The mass marketing company, Life Style Lift filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. As a result, thousands of patients have been rumored to have been stranded having pre-paid for cosmetic services now seeking legal advice to recoup their money. Their mass marketing business plan commoditized a cosmetic surgical procedure targeting the Greatest Generation’s desire to look as good as they feel. Many of these buyers not only got scammed on the mass marketing, but the lure of positive results based on that marketing focus instead of quality and credentials of the surgeon. The internet has been littered with their derogatory reviews and scathing blog articles. Yet, these buyers ignored these Caveat Emptor warnings and chose to compromise their finances and faces for the Debby Boone ads in hopes of “lighting up” their lives.
Life Style Lift was a company centered on a mass marketing campaign. They first began as a pay-for-the-referral marketing company where the physicians would pay per “sales lead.” Eventually, the mass marketing grew into a larger scale scheme involving surgery centers and plans to build more. The physicians were mostly NOT plastic surgeons, but doctors from a variety of specialty backgrounds with or without surgical experience. So where did they go wrong? I’m being sarcastic with that question.
Not even founded by a Real Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, but a physician with the “D.O.” credential, the company did not focus on credentials for their selected physicians but rather a test of “compliance” to follow their orders according to their company business plan which included a very precise surgical procedure for the face which has been widely criticized for how it cut corners in patient care. So where did they go wrong? Their one-size-fits-all facelift is just the beginning of their failure. Patients presented with mediocre results, poor after patient care, extensive bruising and swelling, and continued sales pressure to purchase additional procedures.
The Life Style Lift business plan was to mass market a face lift primarily through television advertisements. Potential “customers” would call their call center that housed dozens of people answering the phones to collect as much information as possible. Those customers would then be directed to a consultation center to meet with a consultationist or maybe a physician who may or may not be the actual physician to perform their procedure. A very heavy sales pressure would be placed on the potential face lift patient that included reserving a surgical date and making a financial commitment to either pay in full or pay a substantial deposit. Their average facelift has been reported to have cost $6000, of which approximately only $1000 or less actually went to the physician performing the procedure. The remaining of the money obviously went towards the operative facility, staff, and that mass marketing campaign that got you there.
Their facelift procedure was nothing new or ground-breaking either. Based on a local anesthesia protocol, this anesthetic method for facial procedures has been around for decades and is actually more common than general anesthesia. In fact, my own plastic surgeon husband has been performing facial procedures under local anesthesia for decades, but he is also a real board certified plastic surgeon. The Life Style Lift face lift procedure involved their strict business plan which pressured the operating physicians to complete up to 8 per day. A business plan that cut corners on patient care including the exclusion of post-operative drains that help reduce swelling and bruising, shorter incisions or mal-positioned incisions that were not always in the best interest of the patient’s results. Obviously, the Life Style Lift business plan focused more on their bottom dollar than the results itself.
Now in bankruptcy, the internet is littered with folks like me writing “I told you so” articles. The Life Style Lift proved how a great marketing plan can deliver consumers to your business. However, that business still needs to deliver what they are selling in order to grow and maintain that positive marketing brand. Perhaps it was greed that drove LSL to the ground. It is known they had business plans to expand their surgery centers nationwide dependent of being fed by their television ads. So where did they go wrong? Outside of their poor selection process of operative physicians failing to require they be board certified plastic surgeons, their facelift procedure itself was flawed and inhibited by their business plan to turn the patient in a hurry so as to move onto another one. Their business plan failed to recognize the facelift patient as an actual patient, not another dollar.