Let's say you needed a tissue and asked a friend for a Kleenex... would you be perturbed if they handed you a Puffs instead?
Silly point, but it seems to be somewhat of an ethical conundrum that I came across at ASLMS while talking with a group of physicians who are contemplating adding laser lipo to their already successful aesthetic practices and are unsure of how to market it.
Let’s face it, there have been quite a few technological advancements since the FDA approval of the first SmartLipo in November of 2006. There’s ProLipo, Vaser Lipo, SlimLipo,... let me take a breath here... Cool Lipo, LipoLite, Lipotherme (I know I have omitted some, but you get my point).
Since SmartLipo was first to market, it has now become a household name like Band-Aid or Clorox even though we know there are more brands of those products. In fact, the same situation is going to happen once Reloxin is released.
These physicians made a valid point when they stated patients are calling in asking for “SmartLipo”. So what if the physician decided they want a different laser lipo device? How would they market it since the public is primarily only aware of “SmartLipo” and are specifically asking for it?
Ethics suggest to me to market it as “laser lipo” and that use of the name “SmartLipo” would not only be misleading, but probably even illegal for false advertising. So what’s a physician to do if he wants different technology? What’s the best marketing strategy?
- Purchasing a used SmartLipo device on eBay, perhaps, just to say they own one?
- Advertising your device as a “SmartLipo-like” device?
- Co-purchasing a SmartLipo device with another practice?
It definitely proves the point that first-to-market has sustaining branding longevity.
Author: Paula D. Young RN runs internal operations and training at Young Medical Spa and is the author of the Medical Spa Aesthetics Course, Study Guide, and Advanced IPL & Laser Training course for medical estheticians and laser technicians.
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