In MYPRODUCT5 I have detailed some of my involvement in the commercial support provided in 2013-2015 to Rhone Vet, a company responsible for distributing and selling Merial’s veterinary products in Hungary. One of the main barriers faced by the company was the reluctance of veterinarians to recommend Merial’s anti-parasitic products (Frontline Combo, Frontline) versus the competitor’s products, with special reference to Advantix produced by Bayer.
In Hungary, both Frontline Combo and Frontline from Merial were marketed in the veterinary (veterinary clinics, cabinets, pharmacies) and pet shop segments, while the direct competitor Bayer distributed the Adantix antiparasitics exclusively to the veterinary medical channel. Thus, the approach of veterinarians to use Advantix as a first recommendation at the expense of the Frontline Combo / Frontline range seemed to be well founded. At the time, we were in the phase of launching the new Nexgard / Nexgard Spectra anti-parasitic range dedicated exclusively to the veterinary medical channel, a context in which it was mandatory to remove the recommendation barrier to not jeopardize the market success of the new products.
Due to the power of Frontline Combo / Frontline brand, the company capitalized heavily at the level of pet owners. However the new products had POM status (prescription only medicine), so we were forced to imagine a mechanism that would remove the recommendation barrier of veterinarians.
In this context I had the idea of capitalizing the positive potential from the pet owners level by developing the Pet Doktor mobile application that offered the following benefits to:
- pet owners enrolling in the application: viewing veterinary clinics and pharmacies from their area of interest, receiving promotional messages from these cabinets, sending messages to other pet owners, accessing prices, information, tips and professional recommendations
- veterinarians enrolling their clinics or pharmacies: sending promotional messages to pet owners from their area of interest, easy access to medical information (studies, trainings), easy location of their practices by the pet owners
In fact, the Pet Doktor’s mobile application was a virtual meeting point between a veterinarian and a pet owner, a facilitator with a strong social media component.
After the launch of the application, in the first phase we worked intensively to promote it to the pet owners. After we reached a critical mass of registered pet owners, we moved to the second phase, promoting the application to the veterinarians.
In fact we imagined, promoted and sold to veterinarians a complex package consisting of Merial’s anti-parasitic products and the Pet Doktor application. In this way, we combined the benefits of new Merial’s anti-parasitic products with an innovative platform that facilitated veterinarians’ access to potential new customers, synergy that worked well and delivered very good sales results.
To face the new competitive challenges, we have to adapt our commercial arsenal. To use the benefits of new technologies in the sales and promotion process. To think outside the box. And for a professional acting in marketing and communication, innovation must be a constant activity.
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