Pets are people, too.
Well, not technically — but they are full-fledged family members to 72% of folks in the United States. As birth rates plummet among younger generations, “fur babies” have taken the place of human kiddos. And they’re pampered just as much as any toddler.
Case in point: It’s hardly unusual to see pet parents proudly pushing small animals in strollers, buying pooches birthday outfits, and insisting that their furry buddies appear on holiday cards. Oh, and Valentine’s Day? It’s not just for romance between human partners anymore. It’s also about treating cats and dogs to love and surprises (minus the chocolate, of course, which is unhealthy for our furry friends).
In fact, the American pet industry has more than quadrupled in a quarter-century to $72 billion, and that number is only climbing. Plus, the majority of households include at least one pet. This means your business has an opportunity to jump onto this tail-wagging bandwagon with some serious pet life event marketing.
Stand Out With a Fresh Approach to Pet-Focused or Veterinary Marketing
What is life event marketing in a general sense? It’s messaging that touches consumers during any kind of life event that’s important to them, such as anniversaries and birthdays. The point of life event marketing is to create an emotional link with prospects and fans. And what better way to initiate a strong relationship than to be part of a uniquely personal experience?
Pet life event marketing acts as a subset of regular life event marketing because it focuses squarely on events related to pooches, kitties, and other lovable critters. Though it’s mainly appropriate for pet industry professionals, any service or product provider can use pet life event marketing. Financial advisors, wealth managers, customer service representatives, and other experts can leverage this form of marketing to build and strengthen bonds with consumers.
If you’ve never considered acknowledging pets’ life events, however, you might be stumped on where to begin. Don’t overthink it, and start simple. For instance, you might opt to send emails, texts, or cards during planned touchpoints (think congratulations on pet adoptions; holiday cards; or International Dog Day, which is on August 26). If appropriate, you could even send heartfelt notes during unplanned times, such as when pet parents are dealing with a furry friend’s illness or theloss of a pet.
Even though this process might not seem intuitive at first, you and your team will soon get the hang of pet life event marketing. You’ll also start to see the impact it has (such as increasing retention rates), allowing you to promote upcoming innovations and differentiate your business from the competition.
Nevertheless, winning at pet life event marketing requires taking a few initial steps. Consider the following points to make sure you have a solid foundation before diving in.
1. Plan for seamless execution. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to getting any type of life event marketing right is not assigning responsibilities upfront.
Accountability is critical to ensuring your marketing efforts don’t fall by the wayside or end up being hit or miss, so make sure every employee knows expectations around pet life event marketing efforts. Who’s in charge of mapping out calendars? Which parties are responsible for sending direct mail birthday cards for furry friends? If you want to get started on mapping out your calendar of potential touchpoints, check out this list of applicable pet holidays.
2. Opt for a multichannel approach. Some pet life event marketing is ideally suited for digital — think a shoutout on social media or a quick text. Other life events, such as pet sympathy and get-well moments, warrant something more personal (like a pet sympathy card sent directly through the mail). That’s because people appreciate receiving something other than bills in their physical mailboxes. Research indicates that 75% of people get excited when they get a card in the mail, and 61% keep the card for more than half a year. This means your pet life event advertising could linger (and matter) much longer than other forms of communication or marketing.
3. Lead with genuine emotion. Of course, people who adopt pets for all the right reasons care about those pets deeply. When sending out any kind of message, then, echo your honest emotions. Yes, it can be tough to know what to write when filling out a condolence card to someone who’s just lost a long-time fur baby. However, it’s appropriate and appreciated.
To ease any difficulties or obstacles, supply your team with some suggestions. Give them a kit filled with pet sympathy cards and recommended messages. They can use the ideas as springboards to construct heartfelt, personalized pieces that consumers will hang onto for months — or maybe even years.
Setting your business apart takes commitment, but that doesn’t mean the commitment can’t be enjoyable or rewarding. Try engaging consumers in a decidedly different way with pet life event marketing. It’s easy to begin: Just find the perfect Hallmark card, customize your message, pop it in the mail, and wait for your random act of kindness to produce lasting fruit.