Vegas Cosmetic Symposium 2017 Review

A few years ago, my girlfriend who is a Cosmetic Surgeon had a problem.

Even though she had great reviews and her patients were extremely loyal, she had trouble standing out online and getting new cosmetic surgery patients in the competitive Orange County marketplace.


So I started helping her create content and do some basic email and Adwords marketing.

Her practice really took off and she recommended me to several of her friends who had Medspas and surgery practices across the country in markets as diverse  Carbondale Illinois and Palm Beach Florida.

But they all seemed to have the same problem of out of control lead costs due to ineffective online marketing.

So having helped turn around 5-6 practices over the past few years, and enjoying the process and clients I decided to look into specializing my services for Medspas and Cosmetic Surgery Practices.

I dug deep into the data on Google Trends,  Looked into the most virally shared content on Buzzsumo and found the 10 surgeon and medspa sites with the highest ranking websites (some of them like Dr Paul Nasif were at the Symposium, I did not ask for a picture.)

There was a lot of bad marketing but I saw an opportunity to help a lot of good surgeons.

Which led me to the Vegas Cosmetic Symposium 2017


Well that and the fact that it was in Las Vegas where I now live.

Having been to hundreds of seminars over the years in all sorts of industries I knew what to expect, but I was still impressed by the production and scope of VCS at the Bellagio.

VCS 2017 consisted of 5, full 12 hour days not including the optional dinners and breakfast seminars.

The Symposium was fully catered and had delicious coffee available which definitely helped. I would have liked Diet Coke instead of the provided Iced tea but that says more about my soda addiction than anything else.

The seminars were broken up into different tracks I attended the Practice Management track which focused on marketing, hiring, etc.

I attended about 5 hours of lectures each day arriving at 9 and often not leaving until 7-8 after the cocktail receptions or dinners.

It took me a full week to get back on track so I feel my friends who flew in from other states or countries and had to be back at work Monday morning.

Overall the conference was awesome and I heard especially good things about the facial surgery track from the surgeons I spoke to at breaks and at the bar.

I met a lot of really interesting people from all over that I never would have met otherwise and learned a lot about surgeons and facility staff as a whole.

I even ended up getting a new client out of it.

I especially enjoyed certain talks like Anthony Youn’s presentation on hiring a PR person as a student and good friend of Ryan Holliday I had to chuckle about all of the free PR we’ve gotten clients over the years.

I also liked that there was a wide ranging discussion of things like hiring practices, how to host events and closing on consultations.

But the most fascinating part of the conference was seeing the relatively low level of marketing sophistication in terms of tracking, segmenting and using data. The stuff I’d been doing was a lot more sophisticated and I realized I was going to need to tone it down even though I was talking to a smart educated audience they know surgery and maybe a little about running a business and almost nothing about marketing.

Having worked a lot with very competitive online niches such as Real Estate, and E-Commerce I’d place the level of sophistication marketing wise around 2014 in the Cosmetic Surgery world and that’s actually a really good thing for Surgeons and Medspas because there’s a ton of room for improvement. Especially in regards to integrating data into marketing.

So overall it was a positive experience and I would attend again.

Having said all that I do think there are a few ways that the Symposium could be improved for next year.

  1. Longer speeches. The average presentation was between 15-30 minutes and I felt as though many of the speakers were rushing through what they had to say. That one Minion girl’s presentation felt like it was on fast forward as I was trying to listen. I get that there’s a lot of information to get through, but one of the most common comments I heard from facility managers and other staff in the Marketing seminar room was that a lot of the information was similar. For example the presentation on “How to Disnify your practice” was very similar to the one on the “Now-How-Wow” presentation and they were about 90 minutes apart. Longer presentation times would allow speakers to get into the meat and give details rather than telling you what you need to do but not explaining how to do it. If the speakers were given 30-60 minutes they could actually get into processes and techniques and there’d be less confused faces.
  2. More designated networking time. I understand that there were breaks in exhibit halls, and meals but the cocktail receptions and other times where I was excited to network and meet people often had presentations going on during them which made it difficult to network. Having a mixer on the first night or a reception with a shorter presentation and more time to network would make it easier to build connections and minimize the chances of people talking to you while you’re trying to eat.
  3. More applicable advice. I don’t want to single anyone out here, and I know that the speeches were short but there was very little applicable strategy or technique given out during the over 20 hours of seminar I attended. In fact one presenter literally said ” Social media strategy is important, you have to have a strategy. So your strategy should be to have a strategy.” Direct quote. Also the facility managers I spoke to like Christine L were a bit more sophisticated in terms of social media than the presentations were assuming. Luckily no one was pitching too hard but I feel like every speech could have had at least one thing you could do RIGHT NOW. This is something I seek to do in every speech and blog I produce. I call it a “Big Idea” having done presentations since 2004 I know that it’s hard to get an audience to remember everything even if they are taking notes so I like to give 1 big easily applicable piece of advice in each speech. I also think with so much time to fill you don’t need to have multiple presentations from the same people especially when the presentations were fairly similar all 3 times. Though full disclosure I did apply to speak and didn’t get a response. Maybe next year. My speech would have been the best one and I say that with no Ego.
This would have been the crowd cheering for me, if I spoke. Lol

Overall the Vegas Cosmetic Symposium 2017 was a big success, I’m excited to see what they have in store for next year as the Cosmetic Surgery Community as a whole becomes more sophisticated about this online marketing thing.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer anything you want to know honestly.