Work your way backwards to get pet owners in the door


Behavioral event modeling is a fancy business term for thinking about who will pay for a product or service in your veterinary hospital exam roomand thinking about how to get that person there in the first place.

Behavioral event modeling was developed in the social science field of consumer behavior. The process maps out a series of possible behaviors or events that lead to a specific outcome. You can use it to imagine how a client chooses one clinic over another or decides to pay for oncology care, or sticks to a medication regimen for their pet.

A behavioral event model looks like a cross between a flowchart and concept map. To get started, choose an outcome and work backwards, identifying decisions or other events that could influence that outcome.

How to start

Start the sketch by writing down your ultimate outcome. Draw a box around it. Then work “backward” in the sequence of causality, brainstorming events that could lead to that outcome. Circle these events and draw connecting lines to the ultimate outcome. Continue this process until your ideas-and those of your team-are exhausted.

This will give you clues to potential points of intervention in the sequence. Then you can try to influence the chain of events that lead to the desired outcome.

For an example, here's a behavioral event model for a specialty and emergency referral veterinary hospital owner who wants to draw in more clients through veterinarian referrals:

Now click to page two for pet-owner-driven referrals.



Insight gathered from developing a behavioral event modeling map could apply to a range of situations-from client-level concerns to clinic-level concerns and even public-animal-health concerns like mastitis control in a dairy herd. It's just one way veterinarians and hospital owners can think of ways to influence the process to grow their businesses and encourage client compliance.

Carly Hodes is acting director of marketing and communications for Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine and a 2015 MBA candidate.

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