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Over recent years local marketing has become increasingly transparent. With the advent of social media and e-commerce, businesses have had to shed their timidity (read, secrecy) around their services, staff and pricing.

Anyone who’s been in this industry for a while can very well recall clients pursing their lips and wringing their hands over the thought of publishing their prices online. “I don’t want my competitors to undercut my prices”, “What if my competitors start to offer a similar service?”, they would say. And to a degree, they were right. Competition is rife on a small island like ours, especially where global brands are concerned.

But there’s no sales without marketing – and the crux of marketing is raising awareness.

And unless you’re running a strip club, teasing your audience won’t get you very far.

Transparency in marketing is crucial.

As consumers become more aware, more tech savvy, and most of all more empowered to do research and compare product specs, customer reviews and general vibes, playing coy won’t work for you.

One hallmark marketing strategy is to focus on benefits over features. Both are obviously important, but let’s say you’re trying to sell a chair. A universal feature is that you can sit on it. A unique benefit that may belong to that specific chair is that it carries ergonomic benefits. And focusing on that benefit will help make your product stand out.

That was a very basic example. Now let’s take a dive deep into one of our clients; Saint James Eye Clinic.

Way back in 2017 we signed on to help SJEC promote their SMILE eye laser procedure on social media. The SMILE procedure had been introduced that year, and saw groundbreaking results in minimally invasive eye surgery, and record recovery time. This was in stark contrast to previous eye laser procedures which were especially painful during and after the surgery.

A key part of onboarding a new client is to review their previous output. The Clinic’s social media posts focused very much on the features – this procedure was innovative, performed by world class surgeons, and a very expensive, very sophisticated machine was at the centre of it all.

All great, all true.

But when you’re working against a 30-year-old stigma that eye laser surgery is super painful, expensive and only worthwhile if you really really need it, features alone just don’t cut it.

Our first challenge was to alter people’s viewpoint.

So why does laser surgery scare people off? Well partly because it deals with the eyes, and we’re very sensitive about them, thanks to evolution. Secondly it’s the fear of pain. Third, it’s the perceived eye-watering price.

However, the SMILE eye laser procedure offers a minimally invasive intervention that will restore clear vision in a matter of hours – at an affordable price, and with no pain before, during, or after.

The total opposite of the procedures that came before it.

The end result is the same. You get to remove your specs.

There began our campaigns on changing the narrative around eye laser – it is necessary, it is accessible, it is affordable. It’s everything you didn’t think it was.

Shifting Focus

Now that people were able to relate the benefits of eye laser, it was time to reveal more. We began producing videos which not only gave people a behind the scenes look at the clinic, but also put people directly in touch with the surgeons behind the procedures.

Making people aware of the benefits of SMILE then led to people doing research about the procedure, eligibility, risks and pricing.

The SJEC website hosts a plethora of resources that empower users to learn all there is to know about the procedure, it features a complete list of the videos, users are able to find pricing for available procedures. We just recently added an interactive quiz which will help users find out what kind of surgery users are eligible for.

We believe knowledge is power.

There’s very little that a patient can’t learn about eye laser surgery via SJEC’s channels – as it should be! The procedure is clearly explained, the costs outlined, and you hear from the surgeons who carry the procedures out, as well as SJEC staff members who underwent various procedures to get crystal clear eyesight. It couldn’t be more transparent!

Part of marketing a life altering procedure is empowering your potential customers to the point where they feel like they are fully in the know about what they expect the end result to be. This builds trust – in the service provider, and confidence – in the client who’s looking to invest their time and money into a service. That’s precisely what we did, and we know we were successful because patients nowadays walk in armed with informed questions about specific treatments, and fully prepared to take this step and see a brand new world.

Diane Brincat

Author Diane Brincat

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