Consider this scenario. You find out from one of your patients that the practice down the block from yours sent out an eblast offering 40% off every laser treatment for the entire month of November. You go into panic mode and start slashing your fees to compete, offering 50% off every laser treatment. You call your webmaster urgently to post this special offer on your website, send an eblast out to patients, post it on your Facebook page, and take out an ad in the local paper to get the word out.

STOP YOURSELF NOW. You have fallen into the all too common trap of “me too” marketing and it isn’t pretty.

In the first place, by taking this approach, you are being reactive rather than proactive. In essence you are responding to what your competition is doing instead of setting the standard yourself. Rather than beating your competition, you are basically adopting the same strategy they are using. It is a fruitless exercise in chest pounding. The fallacy of this thinking is that before you can outsmart your competitors, potential customers must be able to tell you apart. In responding with desperation to avoid losing patients and treatment revenue to another practice, you may find yourself in the situation of discounting your fees so much in addition to outspending your competition, that your campaign will be too successful. You may end up doing more treatments, but losing money on every treatment you do! Furthermore, you have set a new precedent in your own practice. You have essentially devalued your time and expertise, and patients may come to expect more deep discounts in the future. In fact, those patients who are inclined to have fractional laser resurfacing or a dermal filler treatment may hold out for the next time you have a fire sale.

It is common for competing business to become slaves to overlapping messages and limited time offers and product prowess. By adapting the exact same marketing tactics that your competitors are using, you are missing out on an opportunity to differentiate yourself in the market. You are putting your practice at risk of getting buried in the pack. The knock on effect of this strategy is that you may unwittingly be commoditizing your own services.

A laser is not a laser is not a laser. The exact point of difference may lie in the quality of the technology, the expertise of the operator, and the results that are achieved. Another point of difference is the level of service, comfort and convenience being offered. The worst thing you can compete on is price alone, because there will always be someone willing to do it for less or cheapen the quality of the service to reduce the costs – such as dilluting BOTOX or using no name devices coming from overseas. Rather than reducing fees to match your competitors’ Groupon deals, why not elevate your brand to educate your customers on the benefits of what you offer.