The Magic (or lack thereof) of Marketing Success
At VPP, we’re very proud of the fact that our partner practices have, on-the-whole, enjoyed phenomenal revenue growth. Our practices have enjoyed 12 consecutive quarters in which they collectively exceeded 10% year-over-year growth! Oftentimes, at our CE workshops (learn more about those here), practice owners inquire as to the secret to this sustained outperformance of the rest of the market. While I sometimes think they would prefer me to reveal some mystical elixir or super power, alas, that’s not the case. Instead, my argument is that the key to success in marketing your practice has everything to do with execution.
Among the hundreds of practice owners I’ve spoken to over the years, there is a palpable intimidation when it comes to the topic of Marketing. Consequently, excellent, novel ideas from enterprising practice owners and managers never see their way to implementation because the process becomes too daunting. Yet what we’ve found in managing the marketing of our Partner practices over the years is that the simplest programs yield the greatest results and have the best longevity. In other words, successfully marketing a veterinary practice is something anyone can do well if they simply focus on execution.
Take February, for example. Across the industry it’s dental awareness month. Many practices offer discounts on cleanings and while they definitely see an uptick in procedures, very few have their wet tables occupied all day, every day of the month. This sort of excess capacity suggests an opportunity exists.
Let’s say that an owner has the superb idea to send a focused marketing email to owners of pets who have received recommendations for cleanings over the prior 12 months, but have not yet had the procedure actually done. This is a great idea, but think about what has to go into its execution:
- Run the report in the practice management system to identify pets who have received a recommendation for a cleaning (Don’t do this already, click here to learn how)
- Run a second report that can identify the email addresses for those pet owners
- Write the email that highlights the discount and references/reminds the recipient of the prior cleaning recommendation
- Design the email, if you want it to look like something other than simple text
- Load those email addresses into an email blast platform and press the send button
- Make the deadline! All of this needs to be done no later than the third week in January
On the surface, none of these steps look overly challenging, but at many practices more than one individual is involved in successfully seeing all of these steps through. This added complexity, paired with strict scheduling requirements (after all, it does you no good to send this email in March after the promotion has ended) usually results in a good idea that gets shelved. Think about your own practice. You likely have come up with many, many ideas over the years that you are confident would improve the overall performance of the practice. If you’ve attended any conferences, you’ve probably come back with page after page of ideas that you want to see enacted. Yet many of those go unimplemented, and the reason is because of a failure to execute.
To remedy this problem, and see heightened success of your already great ideas, it is imperative that you begin to set aside time to project plan. Some of the most successful practice leaders we’ve come across have been masters of planning in advance and then charting a specific course. No owner has time to do everything they want in a given year, but by planning ahead and laying out what you want to do and what resources you’ll need to ensure success, you can exponentially improve your performance and build stronger, longer-lasting bonds with your pet-owning clients.
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