The Latest and Greatest from the Global Pet Expo

The 2019 Global Pet Expo shined a light on some of the most interesting trends in pet ownership and pet care marketing. Here’s what we learned.

If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the world of pets, the Global Pet Expo is a required stop. Much as the famed CES shines a spotlight on the latest consumer electronics offerings, this expo offers a window into the newest trends and products within the pet industry. If you’re in the pet business — or the pet care marketing business — it’s a vitally important date on the calendar.

So what did we learn from this year’s “petpreneur” extravaganza? Let’s take a look at the latest products and trends about to capture the imagination of pet lovers everywhere.

What pet owners will be buying this year and beyond

The Global Pet Expo offers an early look at innovative new pet industry products, and this year was no exception. The multi-day expo featured hundreds of new products designed to address lingering problems within the pet care market.

Those products included:

  • Leashes that attach to bicycles, allowing dog owners to “walk” their pets while cycling.
  • Portable water bottles custom designed for a dog’s mouth that offer easy drinking during walks and hikes.
  • Licking pads. These pads can be smeared with peanut butter or any other sticky substance and then used to divert a pet while nails are being trimmed or paws cleaned — a boon for anyone who has ever struggled with a pet who hates nail trimming.
  • Recyclable and compostable bags for cleaning up doggy messes.
  • Crash tested car carriers and harnesses (these operate much like a child safety seat).
  • Tick removal devices that function much more effectively than simple tweezers.
  • Catnip-infused crayons.
  • Neon colored kitty litter.
  • Backpacks designed for portable cat carrying.

Product displays are always a good barometer of what’s happening in the pet sector, both in terms of consumer offerings and overall trends.

Let’s take a closer look at the pet industry developments shaping 2019 and beyond.

What pet owners will see more of in the coming years

If you want to predict the future of pet care, simply counting booth types inside the Global Pet Expo offers a rough — but fairly accurate — yardstick. As you might expect, at this year’s event pet-focused CBD offerings were thick on the ground, as were boutique/specialty food and treat purveyors.

Additionally, the American Pet Products Association (the sponsor organization of the Global Pet Expo) compiled new research examining emerging trends within the pet industry. Among the most prominent trends cited are:

  • Direct to consumer subscription boxes for pet owners.
  • Pet food composed of human-grade ingredients.
  • Ethically sourced and non-GMO pet food.
  • More pets being kept in the classroom. This trend, which allows teachers to keep small pets for students, is being supported by grant money and charitable donations.
  • Continued expansion of the backyard chicken movement. This practice is more widespread than many realize. According to U.S. Census data, 1% of homes raise backyard chickens and an additional 4% plan to begin doing so within four years.

By understanding the role new products and trends play within the industry, brands can perform more accurate audience analysis and create deeply compelling marketing messages for today’s pet owners.

Partnering with the right pet care marketing agency

If you want to get the most out of your pet care marketing, you need to stay current with evolving industry trends. You also need inspiring creative work, deep sector expertise and advanced technological tools.

At BIGEYE, we can help you connect with your ideal market. We can also help with package design, branding, TV production  and the entire full service marketing stack.

Reach out to us today to learn more about what the right pet care marketing agency can do for you. 

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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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How to Best Market Your PetTech Product

Tech is changing virtually every consumer industry, and pet products are no exception. Here’s what you need to know about tech pet product marketing.

Thanks to the power connected devices, AI, and wearable tech, we can customize and optimize our diet, our workout regimen, and even our sleep. The human quest for better living through optimization doesn’t stop at our own bodies, however: PetTech products are helping to do the same for our beloved animals. Powered by the right pet product marketing campaign that’s supported by sophisticated  audience analysis, these devices are fast becoming essential equipment for pet lovers.

Welcome to the PetTech era

All of us want to live longer and stay healthier — and wearables are playing a key part in making that happen. Wearable medical devices allow us to collect critical health data that can be used diagnostically to help guide treatment decisions and foster better lifestyle choices.

Pets, too, are benefitting from this shift. Today, a wide range of PetTech devices are available to consumers, including:

  • Smart collars and other GPS tracking devices to ensure pets aren’t lost
  • Smart pet doors with remote activation
  • Smart crates that have soothing music playlists and sensor-activated fans for climate control
  • Wearables that can sense food temperature, send out alerts for upcoming vet appointments, and even adjust indoor lighting for pet comfort
  • Wearables that help reduce anxiety or control problematic-stress induced behavior (such as chronic barking)
  • Smart balls that can be operated via remote control
  • Medical diagnosis and treatment devices that use RFID hardware chips to track medical history, past vaccinations and treatments etc.

The development of today’s PetTech devices couldn’t come at a better time. Pets in the U.S. are in the midst of an obesity epidemic. It’s estimated that 59% of cats and 54% of dogs are overweight or obese — a stunning figure that has risen sharply in recent years. Though we’ve elevated the status of pets inside our homes and have begun treating them like family, we’ve also overfed them to such a degree that 100 million U.S. pets are now overweight.

PetTech devices can play an integral role in helping manage and prevent pet obesity and other serious health issues. In order to get these devices into consumer hands, however, it’s imperative for brands to have access to compelling pet product marketing.

How to market PetTech products

The numbers don’t lie: PetTech is booming. In 2008, there was a single venture capital deal for PetTech products. In 2018, VCs invested $579 million in 33 separate PetTech deals. Consumers, meanwhile, are spending nearly $500 million annually within this product category.

So how should a brand ensure its pet product marketing is on point? By considering the following:

  • Cover the marketing basics: Complete an audience analysis; exhibit at industry specific shows; focus on industry specific media; build a social strategy and brand identity, etc. 
  • Understand that today’s “pet parents” are seeking PetTech devices largely for one reason: They are deeply motivated to improve every aspect of their animal’s life. They view their pet as a family member and exhibit the same sense of responsibility toward their pet. Marketing messages should focus on how the product harnesses technology to make specific, measurable improvements in an animal’s life.
  • Today, pet parents have a deeper emotional bond with their animals and respond to emotionally rich marketing. While technology itself may not be perceived as “soft and cuddly” or emotionally resonant, there’s no reason why marketing messages have to leave audiences cold. 
  • The humanization of pets has been great for animals — yet it has also placed expanded responsibilities on pet parents. Keeping a pet today requires much more work and attention. How does your PetTech product help ease this burden? Pet product marketing should consider both the emotional and practical elements of keeping a pet.

Connecting with the right pet product marketing agency

If you’re seeking great package design or branding to elevate your PetTech offering, BIGEYE is the right partner for you. Reach out to us today to learn more about what a creatively inspired marketing campaign can do for you.

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Why the Market for Pet CBD Supplements and Treats is Booming

CBD has gone from fringe to mainstream in record time — and treating pets with CBD is the latest trend. So what does this mean for pet care marketing?

Step into any CVS or local convenience store and you’re likely to be surrounded by CBD-infused products. In a very short period of time, CBD supplementation has gone from a fringe concern to a full-fledged health and wellness phenomenon. Rapid growth in CBD use isn’t strictly driven by human consumption, however; many pet owners are also dosing their animals — something with profound implications for brands engaged in pet care marketing.

Let’s take a closer look at CBD’s benefits, the reasons for its newfound prominence and the impact it’s having on the pet care industry.

CBD 101

For the uninitiated, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the hemp plant. While CBD is a chemical component of cannabis (one of hundreds), it does not have an intoxicating effect.

It does appear, however, to have health benefits. Research has shown that CBD can have a positive effect on anxiety, depression, insomnia and certain forms of pain.  CBD is commonly administered in oils and gummies and can be taken orally or through the skin.

Why is CBD exploding in popularity?

In a word: Legality. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the sale of CBD products across the U.S., allowing them to be widely sold in retail and online settings. Prior to this, CBD products existed in a legal and regulatory gray market.

This gray market status acted as a brake on CBD growth. While there are local jurisdictions that still have regulations governing CBD, production and sale of the compound is fully legal under federal jurisdiction. This has given CBD brands and large retailers the confidence to market these products vigorously — and they’ve found a highly receptive market. Many people are seeking natural, non-pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety, insomnia and other issues, both for themselves and for their pets.

Why has CBD captured the fancy of pet owners?

CBD-infused pet supplements and treats represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the pet care market. CBD pet products are projected to have a compound annual growth rate of 57% over the next five years. 

The reason for this is simple: Anxiety, pain and inflammation are all widespread, chronic conditions for household pets. Roughly 20% to 40% of dogs presented to veterinary behavioral specialists are diagnosed with anxiety. Meanwhile, virtually all pets struggle with inflammation and pain during their final stage of life.

Many pet owners are seeking an alternative to vet-prescribed pharmaceuticals. Additionally, vet care isn’t always accessible to pet owners. CBD pet products are filling this niche — and experiencing extraordinary growth in the process.

What does this mean for pet care marketing?

Grain-free dog food and CBD pet supplements and treats are the two trends responsible driving much of the new growth within the pet care sector. As such, both have the attention of pet care brands and pet care marketing agencies.

Marketers would do well to consider the common thread between grain-free dog food and CBD treats: Both product categories offer something new and ostensibly better for pets. Today’s pet owners consider themselves to be more like “pet parents,” and they are willing to do whatever they can to give their furry children the best experiences and products possible.

This attitude should be top of mind not only when marketers are creating ad messages, but also when engaged in package design, identity and other branding elements.

Finding the right pet care marketing agency

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks — so why bother waiting for your existing marketing agency to modernize its approach to pet marketing? At BIGEYE, we’re pet marketing experts. Whether you need brand naming services, SEO expertise or any one of our full suite of marketing services, we’ll help you create the kind of work that makes audiences sit up and beg for more information.

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Use These Tactics to Advertise Like Chewy.com

DTC brands are known for their clever, original, and on-trend ads. Read what we can learn from the pet product marketing tactics Chewy.com uses to connect with audiences.

In a few short years, DTC (or D2C) brands have gone from a novelty to an essential part of the lives of most consumers. They’ve also inspired corporate heavyweights to follow their lead. Nike plans to reach $20 billion in direct to consumer sales by 2020 — a 300% increase from five years earlier.

Many of the newer DTC brands who have become household names have used highly memorable and creative direct to consumer marketing approaches to gain traction. One such example is Chewy.com, a DTC pet brand. Let’s take a closer look at how Chewy.com advertises, and what we can learn from their pet product marketing approach.

Using a savvy DTC ad strategy to build market share

This Chewy.com ad cleverly targets the new parent demographic. One of the primary benefits of Chewy’s direct to consumer marketing model is convenience — it delivers toys, chews, food, and treats directly to a consumer’s home, in a box.

For new parents, saving a trip to the local brick and mortar pet store is a significant draw. Chewy’s ad shows how its service can ease the burden of new parenthood, often one of life’s most overwhelming experiences.

Chewy’s ad is smart for another reason: It targets a large and growing demographic. Pets are often regarded as “training babies” by millennials, who are delaying the rituals and milestones of adulthood longer than earlier generations. Because younger people humanize their pets and treat them as family members, they are more willing to pay for premium products and services. Focusing on the “new parents with a dog” market is a smart move for Chewy.com, given their passion and willingness to spend.

Chewy’s ads also make an economic case familiar to DTC or D2C brands. This ad stresses that all the products offered by Chewy are not only cheaper than those found in a brick and mortar retailer, they also come with free shipping.

It’s a powerful ad because today’s “pet parents” want to do more for their animals, but they may be constrained by lack of income (a particular problem for younger pet parents). Chewy’s ad maintains that it’s possible to buy the best for your animal by opting for their low overhead DTC model.

Chewy.com also released ads focusing on the ease of the delivery and exciting experience of “unboxing” a collection of dog food, treats and toys; an ad showing how Chewy.com customer service reps can assist with helping find food for dogs and cats who are “picky eaters”; and ads that feature specific owners and their dogs, all enjoying Chewy.com boxes.  

All of the ads are upbeat, brief and colorful and feature lots of testimonials and images of happy pets. Additionally, all of the company’s pet product marketing messages highlight at least one aspect of Chewy.com DTC value proposition: Cheaper products, easy delivery, the boxing experience, etc.

Experience-based advertising and marketing, Chewy-style

Chewy.com has also “clawed its way into the public consciousness” by creating memorable experiences for its customers (and their pets) to share.

Chewy operates on the premise that consumers only share two types of experiences online: Great ones and terrible ones. So Chewy, obviously, strives to generate the former.

The company has drawn notice for sending flowers and condolences to a customer who called to cancel an order after a pet’s unexpected death. The customer was stunned and appreciative and later shared the story on social media.

Chewy is also known for sending handwritten notes addressed directly to its customers’ pets — a whimsical touch that plays extremely well in an era when most of us humanize our animals.

The takeaway

DTC brands seeking to build awareness, attract new audiences, and engage with their existing customers would do well to consider Chewy’s direct to consumer marketing, DTC advertising, and customer service model.

Chewy’s ads are not high concept; instead, they hammer home the core value proposition of the company’s DTC model and show plenty of happy and excited pets.

At BIGEYE, we have the experience and expertise to create top drawer DTC ad campaigns such as those created by Chewy.com. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you reach your goals.

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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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