Unmarketing your veterinary practice

A veterinary education does not often come with instructions on how to care for the humans on the other end of the leash—a common challenge for practicing hospital owners struggling to tend to the needs of patients and clients while facing the ever-changing demands of running a successful business.

Fortunately, Connexity by AAHA keynote speaker and UnMarketing president Scott Stratten has an important (and refreshing) message for veterinary professionals in this predicament: Believe it or not, you’re not as far behind as you think.

If you were waiting for a sign to pass on Pinterest or say no to Snapchat, here it is:  In a time of near-constant digital disruption, Scott is giving businesses permission to stop marketing to clients and start engaging with them instead.

To do this, he recommends ditching everything you think you know about brand strategy and focusing on the idea of unmarketing—that is, how you’re promoting your business when you don’t think you are.

What does that look like? According to Scott, it’s all about your approach to service, from being mindful of your clients’ time to your bedside (or exam table–side) manner and everything in between. In other words, he said, “it’s simply giving a damn.”

In the June 2018 issue of AAHA’s Trends magazine, Scott tells our members it’s okay to ignore social media, talks about his childhood dram to be a vegetarian, and weighs in with his opinion on what pets make the best viral videos. The June issue hits mailboxes early next month. Get a sneak peak at Scott’s interview below.

Trends: What is “unmarketing,” exactly?

Scott Stratten: It's a kit positioning your business in front of your target market in nonadvertising ways so when they have a need for your service, they choose you. 

Trends: What common pain points have you identified in our current business climate? How can we address them?

SS: One of the issues today is that there are so many things—so many tools, platforms, and communication methods that I can’t stay on top of them, and that's my only job! Focus is a lost art form in business and something that's desperately needed, both for practice owners and their customers’ expectations. 

Trends: What can Connexity guests expect to take away from your session?

SS: Everything has changed and nothing is different. Service matters, knowledge makes a difference. It's not about what Millennial pet owners will be doing, it's about humans and their furry companions of any age. We've all changed, but that doesn't mean the rules have changed. Plus, I have a manbun, and if that doesn't inspire the audience, I don't know what to say. 

Trends: What excites you about Connexity?

SS: I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid. Seriously. When Virox Animal Health approached me to sponsor a keynote in front of this audience, I jumped at it. 

Trends: Who makes better viral videos: dogs or cats?

SS: Puppies, obviously. 

Ready to see Scott and other great speakers in action? Save $50 per person when you register by June 1 at aaha.org/connexity.

NEWStat Trends magazine