience and skill. The average consumer has never really understood the value of a highly trained specialist to deliver aesthetic care. They figure if one nail salon is about the same as another, then every aesthetic provider (cosmetic dentist, cosmetic dermatologist, plastic surgeon, etc) is the same as another except for--what's that?--price! Focus any advertising on experience and skill to differentiate yourself from the price-cutting competitors.
  • Survey your customer base or hold a focus group or two to identify the driving factors for your products and services. Use this information to determine if and how attitudes have changed. This can identify new opportunities for your business as well as changing the message you put out to the public.
Marketing never stops. If you stop marketing, you waste the brand equity that's already been established.

Commit to making your brand more relevant over the next 12 months. You'll end up miles ahead when things turn around (and they always do).

To your success,

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