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« The Dermacare Thread: 221 comments & going strong. | Main | Medspa Advertising: What's the message here. »
Tuesday
Jun192007

Med Spa vs Laser Clinic: Analyzing your medical spa competiton.

Get to know the laser clinic and med spa competition.

 

Contrary to what some may say, growing your clinic or medical spa isn't a single event.

Successful clinics and medspas look for 'incremental wins' that compound over time. The key to winning market share is to differentiate your company by providing products, services or solutions that your best prospects will find more desirable than what's offered by your competitors.

Experienced marketers know it's easier to fill an existing need than to create one. Someone who is already using the type of product or service you offer is a great prospect because he or she has a clearly defined need and is looking for a solution.

The job of convincing qualified prospects to buy from you instead of your competitors' is where the real work begins. One of the first steps is knowing what the other clinics, day spas, medical spas, and others who might be competing are up to in your market.

1. Do some detective work. Ok, this is a little spy like, but don't think all of your competitors aren't doing it to you and it's just good business sense. Start by gathering your competitors' marketing tools and advertising materials. Read their web site, print and broadcast advertising, and articles in which they've been featured. Request their brochures, price lists and any collateral materials. You may also be able to do some mystery shopping, which will allow you to experience what these medical spas are offering and how their positioning themselves. You'll want to send your staff rather than visiting yourself if you want to avoid embarrassing situations. (Surface has had more than 45 plastic surgeons, dermatologists and other physicians attend our seminars over the last five years in this type of sneaky capacity. They're not hard to spot and often they're 'outed' by women in the audience. They're the guys (mostly) who are sitting in the back scribbling furiously while their estheticians sit up front and ask telling questions like, "Now types of sutures do you use?".)

2. Evaluate your "slant" competitors. Chances are, you have a lot more competitors than you think. In addition to real competitors, evaluate the marketing tools and materials of any businesses your prospects perceive as offering a similar set of products or services. It's very common for day spas to attempt to compete with medical practices by offering a few medical services from a NP or PA. Microderm is often touted as some sort of medical type treatment. OBGYN's, FP's, pretty much whoever is in the market or wanting to get in. Know who's saying what about you.

3. Focus on the message. Once you've gathered the materials, the next step is to analyze what's being communicated and how. Identify the key promises made by your broad field of competitors. And don't be surprised if you see a lot of "me too" marketing. There's so much out there that's mediocre or worse, you may find the majority of your competitors have similar messaging, with only a few front-runners showing anything approaching real positioning. (This probably refers to you but we'll work on that.)

After assessing the most effective messaging, look at the actual tools and materials themselves. What formats seem to work best overall? At this point, your competitive analysis will reveal whether your company is lacking any standard tools that prospects expect everyone in your industry to offer.

4. Find a unique spin. So now comes the 'look in the mirror' moment. You've gathered all the materials and have learned the key message points of your real and perceived competitors. It all boils down to this: How does your clinic meet its patients' needs in a way that is both unique and compelling?

To find the answer, consider not only the products or services you sell, but also how you operate, including any company-specific characteristics, such as a higher level of customer service or uniquely specific positioning. If you can't find a selling point based on your current service offering that will help you stand out from your competitors, use what you've learned in this competitive analysis to retool what you sell and how you sell it.

If you can't see any difference between yourself and your competitors, why should you think any patient would choose you? 

Reader Comments (2)

Got a question on advertising and competition. Is it ever appropriate or would you ever recommend comparing yourself to a competitor? For instance, you're more affordable, you have a doctor in house for every procedure, etc or is that considered going 'negative' and is that not recommended?

06.20 | Unregistered CommenterJarvik7

Jarvik7,
I wouldn't compare myself directly by putting up an ad that says 'we have a doc here and _________ doesn't. I would put out an ad that says 'we have a doc here for every procedure'.

It's a real negative if patients see you as 'badmouthing' the competition. Accentuate your positives... Eliminate your negatives.

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