man in the mirror
man in the mirror

Are you commoditizing yourself without realizing it?

Take a look at your services or product offerings. Core services like cataract surgery. Premium cash-pay services like LASIK or Aesthetic surgery.

Now take a look at your competitor’s offerings. Chances are that they’re the same or at least pretty similar. Well, that is to be expected since they’re also an ophthalmology practice.

How are you so different than your competitor?

Let’s take a look at cataract surgery as an example. If your practice does cataract surgery and their practice does cataract surgery, why should a prospective patient choose you over them?

They say “We do laser cataract surgery.” So you say, “So do we!”

They say “We use Acme’s fancy new multifocal implant.” You say “We do, too!”

They put up a group photo of their doctors wearing suits and ties in the familiar “penalty kick” pose. So you do, too! (BTW is anybody still wearing suits and ties post-pandemic?)

Are you seeing a pattern here? There is really nothing in your messaging that distinguishes what you do from what they do.

Congratulations! You have just commoditized yourself! You could just rely on your uncommonly good looks and the fact that your average ratings score of 4.83 just edges out their 4.79. But that’s not likely to move the needle. Because all that really matters with a commodity is the price.

A Lesson From The Not-so-distant Past

For those of you who do LASIK, think back to the early 2000s when as the corporate LASIK centers jumped in and drove prices down.

At first, independent LASIK surgeons also lowered their prices to try to compete but realized they were working harder for less, in a race to the bottom.

So what did the smart practices do?

They changed the OFFER.

Instead of “We’re cheaper”, they said “We offer a better patient experience, concierge service, and VIP treatment.”

This should apply to any and all of your premium services:

  • Offer LASIK? Why you and not the discount laser center an hour away?
  • Have an oculoplastics specialist and aesthetics services? Why are they special?
  • Optical? Why shouldn’t they just get cheaper glasses at Walmart?

I think you get the picture.

In other posts, we will take things a step further in our evolution of getting away from commoditization while at the same time increasing the lifetime customer value of your patients.

Here’s a hint: Product/Service >>> Offer >>> FUNNELS

Peter J Polack MD FACS

Founder of Emedikon Marketing Systems and a practicing cornea specialist in a large multispecialty practice. Peter specializes in refractive laser and cataract surgery, cornea, and external diseases.

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