Understanding Pet Owners | Get them eating out of your hand

Beagle - Stock Image: 6774793Marketing starts with LISTENING. Companies that take the time to understand, listen to and gather INSIGHTS from customers / clients have a leg up over anyone else.


  1. They get to know their customers / clients so that they can develop and target services that are MEANINGFUL to THEM.
  2. They identify problems and weaknesses early before customers decide to go somewhere else. (And before they appear online in the form of negative reviews!)
  3. They identify ways to add VALUE to customer /client relationships.
  4. Simply by LISTENING, these businesses are SAYING something about how much they CARE about customers!

Without listening to clients first, practices RISK trying to guess what’s important to pet owners.

By SEGMENTING clients (See Client Segmentation) practices are able to REACH OUT to specific groups of clients that share similar needs and wants. This makes listening to them much easier and produces targeted pet owner insights.   For example, it would be a mistake to generalize that what’s important to dog owners is also important to cat owners. OR that owners with chronically ill pets have the same needs as pet owners who only come in for vaccines.

There are numerous ways to LISTEN to clients. But we are NOT talking about the annual satisfaction survey or practice report card. While gauging client satisfaction is important, we want to go beyond this to become better acquainted with pet owner needs GOING FORWARD. This requires more than the standard “how did we do?” survey.


In addition to segmenting clients by type of pet, it is also advantageous to segment based on the pet owner’s experience with the practice. For example, a practice can LEARN differing perspectives from pet owners who:

  • Are new to the practice
  • Have left the practice
  • Have seen their pet through a major procedure
  • Have not been to the practice in awhile
  • Are regulars / champions of the practice


There are multiple tools for gathering client insights. The most important thing is that practices adopt some form of ACTIVE outreach in which information from clients is sought after – as opposed to PASSIVE, which means that you rely on clients  reaching out to you. The problem with the latter: most clients will not bother to contact you. Depending on what you trying to find and from whom, several listening tools may be advisable, such as:

  • Client focus groups                             •   Emailed surveys
  • Phone interviews                                •   Advisory boards
  • Observation                                           •   Mystery shops
  • Referral source and thought leader studies


Using the above listening tools can help practices uncover a full range of information to help in shaping service delivery and outreach strategies going forward. For example:

  • What do clients your think about your practice now?
  • Why do clients come to you?
  • What do your clients and like and not like about your practice?
  • How do your clients define VALUE?
  • Why did "lost" clients leave?
  • What impressions do "first-timers" have of your practice?
  • Which practices in town as viewed as "the best"?
  • Which practices are referral sources most likely to refer to?
  • And much more.

See list of related presentation topics below. We are happy to make a presentation to your practice or provide you with a pdf. Contact .

  • Listen before you market: understand clients’ needs and hot buttons
  • Developing a client-focused marketing strategy and plan