Bob and Mia were 11-year-old Himalayan cats that were rescued from a shelter when they were kittens. They were inseparable. Mia once got stuck under a deck, and Bob guarded the hole and howled until their owners found her. When Mia became very ill, faithful Bob held vigil next to her until she recovered. Bob’s family later made the agonizing decision to put him down. Mia soon realized that Bob wasn’t coming back, and her behavior changed dramatically. She spent frantic hours mewing loudly, stopped eating her usual amount of food, and avoided contact with her human family members. Her owners weren’t sure if she was grieving or reacting to sadness in the home.
Posts Tagged ‘Beyond Indigo Pets’
Managing a successful blog can be one of the most important decisions that your practice will ever make. A well-established blog can position your clinic as an expert on pet health topics, which will help build bonds with existing clients and encourage potential clients to pick up the phone. Did you know that a blog can also help your website’s Search Engine Optimization performance? This means that a fresh, well-maintained blog will help drive traffic from Google searches to your website.
While there are several techniques you can employ with your blog to help make your web presence shine, there are four major pitfalls that every veterinary blogger should avoid.
The headlines and phone calls continue to focus on the pharmaceutical component of the veterinary world. Whether it is the re-directing of Super-Products (Flea/Tick, Heartworm, Pain) or the online pharmacy world of PetMedExpress and their American and Canadian brethren or the brick and mortar challengers of Costco, Walmart, CVS, Walgreen, the small animal veterinary pharmacy will NEVER be the same.
For as long as I can remember, the pricing of veterinary pharmaceuticals never had ANY science associated with it. For that matter, I’m not sure the pricing of veterinary office calls had any science behind it. I remember opening my practice in 1989 and the suggested cost for an office call was 100 times the price for a postage stamp ($0.25). So my initial office call was ….ta da $27.00. I didn’t want to be ‘average’. (more…)
The idea of allowing veterinary students to pick an area to focus on while in veterinary school is not a new one. When I was in vet school at Cornell in the early ‘90’s, we didn’t track but other schools, like Colorado State, did.
At the time, it was easy to see both sides of the argument. Those in favor of tracking believe that, for example, the city girl from Denver who has no interest in becoming an equine veterinarian would be better served by spending as much time in small animal medicine as possible. While she would need to learn some very basic information about non-focus species (like the fact that cows are ruminants but not necessarily what an LDA was), her future lay elsewhere. (more…)
It’s 2013. It seems like only yesterday, television had 3 channels; FM radio was the new thing; a web was spun by a spider; and electric cars were something out of futuristic TV show like the “Jetsons”. In 1973, I started to volunteer as a veterinary hospital in Port Washington, NY. How cool was that?
People would come in with their pets to see the doctor; get their pets their exam and vaccinations, get their rabies certificates, get their pet’s fixed, etc., etc. And people were happy. Pets were happy. And the doctors seemed to be doing pretty well financially.
Fast forward to 2013–to almost any small animal hospital in the country. People come in with their pets to see the doctor; get their pets their exam and vaccinations; get their rabies certificates; get their pet’s fixed, etc., etc. And people seem happy. Pets seem happy. And the doctors seem to be in suspended animation. Doing it the same way in 2013 as they did in 1973.
The world has changed. Why not veterinary medicine? Because, to quote George Bernard Shaw, “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” (more…)
I’m sure most of you have read the recent article in the NY Times that had to do with the increasing difficulties facing new veterinary graduates. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/business/high-debt-and-falling-demand-trap-new-veterinarians.html?ref=veterinarymedicine&_r=0). I, like many of you, dreamed of being a veterinarian from a very early age, but between vanishing job prospects and student loan burdens, it’s clear that new graduates are facing a very different profession than the one I entered in 1995. I came away from this thought-provoking article with two main thoughts that I’d like to discuss here.
First, I believe the saddest part of this high debt/flat income story is that it reinforces that the financial awareness of the average American is very low. While many veterinary schools are trying to better educate their students to the economic realities of veterinary medicine, much remains to be done. Every high school and college student, no matter what their career aspirations, must decide for themselves if spending 8 or more years of college and incurring mid-six figures in student debt will enable them to find the kind of job necessary to pay off those loans and have enough left over for a decent life. (more…)
For our final discussion of Marketing, we turn to probably the most important one of all, namely, people. Although you could define this in many ways, I’m going to define it narrowly as the people you have on your hospital team.
Mark Opperman is right when he says, “It’s what’s up front that counts”. This means that your outward facing team needs to be completely client focused at all times: the little things count. I don’t mean just your front desk staff either, as that is far too narrow a definition in today’s highly connected world. Ask yourself how many people on your team NEVER interact with clients? I’d bet the answer is almost always “None”. Even the kennel assistants at our hospital are responsible for interacting with clients when they pick up/drop off patients to be boarded. (more…)
As we continue our discussion of the marketing mix that today’s successful practice owners should be implementing, it’s time we turn to the concept of “place”. For our use, place is synonymous with distribution: how do your clients receive products and services from you? The obvious answer is “at the clinic”, and that might have been the end of the discussion when I graduated from vet school in 1995. In 2013, however, the complete answer is far more complex than that. Where else are you providing service to your clients? The Internet has completely revolutionized the idea of “place” with respect to the traditional definition of marketing mix. Truth be told, this is the one “P” that has changed the most in the digital revolution.
While the concept of “place” might be irrelevant to Dropbox (www.dropbox.com), it’s still relevant for veterinary practices. In order to understand a bit more about the marketing mix for today’s modern veterinary hospitals, we have to get beyond just the “bricks and mortar” definition of a medical facility. For example, where do your clients want to find you on the Internet? What are they looking for when they do find you? Can your clients request prescription refills online? Schedule appointments? I presume you have a website, which is a good start, but remember that having a lame website is almost as bad as having no website at all. (more…)
As we continue our discussion of the “5 P’s of Marketing”, this week we are focused on Promotion. It wasn’t that long ago that differentiation for a veterinary practice meant how your Yellow Pages ad looked compared to those of the other veterinary hospitals in town. Today, our society has become so connected through sites like Angie’s List, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, that traditional means of promoting your practice, like print advertising, aren’t as effective as they once were. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that having anything more than a 1-2 line ad in your local yellow pages is a waste of money. “Creative destruction” has largely relegated these bulky tomes to the ashbin of history, right next to buggy whips and Walkmans. Instead, your money would be far better spent on a social media campaign, as detailed below.
Digital strategist Chris Horton claims there are four broad reasons why social media-as-promotion is effective for businesses: (more…)