5 of the biggest challenges of animal health marketing

If you think the only thing you have to worry about with animal health marketing is the rules and regulations we mentioned in our last blog, then think again!  You’ll also have to have specialist knowledge, jump through umpteen approval loops and ensure your campaign engages effectively with an often cynical audience.

But you know what, that’s exactly why we love it!  Challenging, yes, but also unbelievably rewarding.

We take a look at some of the biggest challenges of animal health marketing and how to tackle them.

  1. Engaging with a cynical audience

Spurs being brutally trolled by Dulux moments after they announced they were their new sponsor prompted a few people (including us!) to point out it might have been planned to generate a bit more publicity. But if you think the general public can be cynical then try the animal health sector!

Generally speaking, veterinary professionals think marketing as a whole isn’t scientific and as a result isn’t worth the paper/screen it’s written on. And you can’t really blame them. Most vets are always super busy, so being bombarded with numerous ads all claiming ‘the next big thing’ isn’t going to get them to try your product, especially if you omit to explain the why.

But the solution is actually relatively simple. Like all good marketing, it should focus on the benefits a product delivers rather than its features. Take New Flexadin Advanced – yes, we get the science in there, but the key take-away is ‘it lets pets and their owners do more together’. A simple message which clearly explains the positive impact the product will have and one the vet can easily share with their client. It’s a much more purpose-driven message.

Much more effective than just ‘great pain relief’!

  1. Making a complex proposition simple

All marketers know if you want to effectively engage with your key consumers then you need to engage with them on a personal level. The problem with animal health sector products is they tend to be quite complex. And if you are targeting veterinary professionals it’s tempting to think blinding them with science is the way to go, especially if you are up against some strong competition.

But remember vets are human and consumers too! Yes, they might be into the science, but ultimately, they are vets because they want to provide the best care to animals. The trick is to identify their pain points and then explain how your product solves that problem.

That was the focus for our Neptra campaign.  A treatment for otitis externa, a painful ear condition, it normally requires multiple treatments to be administered at home by pet owners. This can raise issues with compliance, as we all know how tricky it can be to administer medicine to our pets!

Our ‘Dog whisperer’ concept emphasised how much easier it is to use Neptra as it only requires one vet-administered dose, removing the compliance issue completely. Great for the dog, owner and the vet!

If you want to find out other tips on how to simplify complexity take a look at our blog on how to craft an effective marketing message.

  1. Resisting the lure of bad execution

And the previous two reasons are why there are so many bad ads out there! Just because the audience is cynical, and the proposition is complex doesn’t mean you have to produce lazy creative! A headline and a couple of pictures of pets and the product might look great on social media, but they don’t make for a good marketing campaign!

Just like any marketing, animal health marketing needs a sound idea to back it up. Take our campaign for WirelessZoo, a non-invasive, wireless wearable technology that monitors a patient’s biometrics. It would have been easy to just use our headline ‘Monitoring made easy’ and show a picture of a cute dog looking at ease at the vets.

Instead, we choose to bring the campaign’s proposition to life through a visual treatment that captured a moment-in-time where we see data building the picture of the animal. The result – a successful pre-launch in the USA, UK and APAC regions and a very happy client.

  1. Getting the science right

We’ve already mentioned vets can be cynical because of the lack of science mentioned in most animal health marketing, but if you are going to mention the science, make sure you get it right!

If you’ve read our blog on using animals in marketing , then you’ll already know if you make any claims about a product, especially if they are all-embracing or claim a special quality, then you better make sure you have up-to-date evidence that can back it up.

Exaggerate or mislead your audience and you’ll be in trouble!

And this leads us onto the next issue…

  1. The battle between the technical and creative team

No doubt about it, the technical team have an important job – making sure any marketing is legal and meets all the prescribed rules and regulations. But let’s be honest – it does cramp your creative style!

And there is nothing worse than coming up with a great concept, only for the brand manager to present it to the technical team and for it to be rejected out of hand.

So, while it might be tempting to see how far you can push the creative before the technical guys get a bit antsy, over the years we’ve realised that simply isn’t the best approach.  After all, isn’t it better to have them on your side, rather than working against you?

It’s one of the reasons, we always encourage brand managers to involve the technical team from the outset. In fact, if we are running a brand or marketing workshop, we always suggest a technical team member is present, so they can witness first-hand the creative process and more importantly, get involved.

Co-production is definitely the name of the game if you want the creative to be the best it can be and the whole approval process to progress as effortlessly as possible.

Planning an animal health campaign?

If you are planning an animal health campaign, always use a creative agency that knows what they are doing as a bad campaign can have a negative impact not just on your reputation but also your bottom line.

We’re trusted by some of the world’s largest animal health brands, so if you would like an informal chat with us, please get in touch.