How to Turn Pets Into An Irresistibly Lovable Marketing Department
Even better, using pet power the right way boosts sales in spite of market dominance by big retailers.
Of course, the basic premise behind ‘pet marketing’ rests on pet owners first becoming customers, then letting their furry friends do the persuasive heavy lifting for driving more sales.
In a moment I’ll explain the human psychology behind how this persuasion strategy works and how to make it work for you.
CREATING A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE
My first forehead-slapping moment happened when I realized how the marketing power of pets worked on me.
Hey, even a hard-headed research scientist like me has marketing hot buttons.
The experience started when I was searching Google for a solution to a digestive problem my little 11-year-old terrier mix, Dixie, was having.
The pages attracting my attention the most were those where other pet owners were commenting.
I was grateful to find good, heartfelt advice from others who love their furry friends as much as I love mine.
I paid particular heed to products my fellow pet owners were recommending. They influenced me to upgrade Dixie’s food brand and to buy specific supplements.
Now I’m a loyal customer for products that I hadn’t purchased before.
That story, however brief, is just one particular personal experience involving pet marketing. In this case it was about pet supplies.
It made me wonder about how this strategy might work for other kinds of products.
My thoughts led me to realize how a different best organic hemp oil for dogsLinks to an external site. personal experience with pet marketing worked on me. This time it had nothing to do with pet supplies.
My family loves to travel. We enjoy taking Dixie and her younger “sister,” 3-year-old Ellie, with us.
Finding good hotels allowing pets, without charging extra for them, can be a bit of a challenge.
That’s how we met Mac. He’s a “spokespet” for a national hotel chain.
He’s cute. He’s persuasive.
Mac is all over the hotel’s website. He talks about how he loves staying there. And how the folks at the front desk tell him he’s a good boy. He welcomes pet owners to come on in with their little buddies and stay a while.
That’s all it took to convince my family to always plan trips around where Mac’s hotels are. That’s the only place we stay when Dixie and Ellie are traveling with us.
So far I’ve described how we became loyal customers for two entirely different kinds of businesses, both driven by pet marketing.
I’m sure I wouldn’t have to dig too deep to realize how other businesses have used this approach to influence me.
I respond to it because I love my pets.
The pull of this strategy goes right to the heart – mine.
Now, as a marketer myself, I realize how ‘pet marketing’ persuaded me. And how it can persuade others.
It raises the question of what other businesses are harnessing the power of pets in their marketing plans.
What I discovered is the psychology behind why this strategy works.
More importantly, I also discovered how any business can implement it for optimum results.
THE UNDERLYING PERSUASION PRINCIPLE
The foundation for pet marketing involves a powerful persuasion principle called social proof.
Social proof is well-known in marketing. Its value is so great that my old colleague, Dr. Robert Cialdini, talked about it in his book, “Influence: Psychology of Persuasion.”
It’s one of his six keys to persuasion.
Pet marketing in particular lends itself to this principle. It’s like a social proof accelerator.
For me, endorsements by other pet owners were a bigger influence than standard testimonials. I paid more attention to other pet owners because their commentary was voluntary and authentic. It appeared on forums, blogs, and social media without apparent solicitation by any business.
[If you’re thinking about generating automatic referrals, then – BINGO!]
By the way, Mac’s hotel endorsements provide social proof in two ways. The first is subconsciously very subtle. Mac comes across as a happy customer, even though consciously we know he’s not really doing the talking.