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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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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