The pet industry has had year over year growth for 13 years in a row and is expected to hit nearly $70 billion in sales at the end of 2017. There are hundreds of new pet brands entering the market every year. So to say the least, the days of creating a product and hoping it will succeed on its own merits are long gone in the face of today’s robust marketing tactics.
1. Competition Continues to Rise
According to Pet Product News, Superzoo 2017 had 1,100 exhibitors showcasing their products and 850 new product were revealed to the 10,057 pet retail, grooming and service industry professionals in attendance.
These indicators of industry success underscore the incredible amount of competition that exists in the pet product space. The influx of innovative new products, me-too products, private labels, and premium private labels all infringe on a brand’s share of consumer dollars.
2. Millennials Have Taken the Reins
35% of Gen Yers own dogs versus just 32% of Baby Boomers, according to The American Pet Products Association.
And as Millenials overtake Baby Boomers in spending power by 2018, companies need to learn how to create products for, and market to, this young generation’s specific preferences.
As Nathan Richter, Wakefield Research partner, states, “The time to begin learning, and building relationships [with Millenials], is now, not five years from now when Millennials have already developed an affinity for your competitor.”
3. Consumers Define You
Like it or not, there has been a power shift that has left some companies struggling with how to define their brand when they no longer have complete control over it.
Social media has given rise to the empowered consumer where conversations about a brand’s quality or integrity are now led by the very people who will choose whether or not to buy it.
Brands cannot avoid the impact that consumers can now have on their reputation.
Trying to sidestep, control, manage or manipulate these conversations only leads to more chatter of the less-than-stellar kind.
How to Overcome These Challenges
A clear and effective marketing strategy will:
- Guide the position of your brand among competitors: As the amount of competition rises, understanding your unique offering, how it compares, and how to position it effectively will be of utmost value.
- Force you to stop and think: It will mandate that you take the time to consider the threats and opportunities that lie ahead six months, two years, five years from now and utilize those to shape the decisions of today.
- Keep you focused in a storm of bright, shiny objects: There are so many new, fun, exciting and easy opportunities that cross your desk each week. A focused plan will help you ascertain whether an opportunity is of any benefit to you, or is just a pretty pitch.
- Align messaging and strategies with your audience: Understanding who your consumers are today and who they will be tomorrow, what their unique needs are, and how your products or services support them, will not only guide your marketing initiatives, but also your product and business development decisions.
- Define how and where you engage with your audiences: By understanding the marketing platforms where you should be present, the rules by which you should interact, and the goals of these interactions, you can have transparent, authentic, and meaningful dialogue with your consumers.
To achieve success in today’s marketing world, companies need to understand the threats they face, define their place in the market, develop their own unique and authentic story to connect with consumers and create targeted strategies.
A well-developed marketing strategy will allow you to compete in the complex, ever-changing pet products industry this year and beyond.
If you’re ready to take action but aren’t sure where to begin, download our Pet Product Marketing Guide. It includes 11 questions and actionable steps to help you take the first step toward a stronger plan of action.