Reach Out and Touch Someone
For 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.
And then industry got involved. Thank you!! Professional marketing supporting flea control, heartworm disease, obesity, pain management, senior care, etc. Finally, the ‘experts’ were called in to educate the pet owners on all of these diseases we knew about but somehow forgot to talk about. TV advertising, magazine slicks, direct mail, and other marketing gimmicks were used to drive people back into the veterinarian’s office. And it worked.
So, here we are today in the digital era. How do we market in this era of online information and mis-information? Take control of the client experience.
On average, clients will need from five to twelve ‘touches’ on a topic to understand and fulfill the need described. You can no longer just send a postcard and expect action. The postcard needs to be a part of a well thought out campaign directed at educating and informing your clients with valuable content on the importance of the point being discussed.
Internal marketing in 2013 and beyond will include websites, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. But it will also include letters, postcards, audio e-mails, e-mails, e-cards, video e-mails, text messages, and, get ready for it….OUTBOUND phone calls. You want to win the battle of client retention…pick up the phone.
Bottom line—marketing is a team effort with 100% commitment and buy-in at all levels most importantly the leadership. Passive marketing is not going to get you through to the next level. Build a team and an attitude to reach out and touch someone. That will give your practice the aura needed to stand out amongst your clients and the community. JUST DO IT!!
About Dr. Peter Weinstein: Dr. Weinstein attended Cornell University undergraduate and the University of Illinois to receive his DVM. After graduation, he worked as an associate for three years before opening his practice.
While running his practice he identified the need for business acumen to make his practice successful. While managing and practicing full time, he attended University of Redlands to receive his MBA.
Politically, he served as President of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association and the California Veterinary Medical Association and is a Past-President for VetPartners, the national consultants association. Additionally, he acted as Medical Director overseeing the Claims Department for Veterinary Pet Insurance.
Dr. Weinstein provides small business and corporate consulting via his company, PAW Consulting.
In 2007, with Dr. Steven Kornfeld, Dr. Weinstein created Veterinary Success Services to provide coaching and consulting services that are accessible from the comfort of your home or officee. www.veterinarysuccessservices.com
Presently, Dr. Weinstein is the Executive Director for the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Weinstein has spoken and written extensively on practice management, team building, leadership, collegiality, marketing, and other topics focused on making the veterinary profession better for all those affiliated with it.