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The Strengths of a Health First, Sector Second Approach

After years working in consumer marketing, Account Director Simone Stevens recently brought her expertise to our animal health team. Here she shares the benefits of her very personal ‘health first, sector second’ approach.

The animal health industry is still grappling with how to make the most of new marketing channels, particularly social media. Not least how to deliver on-message, creative and impactful campaigns within a stringent regulatory framework.

Digital marketing took centre stage at the recent SPVS/VPMA Congress, where functional searchable websites, online reviews, and social media were all hot topics on the agenda.

Unsurprisingly, there was a large emphasis on how Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can help with customer engagement and recruitment. In fact, more than 95m photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day, with pet pics one of the main ‘pillars’ of the platform – along with selfies, food and travel.

So it’s little wonder that vets, practices and others in the animal health industry are scrambling to understand the inner workings of these platforms in order to make the most of them. For veterinary practices in particular, it’s a huge business opportunity.

But just as with my previous consumer health and beauty clients, it’s critical to consider the key business objectives and end users when putting together a comms campaign. Social media should be considered for a key role, but it shouldn’t be the first or only name on the team sheet.  

Working out what behaviour you need to change and the barrier to that change will help you focus on which channels will serve you best.

Think about how you engage with particular brands. It’s very unlikely you do this through a singular platform, and more likely on the range of platforms on which you’re most active. If those channels are digital, you will probably have chosen how you’d like to be contacted, such as subscribing to a newsletter or following a Twitter account.

By conducting the right research on our audience to discover where they spend their time and which channels they like to use, we can decide which channels are most effective. Some vets may find a piece of direct mail does the trick, while farmers might prefer to be reached through Twitter – whatever it is, this insight is crucial.

So what have I learnt? That whether you’re selling skincare to Millennials or flea prevention to pet owners, our approach allows us to make informed and educated decisions that genuinely inspire healthy decisions.

Simone Stevens is an Account Director for the Animal Health division. She has 10 years of communication and digital experience across animal health, beauty and retail.