Making pet owners feel involved... - Veterinary Practice
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InFocus

Making pet owners feel involved…

CAROLINE JOHNSON looks at the reasons why a group won this year’s VMA award for practice marketing

PICTURE the glitz and gloss of the annual Veterinary Marketing Association awards luncheon down at the Brewery in Chiswell Street, London.

Imagine the assembled throng happily chatting away about the fall-out from company x buying company y and how long it’s taking for the dust to settle … or catching up with old friends and finding out who is now working for whom – or not working.

Loud music, good food, entertainment, and awards for those communications campaigns that managed to inspire the judges.

I don’t always manage to make the awards; this year I couldn’t because I was presenting at SPVS Snowscene. And Jeremy would tell you that he’s never come away having been awarded more than a hangover!

Present or not, however, we are always interested in the results and if you hit www.vma.org.uk/events/events_a… _2010.html you can view them too. But keep paging, down, down beyond the tenth award, and you’ll find something rather exciting: you’ll eventually see a glimpse of the dawn of a new age breaking on the shores of veterinary practice.

Because you’ll find that Village Vet Group (practices in London and Cambridge) won an award for putting together a communication campaign based mainly around new media and won the “Practice Marketing Award” in recognition for its achievements.

Now here is a veterinary group which has not run shy of new technologies, but instead has embraced the opportunities presented by them to engage with clients in ever more different and better ways – using technology to spread the passion for what they do.

Central to the Village Vet campaign that won the award is an interactive website that links the practice together with its clients and provides information and entertainment via Twitter. The significance of all this is that this really is the dawn of a new age.

The Village Vet site provides clients the opportunity to register, to watch common procedures, to look at their own pet’s information, access bespoke healthcare offerings and permits the practice to measure the results.

And yet this medium is not limited by the need to focus on simple messages in a handful of crowded journals as it can draw clients in, inform and entertain them; interaction makes pet owners feel involved in the process.

Practice personality…

It provides more than just information but something to engage the client between the occasional op and vaccine booster, and gives a sense of the personality of the practice – not just a taste of the professional services on offer but also of sharing in the fun of owning a pet.

And in doing this, a website can become so much more than just a practice brochure! It can be a vehicle that’s capable of getting more complex messages across to those engaged clients who might become ambassadors for a practice.

Probably the most significant change, though, the single thing that makes this a new dawn is that these technologies are accessible not just to the slick and shiny advertising agencies but to any veterinary practice with a computer.

It is within the grasp of anyone who decides to reach out and have a go. And that is precisely what Village Vet Group has done – resulting in an award that recognises the achievement of excellence.

So maybe take a trip to www.villagevet.co.uk or log on to Twitter and follow them. Then think: Does your website get your personality across?

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