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    Smart lipo program promotes smart service

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    Dr. Acunzo
    You have to spend money to make money, but one advertising executive says that his company's turnkey approach to laser lipolysis marketing has not seen balance sheet red yet.

    Francis Acunzo, CEO and founder, Acara, an advertising and marketing agency for medical spas and aesthetic practices, says Acara has led four medical spas through 10 of the agency's Laser Lipolysis Business Boosting Programs. The tried-and-true system gives physicians and medical spa directors all the guidance they need to successfully hold an event aimed at educating and selling the service to those who attend.

    Mr. Acunzo, who has been in the medspa business for 25 years, started recommending that his clients look into laser lipolysis a few years ago and has since honed the event marketing program. Acara started marketing the turnkey approach to aesthetic and medspa practices in February this year.

    "In testing a variety of different ways in which we could market laser lipolysis, we determined that...having an educational event, or seminar, was very effective," he says.

    PROGRAM ELEMENTS

    For $3,000 (per event) and 20 percent of event sales (for up to five days after the event), practices purchase a step-by-step approach to holding a laser lipolysis educational event. That includes ad templates; event planning and an event guide (how to run it); and coaching on how to promote the event. The fee includes individualizing programs for the medical spa's location, market and more. Mr. Acunzo says that Acara even has a Power Point presentation in which it can drop a doctor's befores and afters, other photos, logos and other doctor-specific items, to show at the event.

    Acara works with clients for about eight weeks for each event, according to Acunzo.

    "We have somebody onsite for a day and a half. The first day is sales training and event facilitation and the next day is to help and coach the team and to how they do the follow-up calls and finalize and close on those interested in buying," he says.

    Acara's expenses, including travel, are not covered in the $3,000. Practices might also spend additional money on advertising the event and need to consider food, drinks and other expenses they will have when they hold the actual seminars.

    Practices that are already advertising, might not increase their advertising expenditures because they can simply piggyback on the ads they run to promote laser lipolysis and the seminar, but those that do not advertise often spend between $1,500 to $5,000 to promote each event, according to Mr. Acunzo.

    "What impacts [how much they spend on advertising] are the market and how good their database is. If they have a really good database of emails and mailing addresses, we can use direct mail and email as more cost effective [than print ads]," he says.

    As for the food, drinks and more to keep attendees happy, Acunzo says that one of his clients insists on hosting events with complimentary dinner for his guests, while others have light hors d'oeuvres and drinks.

    And keeping the event onsite avoids the need to pay for rooms elsewhere.

    "The total cost of the advertising and promotion of an event, not including our fee, should be no more than 20 percent of event sales. That is our rule of thumb," Mr. Acunzo says.

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    Lisette Hilton
    Lisette Hilton is a writer in Boca Raton, Fla., who heads up her company, Words Come Alive.

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