Bigeye’s 2019 US Pet Industry Study

A new, national study of pet owners from Bigeye signals shifts in preferences and behaviors that are poised to reshape the $75 billion pet industry.

In July and August 2019, Bigeye conducted a survey of 784 pet owners aged 25 to 55 across the United States.

The study quantifies how pets influence purchases, devices, and brand appeal. Bigeye aimed to provided a valuable, free resource for organizations that provide or develop pet products and services with findings that are especially relevant to marketing professionals.

Bigeye President Justin Ramb, Senior Strategist Dana Cassell, and VP of Insights Adrian Tennant presented a webinar highlighting key findings and actionable insights from the study. You can watch the webinar recording below; a transcript of the webinar is provided.

Full Study Download

Download the full study results here.

Podcast

In Clear Focus: The 2019 US Pet Industry Study by In Clear Focus

In this first episode of In Clear Vision, Bigeye’s senior strategist Dana Cassell and VP of insights Adrian Tennant discuss findings from the 2019 US Pet Industry Study. Dana and Adrian break down emerging trends in pet parenting and the implications for pet product marketers as generational differences in device use impact engagement with advertisements.

Webinar Recording

Bigeye 2019 US Pet Industry Study Webinar

This is “Bigeye 2019 US Pet Industry Study Webinar” by Bigeye on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

Pet Transcript

Justin Ramb:        Hello everybody. This is Justin Ramb, president of Bigeye. I’d like to welcome you today to today’s webinar featuring highlights from the Bigeye 2019 US Pet Industry Study. We are excited to show you some great data this afternoon. And just so you know, there’s no need to take notes as a recording of this webinar will be available for on-demand access. We’ll send out a link to everyone who registered for today’s event within two to three business days. And we’d love to hear from you. We encourage participation and we’ll answer any questions you may have immediately following this presentation. Your lines are muted, so please feel free to send any questions or comments using the question box in the GoTo webinar panel or email us at info@bigeyeagency.com. Would love any feedback you have, comments, tips, insights that you have that you’d like to share, anything that you would like to give to the rest of the audience. So before we dive in, just a little bit of background about each of our presenters today. This is Justin Ramb, founder and president of Bigeye. We opened our doors in 2002 and are an audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service marketing and advertising agency. We are based in sunny Orlando, Florida, but we serve clients across the US and beyond. Insights and research have become central to every engagement the agency undertakes for its clients often during the discovery phase, as well as supporting creative development. Insights really is our heartbeat; it is in the DNA of our agency, understanding the audience and how they’re best going to consume your products or services. I am a pet parent, my wonderful King Charles cavalier, Rosie. And now I’ll turn it over to Dana.

Dana Cassell:       Hi, I’m Dana Cassell, senior strategist at Bigeye. I’ve been with the agency for about a decade, and in my role, I focus on consumer behavior, interpreting the results and findings from primary and secondary research. I’m also responsible for synthesizing data into insights that help our clients build strategically differentiated brands. I’m also a pet parent. We have Kona who is a black lab that turned one this week and an 11-year-old orange Tabby cat named Baxter.

Adrian Tennant:     Hello, I’m Adrian Tennant, VP of insights, at Bigeye. I’ve spent more than two decades working in advertising and marketing in digital planning and strategy roles, but today I lead Bigeye’s quantitative, qualitative, and neuromarketing studies to inform media planning and creative strategies. I too am a pet parent. I have two four-year-old Maine Coon cats, Polly and Mango, plus a 29-gallon aquarium with various fish, including tetras, cories, and a pleco named Bob. To those of you just joining us, welcome.

Justin Ramb:        So why this research study and why now? In 1988, 56% of US households had one or more pets. Thirty-one years later, the percentage stands at 67% – that’s an 11% increase, which means today 85 million households in the US have pets and this year $75 billion will be spent on pet-related products and services. Bigeye works with clients in the pet care space, so we are committed to tracking trends in this market to help our clients develop breakthrough marketing and communication strategies. We decided to undertake this primary research study and the results we’re sharing with you today. Over to Adrian.

Adrian Tennant:     The objective of Bigeye’s 2019 US Pet Industry Study is to yield insights into the buying habits and attitudes of owners of domestic pets. We collected the data for this primary research in July and August of this year from a sample of 784 adults aged 25 to 55 located across the United States. For reporting purposes, we’ve grouped respondents into the four geographic regions shown here: the South; the West; the Midwest; and the Northeast. Unless noted otherwise, the results we’re sharing with you today have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5% at the 95% confidence level. Dana, over to you.

Dana Cassell:       Thanks, Adrian. So let’s get started by taking a look at pet ownership, which animals are most popular, and how ownership may be influenced by the environment. Most owners of pets have dogs and or cats. 75% of respondents in our study owned dogs, and 46% owned cats. Ownership of other animals are more modest with fish at 10 percent, birds at 6%, and small mammals at 4%. Because most families that own fish have more than one fish in that home, fish outnumber other domestic pets: estimated at 139 million in the United States as of 2018. Sixty-six percent of respondents in our study own one pet, while 25% have two pets, and 9% have more than two. Single pet ownership is most prevalent among respondents living in apartments, townhouses, and condos. Multiple pets are more likely among cat, bird, and fish owners living in single-family homes. Ninety-five percent of owners consider pets a member of their family; 12% of owners consider their pets probably a member of the family, while 83% consider their pets definitely a member of the family. Responses were consistent on this question from owners across regions, within different household income bands, and all age ranges. This really is illuminating about how we view our pets and how humanization influences pet products, services, and brand premiumization. So when is the best time to introduce a pet into a family? In a separate study undertaken within the research platform Suzy, Bigeye asked 503 mothers across the US how old a child should be when a pet is introduced into the home. In open-ended responses, which you can see here, 42% indicated ages two through seven, and 27% said ages seven through 11 years old. Where do we find our pets? Thirty-nine percent of pets are purchased: 21% from a breeder, 13% from stores, and 5% online. Thirty-six percent of pets are adopted, typically from a shelter. For 14% of respondents, family and friends were a source, and 7% reported taking in a stray. We noted that adoption is far more likely with respondents in the West, in the suburbs, and in two-person households. Seventy percent of pets were acquired with some pre consideration: higher percentages of women, people earning between $35,000 and $50,000 annually, people living in rural areas, and those who got their pet from a friend or relative tended to be more spontaneous than other segments.

Adrian Tennant:     Thanks, Dana. Let’s turn now to what we’re buying for our pets and where from. Pet owners purchase a variety of items on a regular basis. Treats and toys top the list: 73% of pet owners report buying treats, while 62% purchase toys. Fifty-four percent of owners purchased specialty food and 41% buy store brands. Further down the list are medicine and pet sundries, such as grooming supplies, bedding, accessories, apparel and training aids, close out the list of pet owners’ regular purchases. Spend is comparable across most segments. Overall, 76% of owners spend less than $100 per month on pet items; for 45% of owners, this adds up to between $600 and $1,200 per year, but 19% spend double that rate – up to $2,400 annually. Omnichannel retailers’ in-store purchases for pet-related products still outpace online. Individually, Walmart tops the list: 66% shopped for pet products there in the past year. PetSmart at 62%, Petco at 56%, and Chewy.com at 44%, top the list of pet-specific retailers. Owners in the West were more likely than those in other regions to purchase in-store at Petco, and much more likely to purchase from Costco or Sam’s Club. Owners located in the Northeast were much more likely than others to purchase from drug stores such as CVS, Walgreens, and Duane Reade. In addition to products, pet owners purchase services. At 36%, veterinary care tops the categories of pet services. Grooming is second-most popular at 24%. Pet sitter/feeder combined with walkers is at 14%, level with the combined categories of boarding and daycare. Close to half of all pet owners – 45 percent – give their pet vitamins or supplements. Twenty-five percent have insurance for their pet – 40 percent of owners with insurance said that a vet recommendation most influenced their decision to purchase. Twenty-three percent participate in medicine, vitamin, or supplement subscriptions. It’s worth noting that 86% of owners spend under $1,000 per year on medical care for their pets. Just over one-third of owners – 34% – participate in one or more pet-related subscription services. Among those owners that subscribe, 63 percent do so for food, while just over half – 52% – subscribe for toys and accessories. Forty-eight percent subscribe for health products or supplements and 35% for pet treats. For these services, a particular demographic pattern plays out: owners aged 25-34, living in a townhome or a condo, and in an urban area are more likely to subscribe than other groups. These findings held true across all four regions of the US. So with Halloween just around the corner, more than one-third of all pet owners (36%) at least sometimes purchase costumes for their pets. The practice is most widespread among owners aged 25-34, of 2 or more pets, dog owners, those living in apartments, townhomes, and condos, in urban areas. Female and male owners are equally likely to purchase costumes. Back to you, Dana.

Dana Cassell:       Thanks, Adrian. Cannabidiol – or CBD – is derived from hemp or cannabis, but is non-psychoactive, making it accessible to almost anyone, including pets. CBD has gone mainstream in record time and is considered a treatment for everything from anxiety to arthritis pain. But how willing are pet parents to ditch chew toys in favor of CBD-infused treats? The Bigeye study finds that CBD is currently administered by 17% of pet owners; 42% don’t currently use CBD-infused products but would consider doing so for their pet in the future; about a quarter – 24% – are holdouts, and 17 percent are unsure. Pet owners currently using CBD products are much more likely than non-users to have health insurance for their pets: 56% of those currently using CBD have insurance, compared with 25% of all owners. Pet owners see many potential uses for CBD. The dominant CBD indication is as an anxiety and stress reducer: 43 percent of users are currently administering CBD for that purpose and 37% of owners open to its use would use it for that. Sixteen percent of owners – users and non-users – use or would consider CBD to treat nausea, 15% for seizures, 13% for cancer symptoms, and 9% to treat gastrointestinal issues. Non-users are more likely than current users to consider CBD for alleviating cancer symptoms and gastrointestinal issues by 4 to 7 percentage points, respectively. The full report, which will be sent to everyone who registered for today’s webinar, includes a lot more about owners’ attitudes towards the use of CBD for their pets. A fascinating consumer trend. Back to you, Adrian.

Adrian Tennant:     Thanks, Dana. So how do owners decide what to feed their pets, and what influences the trial of new products and services? When it comes to deciding what to feed their pets, 49 percent – almost half of all owners – said they look to recommendations from their veterinarian; 37 percent said advice from friends and family; one-third of respondents identified product reviews as strongly influencing their selection. When we asked what drives pet owners to try new products, 21% of owners selected coupon, sale, or discount. Coupons seem a bit anachronistic, but in the digital age they double as discount codes and consumers’ online research often includes checking for the availability of such codes. At 20% is the more attribute-based nutritional benefit. Next were reviews at 13% and friend recommendations at 12%. At 11%, samples work on the same premise as coupons. This chart shows the most influential factors in pet product decision factors, measured individually on a scale from zero to ten, to gauge their influence. The higher the average score, the greater the influence. In the upper-tier are direct health benefits offered as well as product quality in the form of longevity or durability. Value is a critical factor, meaning that the decision is about more than just price. And again, vet recommendations play an influential role Pet owners who subscribe learned about their subscription service through a variety of sources. One-third of subscribers learned about their service from a website, while 18% said an advertisement, and 14% said word of mouth. Which segues nicely with the final section of our study – back to you, Dana.

Dana Cassell:       Thanks, Adrian. As a marketing communications agency, we especially want to know pet owners interact with various ad formats and on what devices. Smartphones really are omnipresent: use of the device pervades every corner of our lives. For many, smartphones are the most available, convenient, and immediate point of access to information. So it is perhaps not surprising that in the Bigeye study, 38% of pet owners indicate the smartphone is their preferred device for engaging with advertisements. For 28% of pet owners, it’s the television, and for almost one-quarter, it’s a laptop or desktop computer. We do see some significant generational differences in device usage. The most notable variations are based on age: owners younger than 35 (47%) are most willing to engage with advertisements using their smartphones. Those 45 and older lean more toward TV (38%) than smartphones (26%). We also observe some variations based on the area. Although the smartphone dominates overall, pet owners in suburban areas were 12 percentage points (34%) less likely than owners in rural areas (46%) to engage with advertisements on their phones. TV is least likely to be engaged with by urban pet owners (23%) compared to those in suburban (31%) and rural areas (30%). Forty-one percent of pet owners selected TV commercials as their preferred format for advertisements. Combining Facebook (19%) and Instagram (11%) with influencers (4%), social media represents 34%. Video, the category considered emergent, hits 21% and consistency across different age groups confirms this trend. Pet owners aged 45-55 lean more toward TV ads while those younger than 35 favor social media and video-based ads. One thing is clear – video ads produced for display on smartphones are most likely to resonate with Millennial pet owners. We’ve not had time to cover everything in the report, but let’s take a minute to highlight some of the trendlines. Millennial pet owners are about half as likely to be married or living with a partner than previous generations and are also delaying parenthood. This generational difference has resulted in higher rates of pet ownership among this cohort and for some owners, pets have become a replacement for children. With a high percentage of younger pet owners living in apartments in urban and suburban areas, multi-family property developers should emphasize pet-friendly amenities and highlight nearby city parks or trails for dog walking in their marketing communications. Those aged 25-34 were most likely to state their pets had influenced where they live. Many pets are left alone for a large portion of the day and owner awareness of the stress this can cause is growing. In fact, for the owners in our study already using CBD products for their pets, as well as those that would be interested in doing so, the alleviation of anxiety is their primary reason for using CBD. While Gen X-ers and Millennials (Gen Y) are as likely as each other to access information via a smartphone the older generation is more likely to favor TV commercials to learn about pet products. But to reach younger owners, social media and online videos are key. Over to you, Adrian.

Adrian Tennant:     Thanks. In our study, 45% of owners reported spending between $600 and $1,200 annually on pet food, treats, medical care, and entertainment. And with almost 20% of owners spending up to $2,400 per year, it’s clear to see why the US market is worth $75 billion in 2019. We don’t want to jinx it, but the market looks pretty recession-proof based on these data points. With the increased humanization of pets comes the opportunity for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands to provide pet-friendly versions of the products that their owners already use and enjoy themselves — everything from vitamins and nutritional supplements to Instagram-friendly costumes. Opportunities also exist for healthcare and medical device manufacturers, as activity trackers and wearables are becoming part of the day-to-day lives of a growing number of pets, making them as connected as their human owners. Smartphones support the monitoring of such devices within a tech ecosystem. Our study indicates pet owners are open to the convenience of subscription services, especially those in the 25-34 age group. Owners seek out pet food products that they perceive as having nutritional benefits — often at a price premium. Obesity is increasingly an issue for pets, and pet food formulations designed to maintain a healthy weight, as well as “all-natural” diets, hairball control, etc. reflect the breadth of consumer choice in the category. Now I’m going to hand back to you, Justin.

Justin Ramb:        Thanks, Adrian and Dana, we have just a few minutes left, so if you have any questions, please use the question box in the GoToWebinar on the side, or if you would like to email us at info@bigeyeagency.com. That would be great. We have received some questions during the webinar, so we’d like to take those right now. Beth asks, did you see any differences in the ways men and women respond to the survey? Dana, would you like to take this one?

Dana Cassell:       Sure. The short answer is that no we didn’t, we did not see a statistically significant difference in responses from men and women. While we did have a great cross-section in gender, but I want to tell you, I’m really interested in the overlap of our research in mom marketing and in pet industry marketing because we saw 95% of pet owners view their pets as a member of the family. So we are really interested in our findings about communicating with parents the way that they make purchasing decisions for their children and the parallels that might have in this industry.

Justin Ramb:        Great. Thanks, Dana. Our next question, Erik asks, could you expand on what differences you saw between generations and media channels? Adrian one for you to take.

Adrian Tennant:     Yes, thank you. So this is something we didn’t really highlight today, but generational preferences, definitely reflect differences in what drives owners to try new products. You know, the youngest cohort in our study, those between 25 and 34, surprisingly over-index for email. That was a surprise for us – as well as commercials. and social media. The next cohort, ages 35 to 44, over-index for recommendations from friends and family. That’s still the most influential group. While the oldest cohort in this study, those aged 45 to 55, significantly over-index for coupons or discounts and were the most likely to be interested in nutritional benefits.

Justin Ramb:        Great. Thank you. Adrian. Next question from Peter, is there a difference between the money amount spent on pets based on geography?

Dana Cassell:       Well, we did see that owners the South are the most generous pet owners and their average I think is about $200 a month, which you might remember is about double what the majority of the respondents in our study say. So yeah, in the South we saw a bit more generosity among owners toward their pets.

Justin Ramb:        Thanks, Dana. Ryan asks for pet owners with pet insurance, was there a variance by age of pet parents?

Adrian Tennant:     Yes, there was, and guess what everybody? It was the younger owners that were most likely to have pet insurance, which again surprised us. We thought it would be the older parents, but no. Those young ones really are most committed as pet parents in every respect. They were definitely the ones most likely to buy health insurance.

Justin Ramb:        Linda, thank you. Your question, your question is does your study address the frequency of purchases by category specifically related to the slide that included the pet products purchased frequently?

Adrian Tennant:     Yes, so I can take that one. So when we looked at the purchase of food, we did see some differences in frequency. Folks with large mammals – we’re thinking typically for this study that was horses – were the least likely to buy food on a regular basis, whereas the owners of reptiles and amphibians, were more likely to be purchasing food on a weekly basis. And we assumed that that was because that’s live food in many cases. For the vast majority of folks, it was definitely every few weeks to monthly. I hope that answers the question.

Justin Ramb:        Great. Let’s see here. Jason asked, “you reported pet insurance adoption at around 25%. That sounds very high. I’ve typically seen estimates for US pet health insurance penetration closer to 2%. What am I missing?”

Adrian Tennant:     I think that is a great question. We can only report how 784 respondents responded to the survey. I agree that seems like quite a big variance. Obviously, all of our folks were pet parents and I guess prepared to answer a survey about being pet parents and their purchase behaviors. I don’t know how to attribute that difference.

Justin Ramb:        Great. Any other questions? I will touch on this. Catherine, you asked, “will we be able to get a copy of the report after this webinar?” Absolutely. Right after this call, everybody that registered for the webinar will receive a link to download the report. It is a wonderful report – it unpacks a lot of what has been covered with a lot of insights from our team on what we discovered through the data. So, absolutely you’ll get a copy of that report. I really do hope everybody enjoyed the information we shared today. We are excited to release the report. This afternoon we’ll also be doing a podcast with the team to discuss the results in more detail. We will be sending out an email with a link to the podcast once that goes up. And if you have any questions that we didn’t get to or you think about after, or after you receive the report and would like some more information, please email us info@bigeyeagency.com and we’ll make sure we address them in a podcast or follow up with you individually. We’ll also include details of the podcast and the webinar recording – all of that will be sent to you as well. So finally, on behalf of Dana, Adrian, and myself and the entire Bigeye team, we thank you for attending today’s webinar. Have a great afternoon.

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How to Make Brand Videos That Move Audiences

If you aren’t taking advantage of the power of brand video, then you’re ceding an important edge to your competitors. Here’s what you need to get started.

Let’s say you’ve got an exciting new product and you want to introduce it to consumers in the most impactful way possible. How would you go about it? If you’re not immediately thinking “brand videos,” then we urge you to keep reading.

Why Brand Videos Have Become an Indispensable Marketing Tool

Right now, you’re reading a blog — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Blogs are a tried-and-true medium for short, informational content. Yet the blog should be merely a single arrow in your quiver. Audiences don’t always have the time or inclination to read, yet they can almost always find time to watch a short video — provided it reaches out and wrests their attention away from the other dozen things competing for it.

That’s one reason you’ve likely been deluged lately with explainer videos and all other sorts of branded video content. Videos simply work. People engage with them at higher levels than seen with ads or written content.

There’s another factor motivating the brand video proliferation: The learning curve and production costs associated with professional video creation have declined radically in recent years. This means that brands have no reason to avoid joining the revolution.

So How Do I Tell My Brand Story Through Video?

Here’s the good news: Connecting with audiences via video is relatively simple, provided you can follow a few smart practices. When creating brand videos, here are some key things on which to focus:

Story is paramount — and so are people. Creating brand videos simply because “everyone says people prefer video” won’t accomplish much. You still need a compelling narrative that audiences will relate to. Think about a simple yet effective way you can frame your brand story around human characters. Any newspaper editor or photographer will tell you that images of static buildings or landscapes don’t reach people or move copy. As humans, we are naturally drawn to each other, and this extends to our engagement with photos and video. Forego the facts, figures, and product features (or at least consign them to secondary status) and put people front and center in your videos. By focusing on one person, brands can make larger and more complex issues more relatable.

Our Approach

Take a deep dive into how we approach our work. Learn about our creative thinking and our strategical approach

Forge an emotional connection. Savvy brands have long known that a true emotional connection with audiences is the gold standard in advertising and marketing. Nothing converts and builds long-term loyalty like sparking a visceral, emotional reaction. Fortunately, brand videos are a fantastic format for forging these kinds of connections. By using images, dialogue and music to full effect, a great brand video can tell an emotionally resonant story in as little as 30 seconds.

Reach for the original. Remember how we mentioned that proliferation of video? That’s why it’s essential that you take creative risks and push for something original. Audiences today are extremely savvy and cynical about brand messaging. Yet you can penetrate their defenses by delivering something that delights or inspires. Here’s one great example. It’s important, however, to understand your limitations — nobody is looking for an avant-garde HVAC brand video.

Maintain your messaging. Your brand videos are ultimately an extension of your overall brand messaging. They should speak with your voice, project your values, and be calibrated to appeal to your specific audience. While it’s important for your content to reach for creativity and originality, this must still occur within the larger context of your brand messaging.

Don’t skimp on video production. This one is easy — there’s no excuse for a cheesy (unintentionally, at least) or cheap-looking brand video. The cost and skill needed to produce respectable content has plummeted.

The Benefits of Working With the Right Brand Story Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts at both brand story and video production, and we can help you take your brand videos to the next creative level. Contact us today for more information. 

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Frequently Asked Questions on Brand Messaging

Brand messaging is critical to the health of your business. Here’s a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about the subject.

Every business owner wants to build deep, long-lasting relationships with customers. Brand messaging is the mechanism by which this is accomplished. Every communication an enterprise engages in should be done with proper brand messaging in mind.

When done right, it inspires, informs, persuades and catalyzes audiences. When done poorly, it can do serious reputational harm.

Now that we’ve understood the stakes involved, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions business owners have about brand messaging.

Brand Messaging FAQ

1. I’m a brand messaging neophyte — can you explain what it means in two sentences?

Sure. Brand messaging is the language, voice, tone, and ideas that a business uses to convey its core value proposition and company values.

2. Can you give me an example?

Absolutely. The classic Nike slogan “Just Do It” is a famous example of potent brand messaging. It distills the company’s ethos into three unforgettable words.

3. What are the qualities that make brand messaging effective?

The same qualities that make interpersonal communication effective, for the most part. Great brand messaging resonates with audiences and builds a connection. It inspires, catalyzes audiences into action and engenders a sense of personal identification with the brand. It’s how lifestyle brands are created and lifelong customers are made.

4. What happens when brand messaging goes wide of the mark?

If you’re lucky, audiences simply won’t respond to it. In situations where brands badly misjudge their voice or misunderstand their audience, poor brand messaging can alienate people, anger them, and turn them into another brand’s loyal customers.

5. So how does one create effective brand messaging?

Here’s where things get a bit more challenging. First, brands need to identify and segment their audience. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re just throwing darts in the dark. Do research, identify your audience, and query them. What motivates them? What matters to them? How do they engage with brands?  By understanding the answers to these questions, brands can then draw a line between their customers’ motivations and their own products and services, their values, and their unique value proposition. 

6. What else is important?

One word: Differentiation. When you’re developing a brand messaging strategy, it’s natural to review what your competitors are doing. After all, you’re targeting the same audience, so there should be some overlap between your messaging strategy. That said, it’s critical to differentiate your product or service. Sometimes you can accomplish this through features or innovations, but in many industries, it’s the branding itself that is the primary differentiator. So while you want your messaging to be informed by what your competitors are doing, you don’t want to follow what they are doing. Develop your own unique, differentiated voice and message.

7. Any other tips?

Yes. Consumers are inundated by advertising and marketing messages, so it’s important to develop language and themes that stand out. Seek to be compelling and memorable, rather than aiming for a bland, middle of the road voice designed to appeal to the broadest possible demographic. It’s also critically important to be clear and concise — audiences will disengage immediately if you’re sending confusing messages. Place the audience at the center of the story and explain to them exactly what your brand can do for them. Make sure that your messaging comes through in every bit of content or communication you author, and always ensure your brand speaks in a unified and consistent voice.

Finding the Right Brand Messaging Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts when it comes to resonant brand messaging. Whether you’re looking for an innovative approach to brand video or new, tech-forward ways to reach your desired audiences, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about what a sophisticated brand messaging strategy can do for your firm.

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The Numbers Every Pet Marketer Must Know

Pet food marketing requires more than creativity – you need hard data to inform an audience analysis. Here’s what the stats say about pet marketing in 2019.

If you want to sell pet products, you need to know your audience on a fundamental level. That requires hard data — the raw material that facilitates proper audience segmentation. Without it, your pet food marketing campaigns will be scattershot, poorly targeted and irrelevant to most of the people you reach.

Fortunately, we’ve collected the data and consumer insights you need to connect with the right pet-owning audience.

The pet-owning audience, by the numbers

Audience research can provide us with critical insight. It tells us who pet owners are, how they spend their money and the hobbies, interests and priorities that drive them. Armed with this data, it becomes possible to create finely targeted pet food marketing campaigns that resonate with buyers and spur them into action.

This market data can be broken down into three primary categories: Commercial data, demographic data and personal interest data.

Let’s take a closer look at all three, beginning with commercial data.

What commercial pet owner data tells us

Examining how pet owners spend their money gives us clear insight into buyer motivation. Unlike with consumers surveys or interviews, there is little open to interpretation here. These are quantifiable numbers, which makes them highly reliable.

Consider the following:

84.6% of pet owners in the U.S. are searching for products or services they want to buy.

93.1% of pet owners in the U.S. are visiting online retail sites such as Amazon.

60.1% of pet owners in the U.S. are the main shoppers in their households.

81.9% of pet owners in the U.S. are always looking for the best deals for products they want to buy.

Additionally, free delivery, coupons, and discounts increase the likelihood of U.S. pet owners buying a product online; followed next by reviews from other consumers.

Pet owners in the U.S. typically discover new brands and products through TV ads and word-of-mouth recommendations. Search engine recommendations and online ads are next in order of importance.

What demographic pet owner data tells us

Demographic information also plays a critical role in audience analysis by illuminating who owns pets, the kinds of pets they own and their financial attributes.

For example:

U.S. pet owners are 51.2% female; 48.8% male.

49% of U.S. pet owners are married; the slight majority are childless.

Household incomes of pet owners are in the mid-50th percentile.

Dogs are the most common pet (71.8%), followed by cats (49.6%).

What personal hobby and interest pet owner data tells us

By evaluating how pet owners spend their time and gauging their hobbies and interests, it’s possible to create tailored pet food marketing messages designed to resonate with audiences. Package design, product naming and other creative processes are more informed by analyzing this kind of data.

Hobby and interest data shows us the following about today’s pet owners:55.4% of pet owners are interested in wildlife/nature; camping and hiking are their next greatest interests (47%) followed by technology (46.6%).

FOX, CNN, ESPN, Food Network, History Channel and HGTV are the most-watched networks by pet owners.

U.S. pet owners report being fans of the NFL (55.5%), baseball (42.9%), basketball (40.1%), soccer (38.5%) and hockey (25.6%).

Pet owners in the U.S. are most likely to participate in the following sports and activities: swimming, exercise classes such as yoga and spinning, basketball, soccer, and golf.

U.S. pet owners enjoy cooking, food & drinks, traveling, DIY and home improvement and gardening more than the average person (and, of course, pets and pet care).

Choosing the right pet food marketing firm

A great marketing agency uses all tools at its disposal: Hard research data, engaging creative work, deeply informed audience analysis and sophisticated technology. At BIGEYE, we have the tool suite to help you create the kind of compelling pet food marketing campaign that truly moves the needle.

Contact us today to learn more about pet food package design, logo design, SEO, TV production, and other services.

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What Do Pet Parents Really Want?

The “pet owner” is fast being replaced by the “pet parent”. Let’s discover how smart pet product marketing can reach this key demographic. 

Pet parent vs. pet owner — it’s a distinction that has launched a million angry polemics in online comment sections. Yet lost in these arguments as to who truly deserves to be called a parent is a key truth: Whether you call it ownership, guardianship or parenthood, the nature of keeping a pet has fundamentally changed. Now it’s up to pet product marketers to define what modern pet parents are really looking for.

When developing elements such as pet product package design or brand identity, it’s critically important to consider the evolution that has occurred in the relationship between consumers and their pets.

Tracing the evolution of the pet parent relationship

A generation or two ago, keeping a pet in the house was a much different experience. A family dog, for example, was often purchased as a gift for kids. That dog would then be given a generic name (Fido, Rover, Lassie, Butch), eat bland, low cost dog food and spend its long, dull and undifferentiated days keeping a lonely vigil for its owners to come home. 

In other words, the average dog had a pretty rough existence.

Contrast that with today: Dogs are often proxy kids or training babies. Pet parents use pet naming apps and websites to discover the perfect, human-sounding name — one trendy and original enough to stand out at the dog park. They throw lavish birthday parties for pets. They spend $100 on a single bag of high-end, grain-free dog food — even though no one is sure whether grains are even something dogs should avoid.

Instead of being kenneled for hours, or waiting all day for family members to come home, dog-walking and pet sitting services abound. Pet enrichment activities are everywhere.

So no matter the preferred nomenclature, one thing is obvious: The status of pets has become elevated. It’s also likely that this will continue, as Gen Z are even more pet-crazed than millennials, the generation that made pet parenthood go mainstream. 

What does this mean for pet product marketing?

We’ve established that the human/pet relationship has been transformed. So what does that mean for brands engaged in pet product marketing? Consider the following:

  • Millenials and Gen Z are fully invested in the pet parenting concept. Both are less likely to trust mass-marketed pet products sold by major brands. 
  • However, there is an important distinction between these groups: Gen Z places far less faith in products tagged natural or organic, believing that these terms have largely become meaningless.
  • Younger pet parents are, however, deeply attracted to highly original brands and stories and products that are perceived to be regional or boutique in nature. This should be a key consideration when working with package design, product naming, etc.
  • Younger buyers are also much more likely to share photos and videos of their pets socially. Brands that place emphasis on engaging via this channel have the opportunity to cultivate loyal lifetime customers. 
  • Smart pet product marketing is also informed by the advertising and marketing images used in child/baby marketing campaigns. Pet parents feel many of the same emotional triggers as parents of infants and toddlers. If they think one product offers a better experience or has a health or wellness benefit, pet parents will feel that a higher markup is justified. Unlike in years past, they are more receptive to higher end offerings, and much less likely to justify buying lower-quality merchandise because “it’s just a dog or cat.”

Finding the right pet product marketing agency

Understanding how people feel about pets on a deep level is a pre-requisite for effective pet product marketing. At BIGEYE, we’re not only pet lovers, we’re also experts in creating the kind of powerful marketing messages that resonate with today’s pet parents.

Contact us today for help with TV production, SEO services or any other part of or full service marketing stack.

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Pet Food Marketing: Why Millennials Shouldn’t Be The Sole Focus

Millennials are a natural audience for pet food marketing — but they shouldn’t be your sole focus. Let’s find out why casting a wider net is the smarter play.

We get it — millennials are the cat’s pajamas. They represent a huge generation with a lot of buying power. Thousands of bloggers have written millions of think pieces examining why millennials are such a critical audience. And — even better — they’re huge pet lovers. So why are we going to tell you to cast your gaze elsewhere when creating your next pet food marketing campaign?

Let’s find out.

Why millennials should not be your sole marketing focus

Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. They own pets at a higher rate than Baby Boomers. Millennials treat their pets as proxy children, showering them with attention and expensive products.

A pet food marketing practitioner’s dream, right?

Sure — but that dream can quickly turn nightmarish if you develop tunnel vision. Millennials may check all the boxes in terms of a pet marketing audience, but let’s consider a few other facts:

  • 65% of pet owners in the U.S. are not millennials.
  • The average millennial has a net worth of just $8,000.
  • The median net worth for Baby Boomers is $360,000.
  • Gen X has a median annual income that’s 250% higher than millennials.
  • Baby Boomers spend $548 billion on products annually, $200 million more than Gen X, the next closest cohort.
  • Baby Boomers are responsible for 70%  of all disposable income in the US.

Millennials aren’t looking quite so dreamy now, are they? They love animals — there’s no doubt about that. Yet they pale in comparison to older buyers in terms of raw spending power. Though they haven’t been the subject of countless marketing think pieces, older Americans still control consumer spending in almost every category, including pets.

That’s the financial case for diversifying your marketing approach.

Yet there’s also a cultural case — and it runs in the opposite direction.

Don’t overlook Gen Z…and tailor your messages to the appropriate market

The same financial arguments that apply to Millennials apply doubly to Gen Z, whose vanguard are just now reaching their early 20s. Yet brands would be foolish to overlook them: They are another massive cohort with equally massive devotion to their pets. Gen Z pet ownership numbers are expected to eventually exceed those of millennials, who are already the top generation in terms of ownership percentage.

Fortunately, there is lots of overlap between the two groups in terms of how they view pets. Both humanize their animals and both are willing to pay more to furnish them with the best products and experiences.

However, there are some differences as well. Gen Z members are more skeptical in terms of branding messages and less likely to believe claims that products are special because they are organic or all natural. They tend to dislike overly curated branding and favor a more direct and unmediated approach, and this particularly applies to brand identity.

Brands engaged in pet food marketing should also consider the desires and priorities of older buyers. Baby Boomers preceded the pet humanization trend; as such, they are more likely to have conventional notions about pet food and pet care.

Older buyers are also receptive to marketing messages that emphasize how pet products will help make their own lives easier. The demands of keeping a pet are often much harder on older consumers, so it’s important that brands consider that angle of the pet ownership experience when marketing products.

Finding the right pet marketing agency

A smart, forward-thinking marketing agency understands the value of audience analysis. If you’re pitching to one segment to the exclusion of another, you’re hurting your bottom line.

At BIGEYE, we can help you create a comprehensive pet food marketing campaign that speaks to all audiences.  

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