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The Download with Dr Kelly - March 2024

Huge change is underway for the aesthetics industry – here’s what it means in terms of what you’ll see from us.

The aesthetic procedure industry has been hit a huge shake up this week and if you're engaged in the realm of cosmetic procedures, you'll have already heard all about the latest developments from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The TGA recently issued updates concerning the advertising protocols for cosmetic injectables, and the team at Coastal Goddess have spent the week acquainting ourselves with these adjustments.

So, here's the deal: the TGA noticed some fuzzy lines in how prescription medicines were being talked about in ads, especially in the cosmetic health services realm. They felt it was time to straighten things out and make sure everyone's on the same page when it comes to the rules.

In the past, clinics offering services like 'wrinkle reducing injections' could get away with using general terms in their ads, as long as they didn't name-drop specific products or ingredients. This was all about letting clinics stand out while playing by the rules.

But recently, the TGA noticed that other health services were also getting a bit too cozy with indirect mentions of prescription medicines.

So, what's the new deal? Well, we’re no longer allowed to use terms like 'dermal filler' or 'anti-wrinkle injections' in our marketing materials anymore. We’ve been forced to say goodbye to those catchy before-and-after images featuring prescription products, too. And all our publicly available price lists with details about injectable services, are currently being deleted. We can’t widely educate our patients, by explaining how injectable treatments work. Even our social media has had a huge clean out this week. Gone are our hashtags that mention those banned terms.

So what does this mean for the industry?

Talk of these changes has been moving through the rumor mill since January, but so far there has been very little consultation with the industry on what the impact might be to our business. While we intend to update our advertising as per the new standards, the move from the TGA feels like knee-jerk policy and not actually addressing their concerns of disinformation, but instead applying blanket bans that will push the industry cowboys to go rogue.

While some of us are committed to adopting the new regulations, they’ll be plenty of others that move ahead with the old standard of advertising, which will put early adopters at a huge disadvantage. I suspect the TGA will be out for some early scalps to set an example and show the industry they’re not playing around. Either that or they’ll be significant industry backlash that will force the TGA to go into the stakeholder engagement process it should have done to start with.

And then what does this mean for us?

This week, we spent a large chunk of our marketing budget going through all our social media channels and website, painstakingly taking down what needs to be removed. Not only was this process costly, but it hurts my head to think about the investment we put into all that amazing content which is now a total waste.

That said, we are turning our attention to how we move forward. We are in the process of rewriting our website to focus on promoting consultations rather than specific services. We will also be talking more to the concerns that our patients have, rather than the treatment that addresses it. We’ll still be doing before and after photos as well, just not for prescription treatments.

Our loyal patients know the premium doctor-led service that we have on offer and that is not changing, but it’s sad to think about how much harder it will be to attract new patients to our business, without being able to tell them exactly what we do.

I did have a moment this week where I felt very thankful that we have a broad range of treatment options available outside of prescription procedures, but I do feel sympathy for those who have focused on the niche prescription business. It’s a time of uncertainty and the unknown as we navigate this new marketing landscape.

Long story short, if you're in the business of cosmetic procedures, it's time to give your marketing materials a little makeover! The TGA is cracking down, and it's best to stay on their good side. Keep it clean, keep it compliant, and keep those patients coming through the door! We look forward to continuing to educate our valued clients in clinic through our free consultations, where we can say what we like! Word of mouth is the oldest form of marketing and clearly still very relevant and powerful now!


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