Conference Coverage

Should you market your aesthetic services to the ‘Me Me Me Generation’?



– If the idea of marketing your aesthetic dermatology services to Millennials is an afterthought, Brian Biesman, MD, recommends that you reconsider that outlook. At the annual Masters of Aesthetics Symposium, Dr. Biesman told attendees that the age group dubbed as the “Me Me Me Generation” by Joel Stein of Time Magazine is slowly overtaking Baby Boomers as the largest shopping generation in history.

Dr. Brian Biesman

Dr. Brian Biesman

A large consumer survey conducted by Accenture found that by 2020, spending by Millennials will account for $1.4 trillion in U.S. retail sales. This segment of the population, which the Pew Research Center defines as those born from 1981 to 1996, also spends more online than any other generation. According to data from the consulting firm Bain & Company, 25% of luxury goods will be purchased online by 2025, up from 8% in 2016. “Millennials are going to be a huge economic driving force,” Dr. Biesman said.

Dr. Biesman, an oculofacial plastic surgeon who practices in Nashville, Tenn., said Millennials were born into a digital age. “They are very socially connected, sometimes to their detriment,” said Dr. Biesman, who is a past president of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. “They’re definitely in debt ... but they’re comfortable with that and don’t mind spending. Their priorities are different. They tend to put off marriage and having kids, and they’re driven by social media.

They also hold a strong interest in appearance, said Dr, Biesman, who noted that the average Millennial woman is more likely to be aware of beauty issues by a factor of 10 years younger than her mother’s generation. “At age 25, Millennial women are getting interested in aesthetics, whereas the older generation didn’t start until about 35,” he said. Millennials “are educated, and they use the Internet to read up on procedures.” In his clinical experience, Millennials seek aesthetic treatments to resolve specific issues such as acne scars, to try noninvasive aesthetic treatments for “prejuvenation,” to beautify or to address dissatisfaction with their appearance, and to keep up with the latest trends endorsed or promoted by the media or by celebrities. The most popular procedures include neuromodulators, fillers (especially in the lips and in the infraorbital hollow), minimally invasive laser hair removal, superficial laser resurfacing, and prescription skin care and cosmeceuticals.

According to a 2018 survey of 500 Millennials conducted by the aesthetics site Zalea, 32% were considering a cosmetic procedure and 6.6% had undergone one. Of the 149 Millennials who completed all of the survey questions, 65% indicated that they relied on Google search for information about cosmetic treatments, which was a higher proportion than for physicians (63%), friends and family (60%), and social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter (25%). Dr. Biesman said that a paradigm shift is under way in aesthetic dermatology, in which the traditional means of achieving a strong reputation amongst patients by excellent training, publications, and research can be replaced by building a visible social media presence/personality.

“The social media influencer factor is a real phenomenon, and can carry tremendous weight due to their perceived relationship with their audience/followers,” Dr. Biesman said. “Some physicians are influencers, while others collaborate with influencers.” He emphasized that the decision to work with social media influencers depends on your preference, your comfort level/trust, the professionalism of the influencer, and your overall social media strategy. “The more you share about yourself, the more successful your social media account will be,” he said. “You need to determine your comfort zone, such as how much of your life you want to share.”

He advises aesthetic dermatologists to develop a strategy for reaching out to and incorporating Millennials into their practice. “Be deliberate in assessing the profile of your practice demographics, and determine which patient groups you want to serve, and to what extent,” he said. “If your practice is focused on minimally invasive aesthetics, it’s important to understand the Millennial mindset, because this is the largest group of consumers.”

Dr. Biesman reported having no relevant disclosures related to his presentation.

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