Banfield summit asks leaders to mull key professional issues

Banfield summit asks leaders to mull key professional issues

National veterinary calendar, recruitment program unveiled
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Nov 01, 2006

PORTLAND—Officials ready the debut of pet owner pricing research following an industry summit that drew 103 leaders of veterinary associations and animal health companies.

According to Dr. Scott Campbell, chairman and CEO of Banfield, The Pet Hospital, "It has been said many times here that a rising tide raises all ships. That is our goal."

The 5th Annual Pet Care Industry Summit featured diverse presentations from a number of experts outside of veterinary medicine as well as sneak peak of pet ownership pricing data scheduled for release early next year at Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas. In addition, Jim Flanigan, marketing director of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offered a snapshot of the association's pet owner survey slated for release sometime this fall in JAVMA.

"We are in the process of really analyzing the data," explains John Payne, senior vice president of practice development for Banfield regarding the pet owner price sensitivity study. In fact, a 17-member task force was created with representation from leaders of national associations and major animal health companies. It will be charged with analyzing and interpreting data, and then make meaningful conclusions about pet owner attitudes regarding veterinary services.

"We are meeting in October to pull out the gems that have come out of the work." The next goal will be to survey veterinarians about the same issues to see if there are gaps in attitudes about pricing.

"This study is truly going to benefit the profession," Payne adds.

"Part of this market is very healthy and booming," he explains. "Our fear is that with any good thing, the tendency is to keep raising prices and if it happens only a portion of people will be able to afford it."

The national calendar

In addition, Banfield proposed creating a national, marketing calendar adopted by industry and associations with an aim to coordinate educational initiatives to pet owners about pet health.

Payne explains that creating a monthly national calendar would serve as a catalyst for veterinarians to target diverse areas to further veterinary educational efforts in subjects like dentistry, wellness, dermatology and heartworm prevention, just to name a few. Pet-owner marketing could also be maximized by the entire industry.

"I think what was really rewarding to me was the unanimous voice that came out of the meeting. We need a national calendar," Payne adds.

The issue is up for further study by veterinary associations, including the Animal Health Institute, which represents pharmaceutical companies.

Future is now

The summit also saw the unveiling of the FutureVet program, offering presentation materials to help veterinarians talk with school-age children to young adults about careers in veterinary medicine.

Described as a toolkit, FutureVet kits are available at cost to all veterinarians from Banfield Charitable Trust. Campbell says the unbranded kits were designed to help veterinarians talk with students about veterinary medicine in order to attract and encourage careers in the profession.

Everything a DVM needs to make a great presentation is included in a single box, Banfield Charitable Trusts reports.

Five FutureVet kits (covering grades K to college undergraduates) are offered. For more information go http://www.futurevet.net/ or call (866) 853-2388.