As pet parents, dog owners make up a passionate and dedicated community that holds immense potential for businesses and brands.
Seriously, dog owners are a different breed. And if you fail to understand their needs and preferences in your marketing approach, you’re bound for the doghouse.
Pet brands who fail to connect with their target audience(s) end up spending a lot of time barking into the void — because let’s face it, if a consumer doesn’t like what you have to say or how you say it, then you’re getting the cold shoulder.
Luckily, we’ve spent a few years figuring out how to market to Fido and his parents.
Enjoy a few of the following DOs and DON’Ts that we’ve learned in our time as a pet marketing agency.
Do: Understand the Dog-Owner Bond
Marketing to dog owners starts with recognizing the deep bond they share with their furry companions. Embrace the emotional aspect and celebrate the unique connection they have. Consider campaigns that showcase heartwarming stories of canine companionship and loyalty.
For instance, Subaru’s “Dog Tested. Dog Approved.” campaign brilliantly captures the joy and adventures shared by dogs and their owners, while subtly highlighting the safety features of their vehicles.
Don’t: Generalize or Stereotype
Dog owners are a diverse group with varying lifestyles, interests, and needs. Avoid generalizations or stereotypes that may alienate potential customers.
Instead, tailor your marketing efforts to specific segments within the dog-owner community. BarkBox, a monthly subscription service, has a pretty remarkable approach.
By offering themed boxes that cater to different dog sizes and preferences, they appeal to a wide range of dog owners while acknowledging their unique requirements.
Do: Engage with User-Generated Content (UGC)
Dog owners are passionate about sharing their pet’s adorable moments. Encourage user-generated content by creating hashtags, contests, or interactive campaigns that inspire them to showcase their furry friends.
This strategy not only strengthens brand engagement but also leverages the authentic, relatable content that dog owners love.
An excellent example of UGC in action is the #PetsAtWork campaign by Purina. By encouraging dog owners to share their pet’s workplace adventures, Purina successfully promoted their products as pet-friendly and work-life balanced.
Don’t: Neglect Social Media
In today’s digital age, social media is a powerful tool for reaching dog owners. Establish a strong social media presence and actively engage with your audience. Share captivating visuals, educational content, and entertaining videos that resonate with dog owners.
Remember to respond promptly to comments, inquiries, and messages, as this shows genuine care and builds trust.
The Twitter account of @WeRateDogs is a prime example of how clever and humorous social media interactions can capture the hearts of dog owners, resulting in a massive following.
Do: Support Causes and Charities
Dog owners often prioritize the welfare of animals and appreciate brands that share their values. Demonstrate your commitment to the community by partnering with local animal shelters, rescue organizations, or other pet-centric charities.
Promote adoption drives, sponsor events, or donate a portion of your sales to make a positive impact. TOMS, a shoe company, successfully incorporated its charitable endeavors by launching a line of dog toys, accessories, and apparel, with proceeds benefiting animal shelters.
Don’t: Overlook Convenience and Quality
When marketing to dog owners, it’s crucial to remember that their pets are their family members — meaning they prioritize convenience and seek products and services that make their lives easier while ensuring their dogs’ well-being. Focus on delivering high-quality products, offering personalized services, and providing convenient solutions.
Consider the success of Chewy.com, an online pet retailer that offers auto-ship options, personalized product recommendations, and exceptional customer service, catering to the needs of busy dog owners.
Marketing to dog owners requires a genuine understanding of their deep bond with their pets, an appreciation for diversity, and a commitment to their well-being. If you want to win against the many other brands trying to get their attention, you need to have that dog in you.
That’s where we come in. Get in touch.