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5 Ways to Market to the Needs of Multigenerational Veterinary Clients

Here’s how to ensure that your practice communicates with clients using their generation’s preferred methods.

The days of scheduling all veterinary appointments over the phone or calling every client to remind them of appointment times are long gone, replaced by more modern communication methods that are more convenient and even preferred by certain generations.

For example, older clients may still prefer hopping on the phone, but millennials are more likely to prefer and receive test results and other follow-up messages via text, chat or email messages. Knowing what different generations expect and prefer can make a difference when it comes to customer loyalty, too.

“Winning the loyalty across generations can be difficult,” according to Veterinary Advantage. “We know that the largest amount of expendable cash resides in the baby boomer and millennial generations today. These are two of the largest generation groups alive today.”

“Pet parents do extensive research to find a vet offering both quality and value for their beloved companions, but how they prefer to access that information varies considerably from generation to generation,” according to veterinary practice software provider Amerisource Bergen.

“By tailoring your marketing and outreach efforts to accommodate the preferences and consumer behaviors of the four distinct age groups — especially during the coronavirus pandemic — you can attract new, loyal clients.”

Not sure where to begin figuring out the best ways to communicate with a multigenerational clientele? Here are five tips for communicating with each generation.

Baby Boomers appreciate security

Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964), who are now approaching retirement or already retired, “prioritize freedom and advance planning,” according to Amerisource Bergen.

Veterinary practices can tap into this need by partnering with companies that offer contactless payment options and stress-free payment plans — two alternatives that speak to advance planning and security,” says Amerisource Bergen.

Baby Boomers typically consume information from a variety of sources, ranging from postcards to emails to social media, so consider incorporating those channels into your marketing plan.”

To reassure Baby Boomers’ safety and security concerns, send updates about enhanced cleaning protocols and other policies. “Steady and consistent communication about changing policies can help this generation feel tuned in and safe,” says Amerisource Bergen.

Generation X likes new technologies

Gen Xers (born 1965 to 1977) adapt easily to new technologies and prefer those that offer practical solutions and transparency, according to Amerisource Bergen.

“Apps that allow them to access their pet’s medical records appeal to Gen X’s pragmatism,” says Amerisource Bergen. “Some of these tools store digital copies of their pets’ records from multiple service providers.”

When marketing to Gen Xers, keep messaging “simple and authentic,” recommends Amerisource Bergen:

“If you’ve taken their pet in for an appointment while they wait in the car, snap a photo and text it to them while they wait. Or share a cute interaction you had with a client’s pet on your social media pages (with the client’s permission, of course).”

For communicating with Gen Xers, utilize in-house patient portals for questions, appointment scheduling, reminders, and prescription refills.

Millennials desire more online interaction

Millennials (born 1978 to 1995) like to get their news and other information mainly from streaming platforms, online video and traditional TV sources. They also appreciate client loyalty programs that rewards with points and discounts that can be applied to veterinary care.

Millennials are more likely to appreciate telehealth and other online services such as symptom checkers, real-time advice and online consultations about their pet’s care. “Millennials’ love of household socialization suggests they might enjoy products that encourage them to involve the entire family in their pets’ care,” says Amerisource Bergen.

“Medical record apps, for example, let users invite co-owners and friends to see and track their pet’s health progress. Tap into this desire for collaboration when attracting millennial pet parents to your practice.”

Gen Z expects authenticity

Gen Zers (born after 1995) love to learn through online videos, which also makes members of this generation ideal candidates for telehealth options. But they also want to patronize businesses that try to make the world a better place, according to Amerisource Bergen:

“Consider marketing approaches that demonstrate your desire to make the world a better place—whether it’s raising money for environmental causes or supporting animal shelters in your community. Sincerity matters: Gen Z will see through blatant, inauthentic advertising efforts.

“Gen Z’s affinity for online videos also make them good candidates for telehealth options. Showcase how your offerings let them act quickly to address their pets’ health, giving them a sense of ownership and control.”

Personalize communication styles

In addition to communicating in the style preferred by many members of a generation, train your staff to note the client’s preferred method of receiving updates and messages. For example, millennials often prefer text or email appointment reminders.

“Personalize a communication style for each client and record their preferences in the practice management system,” recommends Veterinary Advantage. “You may be able to provide training on each of these communications styles and introduce resources to make it easy for the practice to communicate via the selected tools.”