Digital Marketing Predictions & Trends for 2015

Happy, happy New Year! It seems already that 2015 is charging ahead at a faster pace than 2014, and we’re only in the second week! I often get asked about what I think is going to be the “next big thing” in marketing for your aesthetic practice. That’s a great question — one that I’ve given a lot of thought to. Actually, I don’t think there’s going to be just one big thing, but several of them — and I have some very specific predictions for which marketing you should be using — and which you should be avoiding — in the coming year.

Prediction 1 — Old, Haphazard Digital Marketing Tactics Won’t Cut It Anymore

Out with the old, disparate digital marketing tactics — and in with the need to create a common brand experience across digital and offline marketing.

In other words, it’s going to become even more essential in the coming twelve months that your practice (your brand) is marketed the same way in digital media as it is in traditional. This means no more “Frankenstein Marketing” — where one marketing provider creates your website and another does your social media, where your local magazines all “kindly” offer to create your display ads for you and your equipment providers trot out their own “ready-made” advertising… and so on. Too many hands in the pot results in a very inconsistent marketing message, which damages your reputation and any trust and rapport you’re trying to build with your prospective patients. To be the premier physician in your market, your prospective patients expect your practice to appear in the same way across all forms of media — with a unified, distinctive and very powerful marketing message. It’s time to invest in a distinctive brand for your practice and carve out a new position in your market place (for ideas on how, see my blog post on marketing lessons from Whole Foods grocery store). Which brings me to my second prediction…

Prediction 2 — No More Boring Ad Copy and Cookie-Cutter Marketing

Your marketing content — like your social media posts, blog posts and e-newsletters — has to be informative and educational, obviously. But it has to do more still. It has to entertain, too.

Physicians who simply pitch their services, or dryly recite facts about their services, are going to find themselves struggling even harder to attract new patents. It’s about creating marketing that simultaneously: 1) is truly useful to your patients, 2) expertly positions you at the top of your market and 3) is fun and interesting to read. The old adage “The same is lame” has never been more true for marketing your aesthetic practice than it is now in 2015. You need to differentiate yourself and your practice from your competitors as quickly as possible. This means refusing all forms of cookie-cutter marketing, that makes your practice look the same as your competition. Those digital marketing companies you see hawking their services at trade shows? Guess how many of your competitors they’re also working with. That’s not a good thing — it’s a guarantee you’ll wind up looking just the same as they do — your website, your blog posts, your pay-per-click marketing campaigns. I call this the “Wal-Mart approach” to marketing, because it’s marketing that positions your practice as just another medical commodity. Avoid that this year at all costs, and if you’re currently using a provider that fits this description, then it’s time to look elsewhere.

Prediction 3 — The Rise of the Personality-Driven Brand

You are the truly unique thing about your practice. Your skills, your expertise, your personality cannot be copied.

So why do so many physicians insist on branding their practice to sound like a big, impersonal healthcare center or day spa? Your patients are buying YOU. They trust YOU — and once you’ve won their trust and proven to them that you truly care about them as people, they’ll accept any recommendations you have to help them look and feel better about themselves. 2015 is going to see those practices which promote the personality of the physician ascend quickly to the top, while others with a more generic-sounding brand will be jostling elbow-to-elbow and vying for attention in a very crowded and competitive marketplace.

Prediction 4 — Niche Marketing Will Become a Must-Have

The market is going to become even more disparate and hard to reach, and niche marketing will become a necessity, not a “nice-to-have”.

Long gone are the days of rolling out your marketing message to the masses and hoping it will reach the right people. Twenty years ago, everyone used to sit down as a family and watch the evening news. Now you need never read or watch any news unless you choose to. Some people never watch anything other than ESPN. Others never lift their heads up from their X-Box except for the occasional bathroom break. So just how do you reach these people? The answer is — you don’t, unless they’re identified as a specific part of your target market that you’re particularly going after. Some of the most lucrative niche markets for your practice might be newly divorced women, Hispanic women who appreciate curves and are eager for Brazilian butt lifts, baby-boomer women who are embarking on a whole new chapter of re-invention…the number of possible niche markets is almost endless. This means that in 2015 you’re going to need to be much more strategic with your marketing dollars, carefully researching and selecting the media you choose to advertise in, and the messages you choose to send. This “rifle” approach (as opposed to a shotgun), means that every last one of your marketing dollars is actually hitting a target!

With the right marketing in place, everything else falls into place as well. The new year is a time for new approaches, new beginnings. Take the proverbial bull by the horns and resolve that 2015 will be the year you finally get rid of marketing that fails to produce. Do it for yourself, for your practice, and for your patients. Think of it as an exfoliation! Slough off the jumble of “Frankenstein” marketing. Get rid of that boring ad copy. Reveal the truly unique thing about your practice: YOU. Make your marketing count.

As a physician, it’s sometimes frustrating to think of yourself as being “in business”, as well as “in practice”. However, the sooner you can embrace this idea, the sooner you will actually find your profits increasing, and your time freed up for doing things you truly enjoy — a little more time on the links, more time with your family, and more time actually practicing medicine!