Product Benefit vs Emotional Messages

AUTHOR: Peter Alberti

Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard made a few interesting comments in a teaser article on Ad Age recently.  One in particular got me thinking about the pet owner experience before and during a veterinary exam:

It’s not “either” product benefit “or” emotional messages — it’s “and.”

Mr. Pritchard was talking about the need for marketing campaigns to be more entertaining in the digital/social media marketing landscape because viewership of the message is voluntary.  At Pet Cause Media we’ve talked at length about how to keep pet owners interested and engaged with our waiting room education technology while simultaneously imparting important concepts they will remember when they step into the exam room.

A few thoughts occurred to me about the pet/veterinary-specific realm as they relate to Mr. Pritchard’s observation:

  • Know the audience.  These are pet owners.  “Cute” works. Always.  Bring a smile to their faces and they will keep paying attention.
  • Know the mental state of audience. Pet owners in a waiting room are typically bored, anxious, or both.  The content should deliberately acknowledge and soothe both of these emotions.
  • Tell ‘Em What They Can Do.  This popular customer service 101 mantra (“Don’t tell them what you can’t do; tell them what you can do!”) applies here. Many well-intentioned – yet vague or alarming – educational messages can be found in the pet world.  “Beware – it’s flea & tick season!” leaves the problem in the viewer’s lap.  “Ask your doctor which flea/tick solution is best for your pet!” is far more helpful and delivers a positive message.
  • Leverage the drivers of Esteem and Belonging.  One or both of these are behind every Post/Share/Tweet/Pin/Like/etc. on social media.  They can be very powerful when applied to digital marketing. For example, “Give your cat heartworm prevention today” is a reasonable – but dull – call to action.  “Make sure your cat is part of the fast-growing group starting heartworm prevention today!” is provocative and inclusive.

When it comes to pet health education, there’s a lot that can be communicated to pet owners.  There must be a healthy balance of “things they need to know” and “things they want to see”.  Ideally, the message will also comprise “things they want to repeat to others”.


About Pet Cause Media

Pet Cause Media is the national leader in veterinary pre-education and digital out of home marketing in veterinary offices. We work closely with our veterinary and sponsor partners to ensure full compatibility and maximum results. Visit our website (petcausemedia.com) or contact Marshall Akita (marshall@petcausemedia.com) for more details.

Advertisements

Consumerism & the Unusual Quote on Our Website

AUTHOR: Peter Alberti

At the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) last week one of the presentations by Zoetis raised the issue of consumerism as one of three key drivers influencing pet owner decision-making. One of several definitions of consumerism from Dictionary.com is “a modern movement for the protection of the consumer against useless, inferior, or dangerous products, misleading advertising, unfair pricing, etc.”  This boils down to pet industry consumers trying to help each other make the “right” decisions when buying goods and services for their pets.  This seems like a noble plight… but wow, is it complicated!

Preaching To the Choir

One term I heard in every single Practice Management session I attended was “Dr. Google”.  To me, this term’s meaning has already transcended Internet searching and is more of a metaphor for “all the data and information, accurate or not, that is easily obtained with the click of a mouse.”  I know I’m stating the obvious when I say:  This is a problem!

This brings me to the choice we made for the George Bernard Shaw quote on the homepage of our website:

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

I mentioned above that consumerism seems like a noble cause.  It is clearly well-intentioned, but when it comes to medical care (human or animal), there’s a whole lot of room for interpretation about what’s “good” and what’s not.  Whether the guidance comes from a friend, a veterinary professional, Dr. Google, or the 18-year old retail clerk at the pet store down the street, it’s still highly possible that misinterpretation could happen or important details could be missed, leaving even the most sage advice morphed into something problematic.

The real challenge here is that veterinary professionals end up being more and more challenged to offset the “noise” and ensure an accurate message is delivered and received.

What’s a pet owner to do?  And how can we help them?

Carefully listening, evaluating and understanding all the information available to consumers has become very difficult.  Deciding how to activate on it is even harder.  It is therefore imperative that trusted sources (like, say, veterinary professionals or Pet Cause Media) find ways to effectively deliver credible information to pet owners.  Simply having a discussion during the exam is often times insufficient.  It’s necessary, of course – but may very well need reinforcement.

Here are a few tips to help pet owners stay on track as they absorb the noisy influx of media and other advice that is constantly trying to influence them:

  • CONSISTENCY. Words, images, video, everything that is presented to an audience should demonstrate some degree of continuity.  The more often a person hears or sees something, the more likely it is he/she will remember – and trust – it.
  • RELEVANCE. With so many alternatives, options and choices, it’s often hard for consumers to know if or when something applies to them and their pets. Short, targeted, and focused messaging can help with this.
  • CLARITY. “Keep it simple, stupid.”  Not very endearing – but still good advice.  Eliminate over-complicated terminology and multiple calls to action. One topic/action at a time is a best practice.
  • BI-DIRECTIONAL COMMUNICATION. Don’t assume your audience understood (or even heard) your message.  Validate. Ask them to explain. Check for understanding.  Measure results and make adjustments if needed.

What other ideas do you have for ensuring your message is heard and understood?


About Pet Cause Media

Pet Cause Media is the national leader in veterinary pre-education and digital out of home marketing in veterinary offices. We work closely with our veterinary and sponsor partners to ensure full compatibility and maximum results. Visit our website (petcausemedia.com) or contact Marshall Akita (marshall@petcausemedia.com) for more details.

Content is NOT King!

AUTHOR: Peter Alberti

The oft-repeated phrase, “Content is king” does not apply to digital education technology in veterinary practice waiting rooms.  Sorry, it just doesn’t.  In reality, it doesn’t apply to any digital signage system, but we specifically support the veterinary industry here so we’ll focus on that.

Why People Think Content is King

The intent of the phrase is to emphasize that poorly-designed content is ineffective, and well-crafted content delivers results.  Well, these statements are both 100% true.  But in order to evaluate “poorly-designed” versus “well-crafted” there needs to be some sort of objective or goal against which we measure.  Content that is “poorly designed” for one purpose may be completely suitable for another.  Which brings us to…

Objectives or Goals are the “King”

The king rules the kingdom, right?  The king decides what’s what, what’s right, what’s wrong, etc.  So in digital education systems, the directives for what to say, how to say/present it, when to say it, and so forth originate with the objective of the system – NOT from the content.

Pet Cause Media has a simple goal that accommodates both of its stakeholders (veterinary practices and sponsors/advertisers):  Educate pet owners so that they drive conversations with their doctors about important pet medical topics. For the practices this saves precious time during exams; for sponsors this encourages pet owners to ask for products that otherwise might not have been discussed. In both cases, revenues are boosted for both stakeholders when clients ask the doctor and more services, prescriptions, etc. are provided.

Our goal is different from other digital signage goals, which include:

  • Brand awareness/reinforcement
  • Wayfaring (giving directions)
  • Menu boards
  • Corporate communication
  • Entertainment
  • And more…

If you think about these other uses of digital signage, it’s almost self-evident that the content – created properly – would be different for each of them.  The timings, the words used, the images and other elements shown, would all vary to accomplish the goal.

Properly Integrating Content is Essential

One common error in digital signage deployment is combining content segments that are incongruous. Run separately from each other, the segments might be super-high quality, but shown back-to-back with each other they might be distracting, alarming, confusing, etc.  This should be a key consideration, not only to those running content (in our case, the sponsors) but also for those operating the network (in our case, us!).  Some collaboration is required to ensure the content works well when combined with everything else so there is a consistent, enjoyable, effective viewer experience.

In summary – if you are looking to utilize any digital education system, be sure that you and the network operator are aligned with your goals or objectives for using the system.  Otherwise, King Content may not get the rapt attention and respect it deserves.


About Pet Cause Media

Pet Cause Media is the national leader in veterinary pre-education and digital out of home marketing in veterinary offices. We work closely with our veterinary and sponsor partners to ensure full compatibility and maximum results. Visit our website (petcausemedia.com) or contact Marshall Akita (marshall@petcausemedia.com) for more details.