Archive for the ‘Veterinary Marketing’ Category

Customer Loyalty

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

dog obedience trainingAs my MBA program winds down to an end, we’re taking more advanced marketing classes.  We had one this past weekend that was a “deep dive” into customer loyalty and how little differences in client retention can translate to big differences in practice profitability.  In the corporate world, marketing teams focus a lot of energy on calculating Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) because this is a critical number.

Without going into the math of how CLV is calculated (there’s a great article here for those of you who are curious ) suffice it to say that not all clients are created equal.  If your marketing and advertising expenses are such that it costs you $100 to get a new client through your door but they only spend $75 before they leave, you’ve lost money.  On the other hand, if you spend that same $100 to attract a different client and they stay for 5 years, they may spend thousands of dollars at your practice.  The key here is that the longer a client stays with you, the more valuable they are to you. Here are some statistics that bear this out: (more…)

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Dog paw and hand shakingFor the longest period of time, internal marketing in veterinary medicine consisted of reminder post cards.  These were generated initially manually and then by our value added practice management software.  There SOLE purpose was to remind the pet owner that their pet was due for its annual vaccinations.  In some cases, the cards were colorful.  In all cases, the text was dessert dry, arid, parched and boring.

Then came the newsletter era.  You could buy one that was somewhat customized for your practice or create your own.  An attempt at marketing and education to cajole and coax clients to come in more often and spend more money.  Effectiveness varied based upon the content; and frequency; and readability.  The frequency varied from monthly to quarterly to ‘whenever I think about it’.

After the newsletter era, there was not much.  The odd alert may have been sent out as a guise that there was an increasing incidence of some disease in the community so get your pet protected. (more…)

Unleash the power of video for your practice

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

I’m going to be giving a talk about information technology at the VetPartners mid-year meeting next month.  VetPartners is a group of veterinarians and consultants who are thought leaders in the veterinary profession, and I’m excited to share with them some of the things that we’ve been talking about in business school and in the other organizations I’m involved with.  One of the things I’ll be discussing in this presentation is the power of video and how practitioners could incorporate video into their marketing plans.

I’ve heard it said that if a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is worth a million.  I frequently ask clients whose pets have odd or perplexing clinical signs to email/text me a video of the behavior when it next happens.  Whether it’s to help differentiate an odd seizure from a syncopal event, or to confirm for a client that their dog is just reverse sneezing and not dying, video can be very helpful.  My focus today is not on the use of video as a diagnostic tool, but rather as yet one more means of communicating with and engaging your clients. (more…)

Can You Give a STAR Performance?

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

On Broadway, every time an actor or actress goes on stage they have to give the performance of their lives.  There are no do overs; no mulligans; no ‘oops, let’s try that again’.  Every line, every step, every action is perfectly choreographed, styled, and created for the optimal experience for the show goer.  And at $200 per ticket, it better be!!

$200 per ticket, that’s outrageous!!  It is?  Isn’t that pretty close to your doctor’s average client transaction?  Why is $200 outrageous for a 2 hour Broadway show but not for a 20 minute office call?  When is the last time YOU and YOUR team put on a show that was entertaining, enjoyable, memorable and gave great value to your client?  Do you do this each and every time? Without fail?  Or only for specific clients? (more…)

You Can’t Do It All By Yourself

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

One of the things that truly supports practice success and owner satisfaction is the ability to know what you do well and when to hire or outsource what you don’t.  As a licensed veterinarian, the professional school years really do not prepare you sufficiently to be a successful business owner.  You are well schooled in the medical and surgical principles of being a healing professional.  This does not mean that you are well schooled in team building, leadership, accounting, marketing, motivation, organizational skills, inventory, etc., etc., etc.  A technically adept veterinarian does NOT guarantee a successful entrepreneur or business manager.

In my opinion, the minute you can afford to (or maybe even if you can’t afford to) you should hire a practice manager.  This right hand person, if chosen correctly and trained correctly and empowered correctly, will allow a doctor to be a doctor and not a ‘baby sitter’ for the chronically late receptionist or the disorganized technician.  How much money does a DVM generate where they are counseling a team member?  Think about what you do well and hire somebody to do what you don’t.   (more…)

Use texting to engage your clients

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

If you’re anything like most Americans, you are an active texter.  80% of cell phone owners text, which is up from 57% just 5 years ago.  Here are a few more interesting statistics about this rapidly growing mode of communication:

  • 96% of smart phone users send texts.
  • 49% of those who use social media on a daily basis would rather text than call (hello female pet owners!!!)
  • 1.6 trillion texts were sent in the US last year…TRIPLE that of just 5 years ago. (more…)

From Small Things, Big Things Come

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Veterinary practices are a living organism.  There are an amazing number of cogs, wires, bolts, screws, wheels, etc., that have to function in perfect alignment to make the client experience and the pet experience work.  Interestingly enough most of the working parts of a veterinary hospital are put together by a veterinarian with the help of some advisors ands staff and rarely, very rarely, with input from the consumer that the business services.  So, what would it look like if you built a practice that is client friendly for the 21st century?  Picture just one scenario…

Ofda Wall, a typical client, saunters in with their rambunctious Labrador, Meth, for their appointment.  She looks frazzled and harried from the drive, the parking, the pulling of the puppy, and the cell phone conversation she is conducting as she walks in.  Becky holds the door open for Ms. Wall and offers to take the leash of Meth and guides her to an exam room.  She asks Ms. Wall what type of beverage she would like, explaining that unfortunately they don’t have red wine.  (more…)

How Hungry Are You?

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Let’s play jeopardy!!

The Food Channel for $200

The answer is—One Bite at a Time.


“What is how do you eat an elephant?”


So, why do we think we have to sit down at a table and consume the metaphorical elephant all in one meal?  Is it our caveman concerns of not knowing when our next meal will be?  Is it our ingrained impatience in having to do it all RIGHT NOW!!?  What ever it is, we need to stop it. (more…)

Networking for veterinarians

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

In my last post I talked about the benefits of developing a large and vibrant professional network, which include not only professional growth but also career advancement.  In this article, we’ll be talking more specifically about how both practice owners and associates can build their client base by taking a more outward facing approach.

For your marketing campaign to be successful, it’s critical that you keep up to date on current trends in the business of veterinary medicine.  “Veterinary Economics” is a must-read for all practice owners, and highly recommended for associates as well.  Additionally, the group VetPartners ( is a fantastic organization of leading experts in the field of veterinary practice management, and I am thrilled to be part of this group.  I highlight this as a reminder that, if there are big leaks in your practice’s profitability, chasing new clients is a fool’s errand.  The only thing you’ll get is more work for the same paycheck. (more…)

Marketing yourself: Networking for veterinarians

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

In my next two posts, I’ll be talking about networking as it pertains to veterinarians.  Like with any well-planned marketing campaign, successful networking is first and foremost about learning what is important to other people.  What is their passion?  How do they define success?  What projects are they working on right now?  What parts of your job do you wish you could spend more time on?  Find out the answers to these kinds of questions and you’ll be surprised at how far people are willing to go to help you.

Developing a large and vibrant professional network is critical not only for professional growth, but also for career advancement.  With veterinary supply at an all-time high, this is more important now than it has ever been.  The days when a veterinarian only changed jobs once or twice in 40 years are fading into the rear view mirror:  interests change, economies sour, and life goes on.  The time to start looking for your next job is before you actually need it. (more…)