The days of creating a product and hoping it will succeed on its own merits are long gone in the face of today’s marketing challenges.
COMPETITION CONTINUES TO RISE
According to Pet Product News, Superzoo expanded exhibitor space in 2015 by 13% or 250 more booths.
And the pet product industry reached an estimated $73 billion in sales in 2015, according to Packaged Facts’ latest report, “U.S. Pet Market Outlook, 2014-2015.”
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.
MILLENIALS ARE TAKING THE REINS
Forty-four percent of Gen Yers own dogs versus just 38% of Baby Boomers, according to Experian Marketing Services’ Simmons National Consumer Survey 2014.
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, “Boomers are currently the bedrock of the pet retail industry, but the last of the Boomers turn 65 in 2029.”
“The time to begin learning, and building relationships [with Millenials], is now, not five years from now when Millenials have already developed an affinity for your competitor.”
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.
STRATEGY IS KING
Brand positioning and marketing strategy are the strongest weapons that pet product manufacturers, brands, and retailers have against the increasing threats on their market and mind shares.
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.