Market Focus - Pet Owners: It's Raining Cat and Dog Lovers
As for messaging, Evans suggests sticking to a positive approach. “Most [pet owners] are looking for information to solve problems,” she says. “‘My cat is acting weird; my dog has this itchiness.’ Even with the pet food recalls, which we’re talking about in our marketing material, we’re predominantly positive, talking about what to feed your dog or cat.”
Belvoir Media has conducted outer envelope testing with pictures ranging from cute puppies to older dogs with arthritis and has found mixed results. “We do something like a puppy, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” says Evans. “It has to do with where the pet owner is in the life cycle of the pet.”
To find points of commonality among pet owners that you can capitalize on in your messaging, you need to focus on the types of animals they own. “Dog owners tend to be house owners,” says Blumenkrantz. “They’re more likely to do things outdoors and have a fenced-in backyard so they can put up a dog runner.” Bird owners tend to have an interest in gardening; cat owners tend to be concentrated in urban areas since cats make better pets in apartments. Cat owners often are stereotyped as little old ladies, and Blumenkrantz says there’s some truth behind it. “People with cats tend to be into needlepoint and knitting. Not every cat owner does crafts, especially people in their 20s and 30s, but as they get older, you’ll find that to be the case.”
Pet owners are a large, diverse group willing to spend money on their “fur babies.” If you have a product or service that can help humans spoil their pets, and you use positive messaging to market it, you’ll find it raining cats, dogs—and sales.
Linda Formichelli and W. Eric Martin are freelance writers based in New Hampshire. Formichelli wrote about marketing to golfers in last month’s issue, and Martin tackled pURLs for the October 2007 issue.