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TOPIC: Marketing: AFA and the others...

Marketing: AFA and the others... 04 Jun 2011 21:26 #1

  • Rancho JD
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U.S. farriers have been notoriously poor marketers long before direct competition sprouted in the way of trimmers. Now the title has become diluted by some of these come lately trimmers with farrier scribed on their shingles. Yet after reading a list of their demands and prices it's curiously hard to find a category devoted towards shoes, unless it's pulling. They're not farriers, not by a damn sight, but you can't tell them any different - like telling a liberal you cant spend your way out of debt.
Why i saw a young trimmer gal's pickup just the other day who had managed to kill two birds with one marketing stone: There was the usual natural and barefoot only and by appointment, designed in artsy font. Though it was the bold upper case - NO SHOES - that stood out the most. It was rigid and in poor taste and a horseman would know it, but most owners are not horsemen

It's only a single obvious example of one trade faction working ever so diligently to extinguish another..

What are the national and local farrier associations doing with your membership fees and donations to market you without sniping at the competition - the people don't want to see or hear that coming from professionals.

Forging clinics and contests? anything else? I'm a has-been now and way out of the loop, "relying" on horseshoeing for a very small portion of my income - maintaining a few animals here and there and only if they actually need shoes - so please enlighten before i lose interest again. Over the years of trimming and shoeing for the public i never did attend a state or national farrier clinic where the instructional theme was hooves and business.
Hit on 16 stand on 17 and split those aces, merry christmas!
'panhandler' Reno, Nevada.
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 05 Jun 2011 08:13 #2

  • Rachael Kane
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Rancho, are you a member of the AFA? I'm not in America, but I am a member and read their newsletters regularly. Just got one the other day - i was on the cover!!:D - and the Entire cover story was the new president, Buck McClendon talking about exactly that.

To quote " I believe the afa has a product and a service that needs to be marketed to the farrier and horse owning communities." Etc etc

Running a national organization is a difficult and often thankless job. There is often far too much work to do for the few people who put theirs hands up to actually DO something. Every organization has weaknesses and there will be many that are unhappy about where the AFA is right now, I'm sure, nd they may have totally legitimate reasons. However, coming from a country that offers far less in terms of oganisatonal structure for farriers to unite under, i would not be so quick to trash the AFA.

Get involved, focus on the strengths, fix the weaknesses, and do your bit. You come across all sorts of fools day to day that test your patience- don't blame the people trying to fix these issues for what has happened in the past, the savvy marketing of the opposition, and for the ignorance that drives us all mad. I think that's unfair.
Rachael :)
CF

'Motivation gets you going, discipline keeps you going.' (Jim Ryan).
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 05 Jun 2011 22:52 #3

  • mwmyersdvm
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I started in the veterinary profession at a time when advertising was deemed unprofessional. As time wore on it has changed to 'fashionable' and veterinary marketing grew to great heights. However, the fringe veterinary suppliers, having far greater resources than single veterinarians or even groups of veterinarians, have out marketed the profession massively. It has changed the face of practice and caused veterinary prices to rise astronomically since the vaccine and flea control product sales used to cover much of the surgery expense and a lot of the manpower expense for critical care and other areas. It would appear that farriery may be headed this direction. I wish I could give you a good answer as to how this should proceed, but since the veterinarians and lawyers have gone to nearly ridiculous advertising lengths, I am afraid I really don't have a 'pat' answer. I have survived by educating my clients to the best of my ability. This 'immunizes' them against the overblown claims they have to face daily. They can even cross boundaries and critically evaluate the claims made by advertisers other than the veterinary market. This is about the best answer I can give at this time.

I do agree that people don't want to hear professionals sniping at the competition. They get far too much of that from the politicians running this country. However, the competition has a unique advantage by 'sniping' veterinarians, generally leading the public to believe they are overpaying for products from their veterinarian and can get them cheaper from the big warehouse sellers. Actually, that is not always true today as these people have gone the roue of 'loss leaders' and often charge as much or more for products than vaterinarians do today. Thay also buy them far cheaper in mass quantities and even import product counterparts from overseas. It is quite a jungle out there and I do empathize with the farriers having to plunge into it, but they eventually will.

What can any organization do to help? Education of the public is the best first defense. The AFA could mount public outreach programs to the horsemen and the horse owners and we may make some headway. It would be worth the effort I do believe.

M. W. Myers, D.V.M.
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 06 Jun 2011 12:07 #4

  • Mike Ferrara
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First I'd point out that AFA membership is open to everybody including the "trimmers" so I'm not sure why they would promote one member group over another.

Beyond that, I first started shoeing in the early 80's and the business sure has changed. The things I notice most are that I used to make a much better living with fewer horses on the books. The horses were used and most were shod.

Where I live today, the vast majority of horses are barefoot and there are enough part timers and Amish trimming and shoeing at unbelievable low prices that there just isn't any money in it. Anybody here care to drive a ways to shoe a horse for $45 or do a few trims for $20/head? The sad fact is that the work done for those prices is apparently "good enough".

I'm finding that, with very few exceptions, the only place there's any money is in the show horses (or similar "specialty"). I drive past a huge number of horses to get to the ones that will pay.
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 06 Jun 2011 13:14 #5

  • Gary Hill
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
First I'd point out that AFA membership is open to everybody including the "trimmers" so I'm not sure why they would promote one member group over another.

Beyond that, I first started shoeing in the early 80's and the business sure has changed. The things I notice most are that I used to make a much better living with fewer horses on the books. The horses were used and most were shod.

Where I live today, the vast majority of horses are barefoot and there are enough part timers and Amish trimming and shoeing at unbelievable low prices that there just isn't any money in it. Anybody here care to drive a ways to shoe a horse for $45 or do a few trims for $20/head? The sad fact is that the work done for those prices is apparently "good enough".

I'm finding that, with very few exceptions, the only place there's any money is in the show horses (or similar "specialty"). I drive past a huge number of horses to get to the ones that will pay.

Mike I think it is the same way everywhere???
"As I see it, winners get the money - while losers talk of "individual goals" and similar stuff." Tom Stovall
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 06 Jun 2011 13:34 #6

  • Mike Ferrara
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Gary Hill wrote:
Mike I think it is the same way everywhere???

Probably.

The other thing I'd add is that most of these barefoot horses aren't trimmed on a regular basis. Even the barefoot horses that I take care of in the "show barns" aren't necessarily trimmed very often. In some cases, even they are finding cheaper people to do at least some of the trimming. They get dumped back on my book without notice when they come up lame and need a pair of shoes.

In the old days, such treatment would have got me to move on down the road. If I did that now, I'd starve so I just do what I'm told.

Is it my imagination or are the a whole lot more people going to shoeing school these days? This is my second time in this business and I think I know more recent shoeing school grads now than I did in all my prior years shoeing.

I don't know how many will stick with it but it seems like everybody's a horse shoer these days.
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 06 Jun 2011 13:51 #7

  • smitty88
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I don't know how many will stick with it but it seems like everybody's a horse shoer these days.
(Mike)


i think that might just be over there you think?
Smitty88
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 06 Jun 2011 14:17 #8

  • Mike Ferrara
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smitty88 wrote:
I don't know how many will stick with it but it seems like everybody's a horse shoer these days.
(Mike)


i think that might just be over there you think?

I don't know. All my experience in this business is "over here".

What I do know is that there are a lot of shoeing schools and they seem to be pumping out students. unemployment is HIGH and even if a person has a job, they aren't the long term "secure" jobs they used to be.

I could be wrong but I think more people are looking for ways to have more control over their own career by looking to businesses where they can be self employed.

I'd be interested in hearing what it's like over there. Last I did hear, your economy wasn't all that great either. What does a person over there do when they lose their job or career and government regulation limits their options? How does your tax and unemployment rates compare to ours?

We can argue about the relative merits of barriers to entry and the resultant competition but I don't care to have people sitting at home doing nothing and depending on me to support them either.
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 06 Jun 2011 14:23 #9

  • Mike Ferrara
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Smitty,

Ouch! your unemployment is almost 15% ? http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ireland/unemployment-rate

You may not have as many people out trying their hand at shoeing or trimming but you have an awful lot of people sitting at home doing NOTHING. How's that working for you?
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 06 Jun 2011 14:33 #10

  • smitty88
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
Smitty,

Ouch! your unemployment is almost 15% ? http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ireland/unemployment-rate

You may not have as many people out trying their hand at shoeing or trimming but you have an awful lot of people sitting at home doing NOTHING. How's that working for you?

its getting better
work has picked up a tad but there are 3 of us:eek:
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 06 Jun 2011 14:45 #11

  • Mike Ferrara
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smitty88 wrote:
its getting better
work has picked up a tad but there are 3 of us:eek:
http://www.worldwide-tax.com/ireland/ireland_tax.asp

41% income tax? Do you also have sales tax or other local taxes in addition? The government is taking all your money.

The unemployed don't have to try to shoe horses. You're shoeing the horses and giving them the money. Such a deal.
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 06 Jun 2011 22:27 #12

  • George Geist
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Mike Ferrara wrote:
http://www.worldwide-tax.com/ireland/ireland_tax.asp

41% income tax? Do you also have sales tax or other local taxes in addition? The government is taking all your money.

The unemployed don't have to try to shoe horses. You're shoeing the horses and giving them the money. Such a deal.
Hey Mike,
Just for gits and shiggles do this.
Figure out the American Federal, State, and local taxes but add to it the additional money Americans are paying to private insurance companies for medical, car, etc. As well as the higher cost of private utilities, phone service etc.

I think you'll find it pretty enlightening.
George
For another fun place to play........
www.horseshoersforum.invisionzone.com
Come over and say hello.
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 06 Jun 2011 23:14 #13

  • Mike Ferrara
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George Geist wrote:
Hey Mike,
Just for gits and shiggles do this.
Figure out the American Federal, State, and local taxes but add to it the additional money Americans are paying to private insurance companies for medical, car, etc.

I think you'll find it pretty enlightening.
George

Another subject that's near and dear to my heart. Not so long ago many of us didn't have insurance and doctors worked for what the market would bear or they got another job. Kind of like what we do.

As more people started to use insurance and more insurance companies started to dictate which doctors you could see and the government dictated which insurance companies you could use, prices went through the roof real fast. This is something that's happened in my lifetime. When I was a kid, the doc came to the house and it was NOT expensive. When my kids were young, the doc would come into the office in the middle of the night and see the whole sick family for the cost of a single office visit (about $30). But, when I got insurance, they wouldn't let me use that doctor.

Fast forward to this past year and I find that the government is forcing prices up for me. Even though I'm paying the doc CASH and no insurance company is involved, the government forbids the doc from charging less than they would to an insurance company. I and the doctor are not free to work out a cash agreement between ourselves because in certain cases, it's a serious crime to do so. Medicare comes into this too.

Insurance ended competition between health care providers and government ended competition between insurance companies. You know where this employer provided insurance nonsense started? It all started with government wage and price freezes. The more the government screws with it, the worse it all gets. All I want for my labor is cash money. I'll decide where and how to spend it.

I could go on, would you like to read more? I can't help it. In some states OBGYNs (for example) are paying as much as $300,000/year for malpractice insurance. What do you think that does to prices?

You know what defensive medicine costs us? Read up on ICU costs and use. Last I read ICU costs accounted for some 15% or more of our total health care expenditures and studies showed people are put into ICU when they don't need it and being kept there longer than needed...worried about being sued, they are.

The government did this and the way to fix it is to get the government out of the health care business.

You talk about adding up the taxes? Adding up all forms of taxes to all levels of government, I note that I'm paying pretty close to half of my total earnings in taxes. My 2010 total health care expenditures came to about $300.

We could buy a LOT of health care with what our politicians spend living like rock stars.
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 07 Jun 2011 00:15 #14

  • George Geist
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LMAO!
Focus Mike, focus.

So does this mean you're acknowledging that Americans have much less take home pay than other developed nations due to our lack of a Public Health Service???

Want to talk car insurance? Yes is higher here than anywhere else because of the higher medical costs but am I the only one who has a problem with them or any other private business having the police department making sure you do business with them? Can you think of any other private business that has this? New Jersey waste disposal industry maybe?

Did you also know that the folks who were under the TVA only paid about 1/3 of the cost for electricity as the rest of the privatized country?

Add all this stuff up I'll bet you'll find the compulsory payments for these things adds up to much more than the Irish tax rate which includes all this stuff.

They also have subsidized railroads, telephones, education, the list goes on. Check it out. They don't even have them danged gubmint infernal revenuers who done went and shot ol' grampappy for makin' whisky back in the day:)
George
For another fun place to play........
www.horseshoersforum.invisionzone.com
Come over and say hello.
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RE:Marketing: AFA and the others... 07 Jun 2011 00:47 #15

  • Mike Ferrara
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George Geist wrote:
LMAO!
Focus Mike, focus.

So does this mean you're acknowledging that Americans have much less take home pay than other developed nations due to our lack of a Public Health Service???

No. Public health service works out well sometimes for the people who are really sick. The rest just pay for something they don't use.

Want to talk car insurance? Yes is higher here than anywhere else because of the higher medical costs but am I the only one who has a problem with them or any other private business having the police department making sure you do business with them? Can you think of any other private business that has this? New Jersey waste disposal industry maybe?

Yes, waste disposal. They just decided to force me to tie into a sewer system that I don't need or wont and they're currently projecting that it's going to cost me $100/month. I just don't poop that much.

It's worth noting though that the only car insurance that's mandated by law is liability insurance and my liability insurance doesn't cost much at all.

Additionally, not everybody drives and it's widely accepted that driving is a privilege.

By contrast, our new individual health care mandate is literally a tax on life itself. At one time, we considered life to be a "creator" given right. you know? Life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and all that?

Not any more. Now living obligates you to purchase a health insurance policy that even covers wellness care? What kind of nut goes to the doctor when they're well?

The point is that the sort of policy that I would like to have will now be illegal. Namely, a high deductible major medical policy. Certainly such a policy would make sense for healthy young people.

Did you also know that the folks who were under the TVA only paid about 1/3 of the cost for electricity as the rest of the privatized country?

How do you kill a river? There's probably more than one way but the TVA got the job done.

Add all this stuff up I'll bet you'll find the compulsory payments for these things adds up to much more than the Irish tax rate which includes all this stuff.

They also have subsidized railroads, telephones, education, the list goes on. Check it out. They don't even have them danged gubmint infernal revenuers who done went and shot ol' grampappy for makin' whisky back in the day:)
George

Well, we have tons of subsidized education (how's your property tax bill?) and trains, though, I don't have any use for trains. I sure don't need anybody else to pay for my phone.

To your question "which cosats more?" that would depend on which and how much of the socialized services you use. To the greater point, which is least expensive isn't even the biggest issue for me. My question is which results in the greatest degree of individual liberty while still taking reasonable steps to restrain one person from causing harm to another?

Liberty. It's about liberty. We all die and many of us are going to die horrible deaths no matter how much of our earnings the government confiscates or what they promise us. How much of a slave do you want to be between now and the time you fall?
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