UF student lands award for veterinary business marketing

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Winning marketing plan by Geoffrey Landau focuses on attracting, retaining clients.

Today's successful veterinary practice is defined by more than excellent patient care. Client retention and business growth are also dependent on effective marketing. And current veterinary students are learning these skills while completing their traditional veterinary education-and they're being rewarded for it.

Geoffrey Landau, a senior at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, was presented with a $15,000 check during the Veterinary Business Management Association's annual meeting in Orlando in January. Landau was the recipient of the Simmons Business Aptitude Award for a marketing project he submitted in the international competition. The goal of the contest, which is funded through the Simmons Educational Fund (SEF), is to bring attention to the importance of business education in veterinary practice.

Landau's winning project involved crafting a marketing plan for a hypothetical veterinary hospital and focused on how technology would help keep current clients and make the hospital visible to future clients.

“While putting together my marketing plan for the SEF Award competition, it became very clear that today's marketing tools are constantly changing,” Landau said. “Practices must try multiple approaches to reach their target market and constantly monitor which strategies are effective and which are not a good utilization of a practice's time and/or money. It is extremely important to track analytics and re-evaluate what is most effective for each individual practice.”

Landau's words illustrate the breadth of business knowledge that many students will bring to their practice of veterinary medicine. Landau is enrolled in the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine's business certificate program, which offers veterinary students the opportunity to strengthen and hone their skills in the business aspects of veterinary medicine through completion of a series of courses and a summer practice management clerkship.

“I believe what set my project apart is that I focused my plan on keeping the practice's current clients in addition to getting new clients,” Landau said. “I believe that if clients have a good experience they will tell friends and help market the practice. With social media today, a practice cannot afford for a client to have a bad experience!”

Landau's project was selected from a group of 17 national and international SEF submissions. The Simmons Educational Fund is a nonprofit corporation founded in 2002 by Simmons and Associates, a company that specializes exclusively in veterinary practice sales, valuations and negotiations.

“We at the SEF continue to be incredibly impressed by the effort, thoughtfulness and quality of work that all of the entrants display in their projects,” said Dave Gerber, DVM, a Fund trustee. “The finalists were hard to separate due to the excellence of each of their projects. With students of this caliber, our profession will remain in good hands for years to come.”

Dr. Doyle Watson (left), president and CEO of Simmons & Associates, with UF veterinary student Geoffrey Landau. Photo courtesy of University of Florida.

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