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Mastering Market Segmentation in Hyper-local Veterinary Marketing

Animal care, whether the service is veterinary, boarding, grooming, daycare, or training is a hyper-local business. By that we mean it is a business whose key factors in its revenue model are the place and time. It makes the majority of its revenue in the same place at the same times and serves generally the same area. Many small businesses are hyper-local businesses and hyper-local businesses are responsible for millions of jobs nationwide and are important in their community. Even though they are generally known to those in the communities in which they serve, they still rely upon and can utilize the tenets of marketing to improve their outcomes.

Marketing professionals will have likely learned about the Seven Ms as a framework for decision-making. Those seven Ms are:

1.      Markets: who should I try to reach?

2.      Mission: what is my goal / what am I trying to achieve?

3.      Message Content: what should I try to tell them?

4.      Media Strategy: how do I reach them?

5.      Message Design: what should the message look like?

6.      Money: how much should I spend to accomplish the mission?

7.      Measurement: how will a measure success, or were steps 1-6 worth it?

Like many things, an effective marketing plan starts with the customer or identifying the customer amongst a sea of potential customers. So we begin with the question: who are my customers?

Like most things, this question requires some thought and analysis. The logic behind the exercise is that different people like different things because they seek other benefits. Let’s start with the presumption that all people are customers and segment from there. Because it may be challenging to observe benefits, we can instead start by picking some common variables for segmentation and then return to the benefits. Segmentation characteristics come in at least five flavors.

  1. Geographic: Where do my customers live relative to the universe? This is generally a good segmentation exercise in a hyper-local space because most customers will be in a 10-15 mile radius. If this doesn’t apply, the business is not likely hyper-local. Consider the Mayo Clinic vs. any other hospital in Rochester, MN.
  2. Demographic: The obvious demographic is pet owner (or not), but other factors include age range, gender, income, education, and family size. 
  3. Psychographic: The values and emotions of the consumer, but this may also include media habits, e.g., I get my information from the newspaper, not the internet. 
  4. Attitudinal: While easy to confuse with psychographic and behavioral, attitudinal reflects how someone feels about your product or service, capturing levels of brand loyalty and price sensitivity. For example, consider how customers think about brands such as Toms or Bombas vs. Cole Haan or Goldtoe.
  5. Behavioral: This considers customers’ specific buying behavior, such as when they purchase, how often they typically buy, and what leads up to a purchase. For example, Black and Decker’s biggest competitor is not another tool company but necktie companies because most power drills are purchased….as gifts. This specific buying behavior may influence who your market truly is.

With the perspective variables identified, the challenging question is determining the cost/benefit of your decision to appeal broadly or narrowly. As we mentioned in other posts, it helps to identify your raving lunatic customers truly, but there are tradeoffs to being too narrow.

We’ve seen success both ways:

  • Warby Parker has disrupted the eyeglasses market by appealing not to people who require a prescription but to people with eyes. Non-prescription glasses are a massive part of their sales.
  • Ferrari: Simply put, you don’t choose Ferrari; Ferrari chooses you. This brand has achieved success by being incredibly narrow in its approach.

In addition, there can be a problem with appealing to multiple segments because your approach may become inconsistent 

  • Mcdonald’s once offered a McLean Deluxe, if you can believe it. It did not work out.

The good news is that in the case of a hyper-local pet business, you can likely do both. Increasing the number of people in your market who would consider your product or service for purchase is good. Unfortunately, your business is likely targeting a geographic reach of a 10-15 mile radius around your location, so you will naturally be narrowing your customer base, and you do not need to narrow it further for your core business of pet or vet care. However, you can specialize in gathering additional smaller segments within(and potentially outside) the geographic base. Hours of service, drop-off availability, same-day availability, targeting a specific breed, and being an owner/operator are all differentiators that may appeal to different segments and align with the unique offering of the practice. An ideal segment or set of segments will have sufficient size but be attractive to the practice, specifically, and capitalize on their strengths.

Marketing is a planning process, and frameworks like the Seven Ms are valuable tools to aid in it. As a trusted advisor, rely on Vetcelerator to help you plan, position, and implement a marketing plan.

Vetcelerator’s Role

As a leader in veterinary practice solutions, Vetcelerator supports your business in identifying and targeting the most valuable market segments. Our expertise helps you refine your local marketing strategies, ensuring they are not only effective but also well-aligned with the unique strengths of your practice.

Embrace the power of precise market targeting with Vetcelerator, and transform the way your veterinary practice connects with the local community. Learn more about our tailored marketing solutions at Vetcelerator’s website.

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All Paws Animal Hospital

This team is really in tune with our practice needs, and really have our best interest at hand when it comes to our bottom line. We really appreciate all their efforts form John’s team in Marketing, Drew in Sales, Lynn’s help with reports, and Mason’s expertise on new hire.

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