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Agrimarketing : July August 2008
of Ethicon surgical sutures. “The companion animal business is significantly different than the farm animal market in several ways,” Kausche reports. “Whereas with farm animals there is an eco- nomic reason for treatment, in the companion animal market the pet is considered a member of the family. The economics of treatment, for most pet owners, just don’t apply.” According to the American Veterinary Medical Association , the U.S. cat and dog population exceeds 153 million. “Approximately 40% of the households have at least one dog and a similar number have a cat,” Kausche reports. “The incidence of ownership is much larger when chil- dren are present in the household. Also, once an owner has a pet, they are highly likely to always have them in their household.” Kausche says he expects the com- panion market to continue to grow with the number of dogs up slightly and cats being stable. However, because of the change in the way their owners are now seeing their companion — as a family member — plus the number of products that are becoming available for their care, pets will enjoy even more intensive care than in the past. ORGANIZATION “Our channel to the pet owner/ customer is the veterinarian,” Kausche explains “They prescribe and sell our products. We do not sell directly to the consumer.” To serve the nation’s 30,000 vet clinics, Novartis has a large field sales and technical staff, as well as valuable internal customer relations and technical product support departments which handle orders, provide answers on technical ques- tions and handle other consumer and veterinary inquiries. Most of the sales force have busi- ness or animal health/science degrees and have worked for vet clinics in the past. “Although they have diverse backgrounds, they all have one common denominator,” Kausche says, “they love animals.” MARKETING “We employ what I would describe as a ‘classic’ marketing mix,” Kausche says. To reach the vet mar- ket, that includes ads in their trade magazines, direct mail, trade shows and meetings. To reach the con- sumer, the company supplies vet clinics with educational product brochures that can be distributed to the pet owner. “Because of the high quality of our products,” he continues, “our messages are fact based, not hype.” The company recently launched a public relations campaign for the Web site it established www. remindmypet.com. The Web site is geared towards pet owners and addresses one of the biggest threats to the well-being of pets: failure of the owner to give medications to them as directed. In the program, pet owners go to the Web site and sign up by provid- ing general contact information. They then receive a confirmation e- mail with a link that allows them to register their pets, the medications prescribed, and the schedule of administration. RemindMyPet.com keeps track of this information and sends e-mail messages when it’s time to give a specific medicine to a specific pet and when it’s time for medication refills. The company has also begun testing the “Be Your Dog’s Hero” program that encourages pet owners to stay on a year-round heartworm and parasite prevention. Pet owner benefits from the program include receiving exclusive rebates through their participating clinic on monthly heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention as well as other incen- tives to encourage pet owners to see their veterinarian on a regular basis. Initial testing with the program in select areas this year has been very successful, Kausche reports. “Clinics that have participated so far are seeing nice increases in compliance rates for heartworm and parasite prevention. What is the company’s most effective marketing activity? “In my opinion, it is the meetings that we host for veterinarians,” he says. “At the meetings, we provide technical training and encourage the vets to discuss effective treatment tech- niques among each other.” FARM ANIMALS Steve Boren is Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Novartis Ani- mal Health U.S., Inc. He received his B.S. at Fresno State, his M.S. in ani- mal nutrition at Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of California . Before joining Novartis in 2002, he was Vice President for a feed milling company specializing in pre-mixes. The livestock or, as Novartis 58 AgriMarketing ¦ July/August 2008 COVER STORY /continued from page 57 Novartis Animal Health offers an extensive line of products for pet and livestock care, which includes parasiticides for dogs and vaccines for cattle.
CAMA 2008 Canada