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  • Writer's picturekaren paterson

Paws before you purchase

Navigating the risks of online pet medication purchases

Identifying the challenge

As online shopping grows, so does the concern over the safety of purchasing pet medications online, especially those offered at seemingly lower costs from overseas suppliers. We were tasked with developing a communication strategy and implementation plan to educate pet owners about the potential risks involved in such purchases.

Strategic research and planning

To lay the groundwork for an effective strategy, we undertook a comprehensive review to understand why pet owners might opt to buy medications online. This included:

  • conducting in-depth desk research into the motivations for purchasing pet medicines online

  • consulting with professionals managing the importation of pet medications to Australia to identify major concerns with overseas products

  • analysing our client’s research to pinpoint key demographic groups and their reasons for online shopping

  • investigating cost differences, and monitoring discussions on pet care across online forums and social media platforms.

Using this information, we crafted targeted messages aimed at pet owners, retailers, and veterinary practices. We highlighted insights from both our client’s and our own research within the communication strategy, identifying relevant social media groups and online forums for outreach.

Developing the tactical action plan

Our strategy included a detailed action plan outlining how to build awareness over time through multiple channels. We also provided estimates for the staffing resources needed to execute these plans effectively.

Implementation and outcomes

Upon finalising our strategy and action plan, we handed over all materials to our client for implementation. As a result, pet owners, retailers, and veterinarians are now more informed about the dangers of buying unchecked pet medications online. Our campaign effectively raised awareness about the importance of verifying the registration and safety of pet medicines in Australia.

Conclusion: a call to caution

We encourage all pet owners to pause and reflect—‘paws before you purchase’—and to always verify, ‘has this medicine been registered as safe to use in Australia?’ This approach helps ensure the health and safety of pets against potentially unsafe medications sourced online.

How can we help you prepare your team for an important communication campaign and develop messages to drive change?



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