Rumpus Writing and Editing has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 2017, and one of our first clients was Digital Empathy (DE), the veterinary industry’s leading custom web design and marketing company. Earlier this year, Digital Empathy was named the American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) Preferred Business Provider for a marketing agency for veterinary businesses. We wanted to spotlight Digital Empathy after such an impressive accomplishment, so we met up with Robert Sanchez, Digital Empathy CEO. Take a look at our conversation about Digital Empathy’s remarkable growth from home office to veterinary marketing powerhouse.
Question: What is your background and how did that lead to creating DE?
Answer: As a child, I always knew my goal in life was to help animals, and I figured the best way to reach that dream was becoming a lawyer, to help expand rights for companion animals. So, I set out on a law school path. I studied philosophy, and after completing my undergraduate studies, took a gap year to get ready for the rigors of law school. However, during this year, I started thinking that entrepreneurship was the best way to accomplish my goals. Instead of returning for law school, I started a fledgling business, only to fail, which pushed me to join the workforce. I landed a position at VetMatrix, a company that provides marketing services for the veterinary industry. At VetMatrix, I had a gut feeling that something wasn’t quite right—there was a misalignment of values and priorities. But, when I evaluated that feeling, I realized it wasn’t only VetMatrix—it was the entire veterinary marketing industry.
Most veterinary marketing is based on technology, rather than being people-centric. However, good marketing is based on filling human needs, rather than spouting services and features. By focusing on this philosophy, I saw an opportunity to fill a huge gap in veterinary marketing and create innovative industry changes. Embracing what pets mean to their owners and the role veterinary practices play in strengthening that bond formed the backbone of Digital Empathy.
Q: How did DE start and how big is your team now?
A: In 2015, I left VetMatrix and began making cold calls to veterinary practices from my home office to get Digital Empathy up and running. Remember that original business venture I mentioned? Although that foray into entrepreneurship was a bust, I had two friends and colleagues willing to take a new leap with me, and Matt, Greg, and I formed the core Digital Empathy team.
To help our business grow, we needed to find customers who aligned with our veterinary marketing vision. After all, finding new clients is tough if nobody has heard of you. So, we exhibited at trade shows and began to spread the word. Since 2015, we’ve grown exponentially and organically, and now have around 400 clients. By focusing on getting the best people on our team—which now totals 11 full-time employees—Digital Empathy has become a leading veterinary marketing company.
Q: Why did you choose to create a veterinary-focused company?
A: When I was 6 years old, my purpose in life crystallized. My dad told me what happened to dogs who didn’t get adopted from animal shelters, and my young mind was horrified about the “murder” of innocent pets. From that point on, I knew my mission in life was to stop the euthanasia of homeless pets.
Although it took quite a few years from that point, I realized that by highlighting the bond between pets and their owners, and ensuring veterinary practices recognize and celebrate that bond, I could help keep pets in their homes, and decrease euthanasia that way. Digital Empathy’s goal is making it easier for veterinary practices to help educate their clients on caring for their pet, while cherishing the bond shared with their furry family members.
Q: What do you believe is the most important way to reach pet owners (e.g., professional website, social media, regular content, etc.)?
A: As a veterinary practice, you have to look at your client base and determine where they already spend most of their time. An omni-channel approach is typically best, because then you integrate yourself into your clients’ most popular channels. Plunging into multiple channels will help you become competitive on search engines and attract the right clients by building trust, and positioning yourself as a compassionate expert on pet health. When you have a professionally designed website that shares educational content on health and behavior topics, you’re going to attract clients who truly believe in the value of veterinary medicine, rather than the ones who are price shopping for “cheap shots.”
Q: How did you first meet the Rumpus Writing and Editing team?
A: In the beginning, I wrote the first blog posts for clients. As Digital Empathy grew and I needed to focus more on executive tasks, I hired freelance writers, who did a fine job. But, I met Sarah (Rumpus Writing and Editing CEO) in 2017 at Western Veterinary Conference soon after she formed Rumpus Writing and Editing, and our partnership was born.
Q: Where do you see DE going in the future?
A: My main goal for Digital Empathy is to help veterinary practices attract clients who are right for them. The more practices we work with, the more pets I feel we can directly and indirectly help. As for upcoming projects we’re working on, those are top secret. Stay tuned for what we’re planning next!
We’re proud of our partnership with Robert Sanchez and Digital Empathy, and can’t wait to see what the future holds for both our teams. Learn more about Digital Empathy and their marketing services here, or reach out to our Rumpus Writing and Editing team for help with all your veterinary writing needs.