It is interesting that the very best thing that you can do to become better at recognizing and diagnosing lameness in horses
may also be the best thing that you can do for your business. Dr. Colin Burrows, executive director of The North American
Veterinary Conference, wrote a piece on marketing strategy in the July issue of the NAVC Clinician's Brief.
Burrows reviewed five aspects of marketing as defined in a presentation on the topic given by Dr. Aine McCarthy, who is also
a NAVC board member. Marketing should encourage the purchase or use of a product or service. It involves public relations
in that a good public image of your clinic must be presented. Advertising emphasizes desirable qualities or services so that
clients are interested in using these offerings. Keeping these services in the minds of your clients is the function of promotions
and the concept of branding creates an environment where the client links a product or service to the provider.
Dr. Bill Moyer, associate director of the Center for Equine Business Studies at Texas A&M University, suggests that anyone
(especially recent graduates) seeking to become better at evaluating gaits and diagnosing lameness should spend as much time
as possible looking at horses. This means spending time at horse shows, rodeos, racetracks, competitions and anywhere where
horses, and your clients, spend time. While it may be the last thing you want to do with your precious free time, clients
who become accustomed to your presence at their competitions will associate you with their discipline.
Your interested, concerned and knowledgeable presence is promotion and advertising that you cannot buy, and it will develop
into a big boost to your public image. Clients will become more familiar with your services and skills (especially those clients
in less well known sports who are always searching for a veterinarian with specific interest and expertise in their sport).
If you use this marketing time well, look at as many horses as you can and talk and listen to knowledgeable people in the
industry, you just might make yourself a better equine practitioner with a more profitable equine practice.