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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What Drones Can Teach Marketers About Knowing Their Audience

Horse races are in the past and drone races are taking over the tech and the advertising world – you’re gonna need an audience segmentation consultant.

Any great audience segmentation consultant will tell you it’s essential to know your market. Yet the real challenge often comes next: How do you make your brand stand out to your audience in a cluttered advertising landscape?
Given how fractured the industry has become with the emergence of social media and other digital mediums, combining those two objectives is a core challenge — one that often marks the difference between success and failure.

If you want to see a current example of brands negotiating this challenge in a lightning-fast, obstacle-filled environment, look no further than professional drone racing.

Connecting to audiences via unmanned aerial exhibitions

The Drone Racing League (DRL) is a professional league for people who race their drones on real tracks at speeds in excess of 80 miles-per-hour. The league also offers one intriguing example of brands using highly-targeted marketing in a new and unusual setting to reach their desired audience.

Why is a relatively niche organization such as the DRL notable in this context? For brands, it’s all about positioning and connection. Telecom giant Cox Communications recently partnered with the DRL to create a Cox marketing campaign that was entirely conceived and executed by the league’s internal media and marketing teams.

The goal was simple: Position Cox not as a stodgy legacy cable company, but rather an innovation-focused firm dedicated to building the infrastructure of the future for its audience. Partnering with a cutting-edge sport rooted in innovative technology positioned Cox in a way that a similar partnership with a Madison Avenue ad agency could not.

As part of the campaign, Cox sponsored one of the DRL’s top pilots — Nick “Wild Willy” Willard — and created a clever ad focusing on the drone racing star. In the ad, Willard pilots his Cox WiFi-powered drone through his mother’s house, without breaking anything valuable. This ad was used in a multi-channel campaign designed to boost awareness for Cox and the DRL.

Advertising at high speed for a skeptical audience

As you might imagine, advertising on a drone track comes with some specific challenges. Fans of drone racing tend to skew younger and are highly tech savvy. Unlike NASCAR fans (who don’t mind being barraged with ads), drone racing fans largely recoil at overt marketing. Which is why an audience segmentation consultant is necessary.

DRL CEO Nicholas Horbaczewski told Adweek that if he installs a conventional billboard at a drone race, fans would “throw up all over it.”  He added that drone racing fans find such advertising displays “offensive” and don’t wish to communicate with brands in this format.

To address this preference, the DRL integrates advertising within the course in the form of physical obstacles named for advertisers. Drone pilots must navigate course obstacles such as the “Swatch Gate.” in order to successfully complete the race.

An even more ambitious brand integration will occur later in 2019, when the DRL will partner with Lockheed Martin to stage races pitting human drone pilots against drones flown by AI. More than 250 research universities have applied to enter the contest, which will offer more than $2 million in prizes.

Looking for a marketing and advertising co-pilot?

Once you understand who your audience is — likes, dislikes, interests, habits etc. — then you can devise new and creative ways to reach them. Our team is dedicated to the proposition that it’s not just where you are, it’s who you’re reaching.

If you’d like to hear more about what a high-level audience segmentation consultant can do for your brand, don’t wait to contact us today.

How Pier 1 Increased Consumer Response Through Data Strategy

It’s time for a more data-driven approach, so let display advertising services take the wheel of your marketing strategy.

Here’s an astonishing statistic: CMOs spend 20% of their budgets on creative, yet 71% of them don’t believe creative actually drives results. It’s a statistic that points to a much larger crisis of confidence within the marketing realm.
So how are brands that are unwilling to accept this state of affairs responding? By taking a more numbers-based, scientific approach to marketing through display advertising services.

How Pier 1 automated its marketing messaging

The creative process in marketing is largely unchanged from its early history. People use a mélange of assumptions, guesswork and qualitative data to inform their creative approach. It’s art and science – a mix of intuition and information. Sometimes this approach works, but more often it results in work that’s too broad or somewhat misaligned with the audience.

In recent years, however, new data tools have been developed that allow for the creative process to be guided by fact rather than supposition. Today’s machines can analyze robust data sets with extreme precision, uncovering actionable insights and learning as they go.

Pier 1 offers an interesting example of this trend toward data-driven marketing. The company partnered with Persado to optimize the language used across customer marketing content. The technology involved in the campaign has the ability to alter the language seen in display ads in accordance with an individual consumer’s preferences.

Using the Persado platform & display advertising services, Pier 1 was able to compare customer engagement and response levels for various sponsored ads, each with different photos, captions, hashtags and headlines. The impact of each ad and its constituent elements is measured in real time to see how well or how poorly they resonate with customers.

In essence, the technology is a sophisticated form of A/B testing that includes a machine-learning component that composes new marketing messages guided by real-time feedback. All of it is based on linguistic science. The underlying technology analyzes millions of language variations to create an optimal message. The natural language processing algorithm used by Persado is designed to understand a brand’s specific voice and replicate it across all channels.

Why a data-guided approach is smarter

Consumers are bombarded with marketing messages. If they deign to give you their attention, you can be certain that concession will be almost instantly revoked if the message they are experiencing isn’t immediately compelling. Because of this, presentation is critical.

Data-focused tools such as the algorithm deployed by Persado & proper display advertising services can play a critical role in helping brands quantify audience response to messages. These tools play an equally important role in helping brands optimize their messages by incorporating this feedback and making informed adjustments in real time.

That doesn’t mean that marketing is now purely a science. As far as machine learning has come, it remains limited in many key respects. The optimal approach for most brands involves working with an agency that integrates data-based tools and human insight into one holistic marketing framework.

Partnering with the right consumer insight agency

Our display advertising team believes a data-forward marketing agency is your best bet for understanding and connecting with the right audiences. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn how we create modern campaigns that are rooted in human insight and executed with advanced digital tools.

How to Effectively Optimize Your Credit Union Marketing

Similar to that of banks and financing in general, the key to credit union marketing is to always be human and treat your consumers the same.

Anyone looking to craft an effective credit union marketing plan first needs to understand the institutions themselves. So, let’s go over what sets credit unions apart from banks. Every person with an account at a credit union is, in part, an owner. This helps to ensure that each decision and investment is made in the best interest of the customers and not some third-party stakeholder.
Leveraging the internal strengths of a credit union, your branding can empower consumers and employees alike. Ultimately turning them into brand advocates. Let’s take a look at some of the unique aspects that effective credit union marketing should emphasize.

1. People-focused

Credit unions are inherently user-focused, as explained. This creates a huge opportunity for creating strong consumer relationships. Humanize your credit union from the inside out by bringing current users together. Plan appreciation events or giveaways to give consumers something to bond over and tell others about. Credit union marketing is about making every participant happy. Loyalty comes from the little things.

2. Lead the charge

Everyone likes to be a part of something. As a credit union, you’re already part of a team, but you need to become the leader. Start the conversation on financing and credit score tips, saving money, or something newsworthy to inform and help out your target market as well as existing customers.

Get active in the shared community, current events, and social movements to get connected to your audience in the genuine, personal way that only credit unions can.

3. Show reinvestment

Credit unions are by the people, for the people. One person’s deposit becomes the next person’s loan, make that known. Your credit union marketing agency should make every part-owner understand the part they play in helping each other. This will build loyalty and a feeling of being part of something bigger. This mentality is a huge draw for Millennial, Gen Z, and Gen X audiences. It can also turn current members into strong brand advocates.

With the more friendly and casual nature of a credit union, you already have a great foundation for building strong consumer relationships. The lack of stakeholders provides a unique opportunity for personalized interaction as well as incredibly low rates. Effective marketing for credit unions build your brand with a relatable personality.

4. Stand for something

Unlike big banks, credit unions are just as the name suggests—a union. This allows you to take a stand, putting your voice proudly behind a local cause. Get the community activated around a mutual concern to show that you’re more than just talk.

Every member is an owner, show them what that sort of power can look like, and the difference each person can make. Effective credit union marketing should address an issue that matters to your target market. This helps to humanize your brand and strengthen the team that makes up your business.

5. Get grass-roots

Capitalize on the audience you have to get your brand making headlines. Big community events and pay-it-forward initiatives engage your audience in fun, effective ways that make a big splash. More than brand recognition and awareness, done right, these events make your target market wish they could be a part of your brand so that they could participate too. Getting the community energized, showcasing your brand, and driving headlines focused on initiatives can make a huge difference.

6. Give them what they want

Convenience. While credit unions aren’t run like banks, baking technology can be incredibly effective. Let your consumers manage their accounts on mobile and offer free downloadable tools such as tip calculators, budgeting apps, and loan calculators to make each member feel taken care of. While credit union management is made up of customers, every part-owner should still feel like a customer.

The takeaway

When it comes to credit union marketing, it’s all about being human inside and out. Focus on showing off internal strengths through people-focused communications, establishing your brand as a community leader, and being transparent with the credit union business model.

Then take full advantage of external opportunities by taking a social stand, engaging with the community on a personal level, and providing convenient banking technologies to really set your company apart. When you’re ready to step up your credit union marketing, reach out to our banking professionals.