Posted in on May 18, 2011

House Calls for Baby Boomer…Pets?

Lately, I’ve been thinking I’m our Vet’s best customer. I’ve taken our little Ebony there 3 times in 5 weeks and haven’t seen any other “repeats” in the waiting room. At our last visit I noticed something new: “House calls available.” My initial reaction was “whoa, my internist doesn’t make house calls and neither does my daughter’s pediatrician.” After giving it some thought I concluded that this was a BRILLIANT move for any veterinarian or service targeting Boomers (a group which includes me) and other older pet owners. Here’s why:

  1. Do you struggle getting your 80-pound lab into the car when he/she knows where that car is headed? Imagine if you were an 80-year-old like my mother-in-law who always had a big black lab up until her death at 82. None of them were that well-behaved and, thinking about it, I still can’t figure out how she managed to get them to her vet.  As a senior, she would have truly valued a vet who made house calls. And she would have been a big source of referrals.  Heck, I’ve just written an entire blog post about my vet! Talk about great word of mouth marketing.

    Ebony, after a grooming (wish the groomers made house calls!)

  2. Do you work during the day? More of us do:  60% of those between 55 and 64 years old are working full time; 30% of those between the ages of 65 and 69 are working.  That means our work hours are the same as those of most veterinarians making it tricky to schedule an appointment, particularly if it is an emergency (don’t think of the bill-we’ve all been there). House call vet to the rescue!
  3. What happens when your beloved dog or cat is sick, and so are you? Like most pet lovers, you would even be more anxious to get your dog or cat in for medical attention than taking care of yourself. But the thought of sitting in the vet’s waiting room with a bunch of whimpering dogs when you feel as sick as a dog … Again, house call vet to the rescue!
  4. Does a trip to the veterinarian makes your pet so nervous they vibrate the floor or get physically ill?  Your dog or cat would be more relaxed if his or her vet came into their domain.  Baby Boomers are most likely to pay for the privilege of a home visit – anything to avoid feeling like a bad Mom or Dad.  As the American Veterinary Medical Association put it way back in 2000, “it appears the boomer generation and those generations hence are more willing than ever to spend their money on products and services, including veterinary care.”

So, this really is a brilliant business move by my vet, the Herndon (VA) Animal Medical Center. I’m impressed that she recognized the potential of the older market.  And that she understood there were too-busy Boomers and other mature consumers who may have difficulty bringing their pets in. Who doesn’t love the convenience of house calls?

Related posts: 

* Come! (Good Baby Boomer) – Lessons from a dog for Baby Boomer Marketing

* Marketing to Boomers, Seniors … and SWELs? – Functional foods are being developed for aging boomers, seniors and pets

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