Differentiate your brand

To establish a successful practice, differentiate your brand.  Marketing is the process by which you select which clients you want to serve, the nature of the service you want to provide, and then you position and communicate your brand to attract and satisfy that group of clients.  It is nearly impossible to be all things to all people.  Even successful mixed practices, which truly serve the needs of many different types of animals and clients, typically select a specific type of client, whether they do it knowingly, or by mere circumstance of how they operate and communicate.

In developing a marketing plan, a practice must define its 4P's:  Product, Place, Price, and Promotion.  A concise description of this process with examples can be found at Mindtools.com.  Some helpful hints:

  • Prioritize your preferred target client.  Build your product mix to satisfy this group.  Key attributes might include geography, quality, level of expertise, customer care, education, price, and many others.
  • Keep it simple.  Less is more.
  • Identify the channels by which you can most effectively reach the highest number of your desired customers as possible.
  • Price your service to satisfy your desired segment.  Accept that not everyone is in your target market, and some might voice displeasure with your pricing.  That is ok.
  • Keep in mind that your biggest growth opportunities are likely to be in serving existing customers better.  As you serve them better, new clients will identify your excellent service as well.

An excellent resource to help you differentiate your brand is the book, Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Maugorgne.  Use the "Strategy Canvas" that they describe to help identify opportunities to differentiate and improve your brand and the results you obtain from it.

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