Let’s face it, while there are certainly plenty of men and women who extoll the virtues of growing older and revel in the thought of graying hair and wrinkles they worked hard to earn, there a whole bunch of other of us out there who feel differently on that front. And those of us? We’re not going down without a fight. I readily admit to being in that latter, clearly more vain, camp. Which is how I ended up discovering, then quickly breaking up with, the handsome Beverly Hills MD.
But first, let’s go back to the vanity thing—is it really vanity? Caring about one’s looks and overall countenance to the extent that whatever work is required to try to stay youthful, fit, strong, attractive-looking, etc.—is that really the definition of a vain person? There’s an argument that is not, in fact, vanity, but instead, pride, or so says Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice: “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” Pride? Vanity? Maybe in my case, it’s a little bit of both—I can live with that.
Whatever your motivation for embracing things or actions that forestall the obvious signs of aging, I say go for it. There’s not one thing wrong with working with what you’ve got. Which leads me back to my “first date” with John Layke, of Beverly Hills MD fame.
How I Got Roped in to Beverly Hills MD to Begin With
But being vain or prideful about looks or fitness is not the same as being totally taken for a sucker, which I think it’s safe to say we all find irritating. Yet sometimes even the most intelligent among us can experience a sucker moment. You know what I’m talking about—those times when, in spite of the fact that your inner skeptic tells you that you know better, you still manage to fall for a story that’s really too good to be true, told by a pretty face. That’s exactly what happened to me when I somehow managed to find myself tuned into an infomercial produced by the folks at Beverly Hills MD.
The magic rabbit hole that is the internet somehow managed to deliver BHMD’s Dr. John Layke, to me, all handsome and smiling, in what must have been a weak moment. The video that got me happened to be on the topic of crepey skin and, I suppose I figured why not see what this dude has to say. I don’t really know why I watched—I know better. I’m a marketer—I know what infomercials are intended to do.
But I did watch. Maybe it was because Layke seemed to understand exactly how I feel about even the thought of crepey skin and how much I fear and loathe it. Let’s face it, there’s stuff you can do to combat wrinkles, gray hair, muffin tops, lack of muscle tone, and other inevitable signs of aging, but battling aging skin—that’s a whole different ballgame. Layke’s creative team has done their homework. They know that I’m not about to be wooed by a dumb sales pitch about how to look like a celebrity, but if they throw in some data points and science factoids, they’re going to get my attention. They also understand, apparently, that quite a few of us hate things that we can’t do anything about. Like gravity, for instance. Or crepey skin.
The Uber Persuasive Messaging Tactics Used Are Key
Here’s the thing: I’m a marketer. I appreciate persuasive messages that compel a prospective customer to action. Beverly Hills MD has done an impressive job of creating a body of compelling content around a number of products that naturally appeal to both men and women as they age, and they do a great job convincing you to buy. Further evidence of their brilliance is what happens once a customer starts walking through the buying process.
Here’s a screenshot from the page of their website featuring the Crepe Correcting Body Complex product. Notice the compelling calls-to-action? Phrases like “Last chance” “get our first time customer price” “important update” and “due to high demand” are all pretty much jumping out from that page?
The whole point of this messaging is to seduce you with that “first time customer” language and the thought that you’ll never again get in on that “first time customer” pricing, so you need to hurry up and buy more. Just to be safe, they also invite you beat the “high demand” for their products and join the “Inner Circle Program” where you’re guaranteed to “get priority access and even bigger savings” because the product is clearly flying off the shelves. Or so it would seem. Marketing. It’s a beautiful thing. Also a beautiful thing? Building your list. And that’s exactly what Beverly Hills MD works to do, from the very first moment you visit their website—this is what you see. You might not be remotely ready to buy, but it’s hard to resist that CTA to check out the “First Time Customer Special” and then—they’ve got you in their database. Because you opted in. Marketers take note, that’s a really brilliant email marketing list-building tactic right there.
Did It Work?
Here’s what I’m going to tell you: I bought this stuff because I was curious. I actually really liked how it smelled, and how it felt on my skin. Did it feel any different than the Nivea lotion I already use? Not really. Did it deliver magical results, transporting my 50-something-ish legs back to the awesomeness of their 30s? Nope. Did I really expect it would? Nope. But I also didn’t return the three jars I bought (dude, first time customer pricing, weren’t you listening?) for the full money back refund the company promised because I don’t hate it. But I’m never buying it again—and that’s what should matter most. Why? Where did they lose me? Well, that has everything to do with trust.
What Happened? The Stalking Started
When you buy a product from a company, it’s the beginning of a relationship with that company. This is where they have the opportunity to deepen and strengthen that relationship, and perhaps make you into a long-term customer. That typically only happens if the product or service is so amazing you can’t live without it, so cheap and easy you can’t quit it (like that gym membership you buy but don’t use), and/or if you also really and truly like the company that provides the product or service. Today, everything is a commodity, so that relationship-building with customers is a critical part of the equation if you want their business, and their trust.
What the folks at Beverly Hills MD did after my purchase is that they started what can really only be described as uber aggressive stalking. And it changed everything, killing any desire to ever buy another thing from this company. It also served to make me feel like I had been totally scammed by their marketing machine.
Immediately after my purchase arrived, my phone started ringing. Very nice telemarketers wanted to know how I liked my product and then they wanted to sell me tons of other Beverly Hills MD products. You know those telemarketing calls—where they show up on your caller ID with a local phone number, so they trick you into answering? They’re smart, I’ll give them that. And no matter how many times I told these telemarketers to take me off of their list and put me on the “Do Not Call” list, they kept calling. Even the telemarketers, who were truly all very nice, knew exactly what I was talking about when I described the company’s behavior as “stalking.” They were sympathetic and understanding, which I appreciated, and just doing their jobs.
After I started writing this post, looking at their site examining the customer journey, I realized I gave the shysters my consent, without realizing it. See below for the lingo on their order page, which you, like me, are probably not paying nearly enough attention to:
Consent. I gave them consent to call me at the phone number they required me to provide. Here’s the billing information form:
Other Marketing Tactics Employed—And Where That Went Wrong
As I expected, the volume of emails I received from Beverly Hills MD after the purchase was staggering, always offering some other product that was sure to change my life. I really don’t mind that—I expect to be emailed after a purchase and I expect to be marketed to. In addition, and also not surprisingly, BHMD’s remarketing and retargeting efforts are aggressive. There’s nary a website I visit these days that doesn’t show me BHMD products I can’t live without. This happens to you all the time, too, I’m sure—it’s not unusual, and there’s not a thing wrong with it.
I’m a marketer, so I pay a lot of attention to marketing tactics—likely more than the average customer. I also spend a lot of time thinking about how to not only get, but keep customers. If you’re working to build a loyal customer base, it’s really a pretty simple. You’ve obviously got to provide a good product or service, and whether they’ve already purchased or are thinking about purchasing, you have to treat the relationship with care.
Respecting your customers and walking the fine line between serving them and selling them is an art, and many brands get this wrong. Email marketing is a smart way to stay in touch with your customers post-sale but in most instances, deploying a telemarketing team is too much, too soon. Women especially are keenly aware when they feel as though they’re being pushed too hard—that’s been happening to us since we were teens. Once you get our Spidey sense up, you’re not ever going to get anywhere with us. And worse? We tell people about how you’ve creeped us out.
Wrapping It All Up—Live and Learn
That’s my story about why I broke up with the handsome doctor and Beverly Hills MD. It wasn’t about the product, it was about the customer experience.
The way they’ve designed their customer experience says a lot about this company. They are “that guy.” You know, the too slick one who walks up in the bar when you’re having a drink with friends and who just won’t take no for an answer? We all know what “that guy” looks and acts like, and that he never has anything in mind but his own best interests. That’s what my experience with BHMD reminds me of. That guy.
This is a company in the business of selling anti-aging products. It’s only natural they hone in on their target audience’s fears about aging, pulling out all stops to leverage that into more sales. And you know what? That’s totally fine. All marketers and brands prey upon something, some fear, desire, or need, and try to use it to their advantage. But the veneer in this instance is too thin. The products are fine. None of them are miracle cures, but then, we all know that such things don’t really exist.
If you’re a consumer, don’t get sucked into that hypnotizing video that’ll take away 30 minutes of your life that you’ll never get back. Buy some Nivea and call it good. Save yourself the trouble of shaking that guy, the one who just won’t take no for an answer.
If you’re a marketer, put this story of customer experience to work for you. Develop a pre- and post-sale experience for your customers that is amazing, not bothersome. Use the smart things the team at BHMD does in ways that will work for you, like engaging in smart list-building, using compelling CTAs, and staying engaged with your customers post-sale in ways that are designed to truly benefit them. Trust? That happens when you earn it, and once you do, you’ve got a good chance for a long and mutually beneficial customer relationship.
To be fair, read this thoughtful analysis by the team at Highya. The product isn’t a bad product, but there’s little about it that’s likely to do what they claim. Brands sell millions of dollars worth of average products all day long. Average products and great customer relationships can make beautiful music together. It just takes the desire to build those relationships, some finesse, and a great marketing team. Maybe the team at Beverly Hills MD will figure that out at some point.
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