Video Storytelling Case Study: Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh


As part of me and my team's process, this first meeting with Dr. Alizadeh was all about listening and asking the right questions meant to extract the answers we needed to recommend a video marketing strategy.


In conjunction with his thriving private practice, Dr. Alizadeh is the Chief of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at Westchester Medical Center, Chairman of Board at Mission:Restore, and on the board of directors of New York Regional Society of Plastic Surgeons.

He has been featured on countless news segments, including 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, and CNN with Sanjay Gupta, to name a few.

His prominence in the field of Plastic Surgery carries significant weight and his practice has thrived with hardly any investment in digital marketing.

So in his particular case, there were no overwhelming & glaring problems to tackle.

But even the best businesses have some pressure points which, if they were to be relieved, would improve their condition and allow them to thrive even more.

This, for us, was the first step in bringing value to Dr. Alizadeh's practice: figuring out what conditions we could improve through visual storytelling that would show more prospective patients to see the value of choosing him over the competition (of which there is many in New York, where he operates). 

At what stage of the customer journey, for which customer segment, could we deliver a powerful visual story which would elevate him from his competitors in their eyes and assist them in coming to the realization that this was the practice to go with?


The Opportunity

During out extensive information gathering sessions with Dr. Alizadeh and his staff, and from looking at his analytics, the landscape became clear.

Those that were aware of him, either through media or a word-of-mouth referral, were essentially a sealed deal, so marketing to the aware was not a glaring need/priority. They came to his website, already knowing they wanted to schedule the initial face-to-face consultation.

They were visiting his website with the singular purpose of navigating to his contact form to schedule that first meeting.

To this segment, the content on his website was irrelevant and they were not interested in consuming it. They were already sold.

Where there was room for improvement was with the customer segment who had not heard of him, had a problem/need recognition and was at the 'information search' stage of their customer journey so they could compare alternatives and ultimately make their purchase decision.


The Challenges

Now that we knew who we wanted to influence/persuade, we had to map out what their journey online to picking a plastic surgeon looked like.

When we put ourselves in the shoes of this segment, the problems were clear. There was not much in the doctors' digital presence distinguishing them from one another.

In evaluating the options, all you had to go off of were:

  • Testimonials/reviews. 
  • 'About' pages where the doctors appealed to you through written word promoting their credentials and experience.
  • Before & after pictures.
  • Media appearances.
  • Very generic stock photos which, quite frankly, made their websites often look like they were advertising escort services. 
  • Descriptions of the procedures they offered.

Try searching for a plastic surgeon in New York right now on Google to see how true this is.

On some of their websites you'd find videos, but they were overwhelmingly "videos for the sake of video" and weren't utilizing the medium right. Like most things, video is effective when done right and most of the doctors attempting to venture into this realm would turn into human embodiments of Powerpoint presentations; reciting a bullet point list of impressive facts about themselves. 

Positive reviews didn't distinguish them much, because there is no shortage of plastic surgeons with a long list of positive testimonials.

Their credentials & experience were also not a point of differentiation, as there was a sea of them with many years of experience and long list of impressive associations/memberships ('Diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery', 'Member American Society of Plastic Surgeons', etc.).

Galleries filled with before and after pictures? Yet another factor rendering them indistinguishable from one another (they all have a gallery of impressive before & afters).

Media appearances? List of procedures offered?  Still nothing separating them from the crowd. Almost all of them could tout being featured here and there on TV, and the list of procedures offered are almost uniform between them all.

After going through 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 of these doctors' digital presences it all just becomes a blur. And when you sat back to think about who to reach out to, there was never any one who stood out because no one connected on a visceral and emotional level.


The Solution

The 'Know, Like, Trust' factor is industry-agnostic. It is applicable to all who wish to win over customers. If all three are not true, you can forget about them ever becoming your client.

With something like plastic surgery, this is heightened even more due to the intimate nature of what's being done. The patient is entrusting his/her body to you. So as a plastic surgeon, your credentials, experience, and an extensive list of happy patients are the absolute bare minimum you're going to have to bring to the table to even be considered.

To actually get a human being to ultimately choose you, they have to not only be sold on your ability to get the job done, but connect and have a sense of peace towards you emotionally in trusting you with their bodies for a procedure. 

This is where the power storytelling's ability to move your product/service to a completely different context, and the visceral power of video as a medium to deliver it come into play.

The course of action and story type we decided on was a "Why I do What I do" story, specifically meant for his home/landing page.

Told in story format, this would tell Dr. Alizadeh's personal life story (which is extremely moving as you'll see once the project is finished) and the sequence of events which led up to him pursuing plastic surgery as his life's work. Also, discussing real life examples of people whose conditions, and consequently lives, he has improved through his craft (volunteer missions he does through Mission:Restore, etc.). How his line of work is a means for helping people and how he gets personal fulfillment from doing it.


Measurable Results

The story type we chose introduces the prospect to the person who started the company and helps them see and feel why it was started in the first place.

These stories don’t do a great job of explaining what the company does (in this case, procedures offered). That’s intentional. This isn’t a product/service story. This is just supposed to introduce prospects to the company, its purpose, and its values, and to do so in a way that’s interesting, leaving them wanting to know more.

This video story is meant to "connect" with prospects from the initial touch-point (the landing page) and stimulate a strong affinity towards Dr. Alizadeh. It's meant to intrigue visitors into navigating to the more informational content of his website such as the 'procedures' page, or ideally straight to the contact form to schedule a consultation.

Therefore, as far as measurable results and analytics go, we are looking to achieve 3 very specific things.  These three key performance indicators are:

  1. Lowering the bounce rates  
  2. Increasing the average duration of a session
  3. increase the form submission rate

A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. So our video's aim, as it relates to this number, is to have more of the people who land on his home page to like what they see enough to explore other parts of the website.

With the sessions, which are essentially a single unique visit, we want the time spent on the site to go up as it will indicate the visitors engaging and consuming the content more. This will indicate an increase in visitors' consideration.

Finally, form submissions. This is self-explanatory and the end-game for our digital marketing efforts. Once the prospect has scheduled an in-person consultation, the ball is in Dr. Alizadeh's and his staff's court and they will take it from there.


Nicholas Hintibidze