The OPPOSITE of Branding (Part 2 of 3)

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This Week’s Question:

The OPPOSITE of Branding (Part 2 of 3)

Dear Catherine,

My competitors run tasteless ads discounting their cosmetic services and it’s making it difficult for me to compete because I will NOT play that game. I think it’s obnoxious to promote oneself that way and I don’t want to lower my standards to THIS way of promoting my practice to attract new patients. I believe it hurts not only the profitability but also the branding of the practice. Do you agree or not?

Dr. A

Catherine’s Answer:

Hello Dr. A,

Thanks for a great question. Last week, the question was, “Do I need to Brand Me?”

This blog #2 talks about the OPPOSITE of Branding which is Direct Response Marketing.

While “Branding” attempts to get you to FEEL a certain way;
Direct-Response Marketing attempts to get you to ACT.

And, while Branding NEVER has a measurable call to action because it doesn’t even try to persuade you to do something, Direct Response marketing has one goal: persuade you to take a specific action that leads to a sale. Here are examples of both:













See the difference? Branding is all about the surgeon and how great he/she is and the why the prospective patient wants to choose them.

Direct response advertising is about the patient’s desires and how to get it NOW. It’s measurable. It’s accountable. It includes an offer for a limited time. It’s raw because you see the results….or you don’t.

Note the elements used that make it a “Direct Response” promotion:

  • Eye-Catching Headline
  • Graphics that pop (surgeon’s photo + before/after photos);
  • Emotional and logical copy with benefits;
  • Social proof (facts and before/after photos);
  • Compelling offer;
  • Sense of urgency to act now;
  • Total clarity in what to do next (Call)

So, which promotion did better? We don’t know. Why? Because we can’t track the branding promotion and have to rely on anecdotal information from a patient who said they saw the branding promo and researched the surgeon and then chose him. Whereas the direct-response ad will have very certain results because the callers will be asking about how they can use the gift card by the designated expiration date.

Track and Measure

The easiest way to track the effectiveness of your direct-response promotion is to use a special tracking phone number or website so you know, without a doubt, very specific data such as:

  • How many calls received?
  • How many website visitors?The OPPOSITE of Branding
  • OF THOSE, how many booked an appointment?
  • OF THOSE, how many showed up?
  • OF THOSE, how many said YES?
  • OF THOSE, revenues generated?

Now simply compare the expense of the promotion against the revenues generated and that will tell you if you should continue the promotion, tweak it or drop it.

Results to Expect

In the old days, surgeons were told you should be getting 4-10x ROI. I believe sales people were saying that because there was NO easy way to track anything. It was anecdotal so they weren’t held accountable for results. Not any more.

The good news about technology is that you CAN track everything. You can tell who called, what they wanted, who clicked on what, and so on.

The OPPOSITE of BrandingHowever, there are so many variables that go into your results such as: who you are competing with for attention, space or ranking in the search engines, timing, audience, channel, copy, call to action, website design and loading speed, ease of use, phone system and receptionist skills, that its tough to know the REAL numbers.

For example, you could get a 5x ROI but never realize that if you simply improved your receptionist’s skills, it could have been a 6-10x ROI without spending another dime.

By the way, the most profitable cosmetic practices see value in the “back-end” revenues that come from a cosmetic patient you’ve built a relationship with so they return and refer.

So, these surgeons are willing and even glad to break even. Because the savvy surgeons know they can make 5 to 50X the value of the first visit when they nurture that “preferred” patient who returns for a lifetime and is worth up to 6 figures to them.

The final post #3 will answer the question, “What’s better: Branding or Direct Response?

I would love to hear from you on this topic.
What results have YOU gotten from either Branding or Direct Response marketing?


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