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Cosmetic Surgery Marketing Buy One Get One Free Coupon Offers – Clever or Suicidal Marketing?

Just last week I was reading the Law Society’s Gazette magazine and I was immediately drawn to a reader’s letter to the Gazette on the rising use by cosmetic surgeons of marketing strategies such as ‘buy one get one free’ deals on breast operations as a means of enticing new patients.

Unethical marketing in Cosmetic Surgery

How to Choose A Cosmetic Surgeon?

The article isn’t so much about the growing practice of offering financial inducements to get new customers, but more about how the General Medical Council seems more interested in dealing with potential unbefitting and unethical conduct and practices than the legal profession’s own governing body.

But that’s not the reason why I’m writing about it here.

Here’s the article in case you want to read it yourself. It’s an interesting and thought provoking read taken from this last week’s edition of the Law Gazette, which addresses the growing concern of certain marketing practices not just in cosmetic surgery.

Dubious Marketing? GMC Found GP Unreasonably Persuaded A Patient To Accept Cosmetic Surgery

I read that a GP was recently found to have unreasonably induced a patient to accept a cosmetic procedure by offering a discount if it was booked with two other patients. This and other failings led the General Medical Council (GMC) to impose 10 conditions on his registration.

The GMC was concerned that the discount increased the pressure on the patient to proceed. Other cosmetic surgeons have been criticised for offering ‘buy one, get one free’ deals on breast operations. Like the decision to undergo surgery, the decision to bring a claim for compensation, potentially resulting in legal proceedings, needs a cool head.

Litigation is invariably stressful and few, save perhaps for Russian oligarchs, embark upon it with relish. A claimant’s honesty might be challenged and the legal documents drawn up along the way carry a risk of contempt of court proceedings and a criminal conviction. The lawyer’s job is to explain these risks carefully at the outset, free from irrelevant considerations, so that the decision to proceed is properly taken in the client’s best interests.

Personal injury victims are presently being bombarded by some firms with offers of cash or gadgets. These inducements and those offered to cosmetic surgery patients are cut from the same cloth. Both inappropriately distract from and interfere with important decisions.

Unfortunately, while the GMC displays a keen understanding of the issues underlying unethical inducements, this is presently lacking at the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Richard Edwards, solicitor-advocate, E. Rex Makin & Co, Liverpool

As a reputation marketing consultant I thought to myself, wow, we have certainly come a long way with our marketing since Deal Sites like Groupon hit the market. We seem to be locked in a coupon frenzy despite this being very bad for most local businesses.

I can understand the leveraging power of giving consumers an irresistible offer to entice them into your restaurant or store, but the problem is that most businesses are missing the fundamental point of giving their customers an irresistible offer in the first place.

So let me make this very clear. Never, ever give away any goods or services without getting something in return whether that’s an email or a mobile number. BUILD YOUR CUSTOMER DATABASE!

If you’re not doing this and you giving away the kitchen sink to bribe customers into your establishment, you might as well give up, close shop and walk away.

Coupons, discounts and special offers have a valuable place in marketing and in growing your business, but you have to understand the basic marketing principles and to bear in mind not all types of offers and discounts are suitable for every type of business.

If you offer a professional, highly skilled service that’s reliant on you having a special expertise and a strong reputation, debasing your brand with 2 for 1 offers may not be in your business’s long-term interest.

Let me use the example of the cosmetic surgery industry since that’s what inspired me to write this blog post.

Here we have highly skilled specialists who are entrusted with a surgical knife to make life changing cosmetic changes to people’s appearance. So let me ask you this, would you base your selection of a cosmetic surgeon or cosmetic firm on a “buy 1 get 1 free” marketing message – as is often used in the restaurant industry to save £25 ($35) on a meal?

Would someone enlighten me if I’m missing something here? Personally, I would never choose a surgeon who’s going to cut me open on the strength of a “buy 1 get 1 free” deal, and I can’t image who would!

If you are using these marketing tactics for your clinic or other professional service, you need to sit down and have a long hard think about your brand, your reputation, the message your are sending to your ideal customers and the kind of customers you are ideally trying to attract.

“Buy 1 or get 1 free” offers for any type of professional service, clever marketing or suicidal? Unless someone can put forward a very compelling argument for the former, my view is that its nothing short of suicidal.

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