By Devon Niccole

Think you’ve missed out on the year’s best marketing opportunities? Think again.

This is the time of year many practice managers are beginning to construct business development goals and marketing plans for 2017. This exercise in strategic planning is essential to achieving any type of sustainable growth, but there’s one drawback: The books haven’t closed on 2016 yet.

With a few calendar months left in 2016, there’s still time to make this your best year yet and set up your practice for a steady stream of new patients, decreased no-show rates, higher conversion rates, and other improved key performance indicators (KPIs) next year. But how? Just take a page from the playbook of leading industry manufacturers by embracing engagement marketing powered by new aesthetic visualizer technology.

Warm Up Leads with Cool Technology

For many in our industry, the concept of driving marketing by using technology seems like a contradiction.

After all, shouldn’t marketing ­ with its goal of building long-term, trust-based relationships with patients ­ be a uniquely personal and intimate experience? And isn’t technology something that is automated and impersonal?

What once was is no longer, and that’s why leading manufacturers such as Allergan, Merz North America, and Neograft are gaining enviable market traction by adding a new marketing technology called aesthetic visualization to their branding and patient education efforts.

These manufacturers and others have tapped into the power of imagination to communicate the value and benefits of their procedures and services, tapping into a phenomenon Albert Einstein prioritized when he said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

Aesthetic Visualization Technology Lets Patients Imagine the Possibilities

The New Look Now Aesthetic Visualizer Platform is one of the “try-before-you-buy” visualization technologies inventive manufacturers are using to advance the aesthetic rejuvenation industry. This visualization technology gives consumers greater confidence in evaluating aesthetic procedures and deciding to move forward with treatments.

Merz was the first to identify aesthetic visualization as an engagement marketing trend, noting that that “visualizer” is quickly becoming one of the most powerful conversion tools they’ve experienced. One study showed 80% to 90% of consumers who tried on Ultherapy at events booked appointments and moved forward with Ultherapy treatment.

Seeing Truly Is Believing ­ and Buying

Manufacturers of cosmetic rejuvenation solutions aren’t the only ones deploying aesthetic visualization technology; forward thinking plastic surgeons and medical spas also are advancing their practices, and you can, too.

Visualizers have proven powerful in producing leads, converting appointments into treatments and decreasing patients’ treatment decision timeline, ­ and this shift in practice marketing and patient outreach is adding up for early adopters.

Visualization technology is driving a radical change in the way consumers make decisions about having aesthetic procedures. Practices at the forefront of this change are the ones standing out in engagement marketing. This is how the art of marketing meets the data of technology to spark consumer joy.

Here’s how you can follow their lead and give patients a “try before you buy” opportunity during the last few months of 2016:

• Show patients you understand their needs. The role of marketing is shifting. As Gartner analysts Jake Sorrofman and Laura McLellan summarized in a September 2014 study, “Marketing is expected to create exceptional branded moments at every customer touchpoint.” Visualizers allow practices to create the kind of exceptional branded moments consumers crave because the technology satisfies their curiosity about potential treatment options and gives them confidence by linking them directly to aesthetic experts in their area who are qualified to discuss and deliver exceptional outcomes.

• Nurture relationships with patients. Digital, social, and mobile technologies have forever altered the way people interact with brands ­ and make no mistake, every cosmetic surgery practice or medical spa is a brand. Visualizers offer ways for aesthetic industry professionals to engage in a meaningful way with inquiring consumers and current patients alike and build life-long, personalized relationships.

• Educate patients. You can show patients the potential results of aesthetic options available to them ­ on their own bodies ­ using an online visualizer. This “try-before-you-buy” approach will give them a sneak peek of what they could look like following popular treatments for face, breast, body, skin, teeth, and hair. With the New Look Now Aesthetic Visualizer Platform, for example, potential patients can select treatment options, upload a current photo of themselves, enter contact information, and receive by email a digitally created before-and-after photo within 24 hours. They can try on treatments from the comfort and privacy of their own homes using the platform, which also offers education about available treatment options to address various aesthetic concerns, such as sun spots, wrinkles or belly fat.

The potential is real. A recent American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) study documented that practices using the New Look Now Aesthetic Visualizer Platform reached a 58% consult-to-treatment conversation rate ­ far exceeding the industry average of 35%, ­ and enjoyed an increased lead volume that resulted in 36% more new patients.

How would you like to end 2016 with a threefold increase in booked treatments? Allergan’s marketing team noted that a recent email blast they executed with a “try on your treatment” message produced double the conversions as actual before and after imagery.

There may only be a few calendar pages left in 2016, but with aesthetic visualization technology, this year could look like your best year yet.

Devon Niccole is CEO and vice president of sales and marketing at New Look Now LLC. Learn more at