Marketing Does Not Have to Suck

by Rebecca on April 26, 2015

Marketing doesn't have to suckTraditional marketing has always been about what the latest fad is. In veterinary medicine, all the rage right now are loyalty programs and wellness plans. Are these even going to help your hospital grow and thrive? I seriously doubt it!

Think about your grocery stores and their “loyalty card”- is that why you go to one grocery store over another? Interestingly, the most successful grocery stores-Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Publix– don’t even have loyalty cards- maybe we should take a cues from the really successful grocery stores instead of the average ones.

Do you even want the pet owner who is looking for the best discount or freebies as your client? Maybe, if that is your “ideal” client but for most of you I doubt it!

To me, the word marketing has always been full of negative connotations. Honestly, I have always hated the idea of a professional person “selling or advertising” but real, authentic marketing does not suck and it actually is really rewarding.

Thanks to Christine Kane, I have realize that true marketing is actually a service and it should be helpful to people. Reframing traditional marketing this way has made me realize that everything I do is marketing and actually it doesn’t suck.

Being authentic and truly letting people know who you are and why you do what you do can be the most powerful way to grow your hospital. 

Marketing should be about connecting and building relationships, not trying to promote the latest and greatest loyalty program or wellness plan – these things are NOT why your clients stay with you and they never will be!

It is time for you to reframe you idea of marketing from the boring, bland old way of thinking to: “how can I help and serve my existing clients and potentially new clients who are looking for exactly someone like me to help them and their pet?”

Your website should not be something you check off as completed, but instead needs to be a tool for people to find out who you are and why you do what you do. They need to have an idea of what you and your team are all about if you want them to ever walk through your door.

Also, do yourself a favor and lose the cookie cutter website that you got at a big discount. It does suck and is not helping you bring in new clients when it looks just like the one from the animal hospital a few miles down the road.

Facebook (or whatever social media platform you enjoy) should not be seen as something you have to do, instead reframe it as a way to connect with your clients and teach them about important things pet owners should know. If you don’t want them constantly checking Dr. Google you need to provide them with an alternative.

I challenge each of you to transform your thinking about marketing to what it needs to be: connecting with clients and soon to be clients and building relationships with them. Connection is a basic human need, why not embrace it with your marketing and I bet you too will find that marketing does not have to suck!

Your turn! Join the conversation here or over on Facebook – tell me, has marketing been something you enjoy doing or has it been something you felt you had to do?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

TJF April 26, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Hi there…I am a ‘consumer’ or pet parent, not a vet, but I use vets constantly for many years given that I have a big dog and two cats. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy the Catalystvets.com . Keep up the good work.

I love cats and have always seen them be treated like ‘second class citizens’ in the past by many vets. I think that there is a wonderful movement these days to pay more attention to these wonderful creatures and give them the attention they deserve. I only wish there were more ‘cats only’ vets.

Where I am ( Palm Beach Co. FL ) we have only one in West Palm Beach and one in the next county, 40 miles away. As the vet visits and economy declines, cats are a golden opportunity for vets and many don’t get what a goldmine they would have if they specialized, or dedicated a substantial portion of the hospital to Cats Only and perhaps a feline specialist vet.

On another topic, I am so glad that you addressed this ‘static website’ issue that seems to be prevalent in the world of vets.

I totally agree with you that most vets I have known get a cut-rate cookie-cutter website and never look at it again. What a missed marketing opportunity, where they could have constantly connected with their clients, forging a bond, bringing the consumer back into the clinic, building trust and a real relationship.

Its a shame…. because other vets I have seen on the internet have wonderful, organic, alive sites packed with news on the clinic and staff, great articles, community forums, webinars, opt-in newsletters sent to your email, etc. and it seems when I google a pet issue, be it training, disease, grief counseling, etc. those ‘alive’ sites often pop up in the first ten on google.

I know that that kind of site is time consuming and is not cheap, but to me, its the best advertising you could get. I am sure that there are companies that specialize in providing seriously A+ content for specialized sites, but I think that most vets don’t understand the value of it and don’t get how having a cheap, throw-away website hurts their image. Hey, we all live on the internet now, they need to get with the program ! LOL !

Tara in FL

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Rebecca April 26, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Hey Tara- thanks so much for your comments. I love your idea of a feline specialists within a regular hospital- what a fantastic idea. I appreciate your thoughts and I am glad you see value in our site!

Rebecca

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