AOVET North America Marketing Initiative
Promoting the value of AOVET in North America.
AOVET North America (AOVETNA) is demonstrating its relevance to key veterinary orthopedic organizations in North America and showcasing itself as the region’s primary source of veterinary orthopedic continuing medical education and recertification. Key to that strategy is a marketing initiative, funded by an AO Strategy Fund (AOSF) grant, to promote its value to those veterinary organizations.
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Project leader Alan Ruggles, DVM, said the AO’s continuing legacy of providing lifelong learning opportunities is at the heart of the initiative.
"One of our difficulties in the past was that although nearly all veterinarians going through residencies take AO Principles and Advanced Courses, what is its relevance beyond that?" said Ruggles, AOVETNA Chair. "Our goal is to educate residents in training and veterinary specialists about the value of AOVETNA and the resources available not only in North America, but globally throughout the AO Foundation."
Delivering long-term value
When the AO Strategy Fund was launched in December 2013, it struck Ruggles as an ideal resource for funding promotion of AOVETNA and the AO Foundation "as a long-term educational partner."
"Our goal is not necessarily to drive membership in terms of numbers. There is a tendency to think about membership as a measure of success, and that makes sense in some contexts. Our aim is really to drive people who want to be part of our organization because of the long-term value that the AO, its network and educational opportunities provide," said Ruggles. "There is a substantial subset of practicing, board-certified surgeons who are unaware of what AO North America and the AO can bring to them. So we are using our grant to sponsor various scientific events of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the Veterinary Orthopedic Society."
For example, the AOSF grant made it possible for AOVETNA to sponsor three residents from the 2014 American College of Veterinary Surgeons’ Surgery Summit to present their scientific research at AO North America’s One AO multispecialty meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, in February 2015. Those three got to experience the AO first hand.
"Those residents’ papers had cross-species relevance and we recognized them with a certificate, cash award, travel, lodging, and registration at One AO, where they presented their findings," Ruggles said. "This was well received and we plan on doing it for the next two years, using our AOSF grant funding."
One future outcome of the marketing initiative, Ruggles said, could be teaching modules for veterinary residents in training and/or for recertification of veterinary specialists.
"There absolutely is no way we could have done this marketing initiative without the grant from the AOSF. That money simply does not exist in our coffers," he explained. "AOVETNA does not view itself as an island within the AO. We recognize that the value the foundation brings to us helps us show why we are relevant. And the value that AOVETNA and the AO can bring to veterinarians at all stages of their careers is invaluable."