Map out your client locale

Map out your client locale

Jun 18, 2005

This simple marketing tool can be used to help you see opportunities and challenges that can help or hurt your practice's growth. The scattergram client map will provide a visual representation of where your clients are coming from, where other practices are located and geographic barriers that may inhibit growth. Its purpose is to help you make better-informed marketing decisions for your practice.

Many practice owners have a feel for where their clients are coming from but it is amazing what happens when you map the information. You may be surprised! The map isn't hard to do, although it takes a little time.

Materials needed:

  • A large map of your community;
  • 60 to 100 active client records (or 60 to 100 addresses of active clients in a list*);
  • Three different colored felt-tipped markers; black, red and blue;
  • The Yellow Pages telephone directory (Internet access).
  • A separate sheet of paper to assess other nearby practices.

(*Active clients are those seeking practice service for any reason in the last one, two or three years, depending on your vaccination protocols and your practice's definition of active clients.)

Start to map

1. Plot clients' addresses on the map.

Someone who knows the community well can complete the mapping fairly quickly. The idea is to take a random sample of 60-100 active clients (use "S" client files) and plot their addresses on the map.

Use the black marker and make a large, visible dot for each client address. It will look like freckles when you're done.

2. Plot other practices.

Next, using the telephone book or an Internet search for addresses, make blue dots for each practice within 0-15 miles of your own. Number each of the blue dots and identify the practice with an "answer key".

On a separate sheet of paper, briefly assess the strengths and weaknesses of each hospital compared to your own. For example, Practice 1 just built a new building with high volume and moderate fees. Practice 2 has one doctor, remains semi-retired.

3. Put yourself on the map.

Finally, use the red marker to make a dot to show where your hospital is located. When you are done, you will have a graphic representation of where your clients are coming from and the other choices they have for pet care.

Information is power and the map is a useful tool for helping you think through factors and geographic influences that may help client growth (e.g. rivers, major highways, town growing toward the practice, etc.)