Marketing investments in a down economy (Proceedings)
Feeling the tight squeeze? Don't stop marketing--find out what you should invest in with a struggling economy.
Think Long Term
Keeping your name top of mind is important. Don't cut back on signs or support of community events, make sure you maintain a web presence. Consider ways to remind your clients that you are there.Message Reflects the Time
Watching TV a few years ago all of the ads were about luxury and you deserve it and now all you hear is how you can save money- the same product a different message.
Focus on Benefit
This is probably one of the hardest things for veterinary practices to do... we get hung up on the medical terminology and why we choose to do things and we forget about the ultimate end user. Look at some of the consumer ads in magazines and tv- drill down to what the benefit is for these items then practice on things in your practice.
Watch the negativity
I know it is hard to feel positive when all you hear is MORE bad news ( and I'm guilty of doing this too) but too much gloom and doom is depressing so balance the negativity out. Obviously you can't go to the other extreme but sometimes people need to see the silver lining too.
Empower the consumer
There is a high level of anxiety amongst consumers even if some of it isn't founded in common sense... for example even if the employment rate is 9% that means 91% of us are still employed. Helping people feel like they still have control will reassure then that it is "ok" to spend.
Don't lose your Core
Your core is what your practice was founded on... it's the medicine you practice- that is one reason why I caution practices about lowering prices across the board.
Be in tune with your customer
This goes hand and hand with several of the items above. If a recent round of layoffs have hit your client based hard... it might not be the time to advertise the availability of luxury boarding suites.
If you are doing any type of direct marketing- KNOW who you are targeting- small specific programs to a select group of clients are better served than mass mailings.
Measure what you do and keep track of the results. Evaluate each effort individually rather than a blanket marketing plan- find out what works and keep doing that- DROP the things that don't.
Knowledge@wharton When the going gets tough, the tough don't skimp on their ad budget. Published November 26, 2008.