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What does COVID-19 mean for animal health marketing?

Luke Hopkins discusses how veterinary marketing is adapting to Covid-19

The UK now has guidance on where our UK veterinary professionals stand amid the Covid-19 uncertainty. An essential profession? Absolutely. Exempt from closure? Yes. Emergency cases only? Understood. What does this mean for marketing veterinary medicines?

luke hopkins

Pets are still going to get sick. Scroll through veterinary forums and you’ll find vets sharing clients’ concerns about keeping up their regular treatment. It’s understandable – self-isolation becomes a whole new challenge when Tibbles brings a healthy flea infestation into the house.

So, how are we advising our animal health clients? At the heart of it, we’re saying what we always do:

  1. Focus on your customers’ needs. What is most important to veterinarians and practice managers currently? They’re devising processes to triage without a physical consult, supporting their practice staff and working out how to send essential medicines out to patients. Tomorrow, vets will remember the brands that were there for them today. Supporting vets to overcome these challenges ultimately helps them prescribe and dispense your medicines.
  1. Base everything on insights and a human approach. Don’t make assumptions about your audience. We’ve developed an independent panel of 500 veterinary professionals to keep our finger on the pulse of the profession so we’re nimble in our client recommendations. And next week we’ll be sharing the most directional Covid-19 insights on LinkedIn

But understanding your audience could be as simple as a few phone calls. Remember though, at the end of any marketing efforts are human beings, enduring the same uncertainty, concern and personal challenges we all are.

  1. Focus on what you can improve in your area. Keep up communications, but these messages are empty unless they’re supporting meaningful, tangible actions. Look at what you can tweak in your own world – products, pricing or support services – to meet vets’ changing needs. An early example outside our sector is CVS pharmacy, which extended its 30-day prescription refill to 90-days.
  1. Think short, medium and long-term. This too shall pass. How do you want your brand to emerge on the other side? Your answer can help inform the changes you make or do not make to your marketing. In the short term, now might not be the time to create selling opportunities or to ask vets to switch away from a trusted, familiar medicine. It could however be the time for nurturing the consideration phase of your funnel, through training or building up brand affinity. Consider how your funnel might look post-COVID, and what steps you can take now so you’re set up to deliver when the time comes. 

Keep an eye on our LinkedIn channel for more insights from the Pegasus Veterinary Panel next week. If you’d like to hear more about our panel, talk through how your marketing is responding, we’d love to Zoom you. Drop an email to animal@thisispegasus.co.uk and we’ll be in touch.

is an Account Director on our Animal Health team with over 6 years experience of delivering integrated communications campaigns.