I have found one of the most interesting aspects in the area of marketing hair transplants is that of being on the organized group recommended list. It’s where a group of individuals get together, string a few letters together with an important sounding name, develop a criteria list and most importantly collect a fee from the clinic to be on that list. What’s even more amazing is that this is all legal and it appears to be a very normal way of marketing to many outside observers.
I happen to live in a unique area of the world, Chicago, IL. We have a total of 6 governors who have been charged with crimes during or after their governorships with 4 being convicted. Our last governor who is currently ready to be tried again lives about 6 blocks away from me in a nice quiet middle class neighborhood. He can often be seen jogging in the area and is always quick with a smile and a friendly wave and I always wave back. He really seems like a nice guy and that’s the problem. It’s very hard to believe that anyone this nice could really be doing anything wrong. After all he’s always talking about how he is just helping the people.
Chicago is located in Cook County which is often referred to as Crook County because of massive amount of corruption. The organization that runs it all is referred to as “The Machine”. Over time it has become increasing harder and harder to do business here without the backing of The Machine. It’s called pay to play and it is deeply entrenched in the system. In the music business it was referred to as payola. Of course this is all illegal. To pay a fee to be put at the top of the list or be on the list at all is against the law it’s called a kickback and not a sponsorship fee. But in essence it is one in the same. This is why I find it so odd that in the field of hair transplants it’s perceived as being normal.
As we well know in Cook County, once “The Machine” becomes too big, there is a point where it then becomes the controlling force in the market as opposed to the market forces in themselves determining who the best happen to be based on merit. So as citizens we are left to pay hefty prices for shoddy work while The Machine keeps getting fatter with power.
Another poster on another forum mentioned the team mentality when speaking out against a doctor that has done poor work. I have seen the same thing happen all too often. The power of being on the list comes with it a team mentality. So if you speak out against someone on the list you are speaking out against the team. It’s a natural reaction for the team to try and stifle this rebellion. We can see how strong this natural reaction is when we watch team sports and how fans react to someone bad mouthing their team, sometimes it even results in death. All this makes those who maintain the list stronger and stronger but more so for themselves and not for the benefit of the patient.
I think it is quite possible that the high quality and highly skilled clinics will reach a point where they will have regretted being part of the list. It’s almost like paying protection money. What happens once you stop paying? Does this mean that you are no longer a high quality and highly skilled clinic? Probably not, but then it becomes a matter of perception and this is what marketing is all about. Not about the truth so much, but what is perceived as the truth.