More than 3 out of 5 Americans owns a pet and 91% consider their pet to be a member of their family. With pets essentially being four-legged children, how do you connect with them via content marketing? We looked at the booming pet industry that keeps us coming back for more to pamper our furry friends.
According to a 2011 Harris Poll, 62% of Americans own a pet and more than 9 out of 10 consider them to be a family member. It’s safe to say, we love our doggies and kitties. In fact, a third of poll respondents said they frequently purchase holiday gifts for their pets.
Pet owners by default are great consumers. Pet food, beds, crates, collars, treats, toys, medications—besides clothing (and some get that too), a typical pet requires all or more of the things people do. But pets don’t shop. Thankfully, their owners do and pet content marketing is a purrfect (sorry we couldn’t resist) way to connect with them.
Last year, American consumers spent $55.72 billion dollars on pet products and are expected to spend $58.51 this year. But enough with making a case for why content marketing for pet owners makes sense. Let’s look at the how.
One of the big things we do as content marketers is create empathy between customer and brand. We give brands identities that elicit a positive emotional or psychological response from customers. And one of the main reasons people love their pets is that pet owners empathize with their pets and feel that empathy returned from the brand.
An obvious avenue exists here for the content marketer to make a connection: harness the power of consumers’ emotional attachment to their animals.
Informative Content Connects
If you own a pet, you probably (and should) want to take care of it. That means heartworm pills, flea prevention, checkups and vaccinations along with good food and a safe living environment. But consumers can be unaware or confused by what it is they need to do for their pets.
Pet care brands exist to fill these important needs. By creating informative pet content to educate pet owners on how to properly care for their animals, it not only helps the owner better care for the pet, but also instills in them a sense that the brand itself cares for their special friend. Any number of mediums—articles, videos, pamphlets and blogs—can accomplish this.
It could be a list on how to prevent and treat fleas (hello, Trifexis). It could be a Purina-generated guide on how much to feed a dog as it grows. It could be training manual from Invisible Fence. The point is that it’s prime fodder for content marketing. And if customers happen to buy a product too, well, everyone’s the merrier.
Pet Content Can Be Viral Content
What’s the go-to joke for what people are actually doing at work instead of working? (Except here at Pace, of course.) Watching cat videos! It’s no coincidence that pet-centric pictures and videos are among the most shared pieces of content across the web. Think of all the pet celebrities the Internet has created: Grumpy Cat, Sockington and Lil’ Bub, just to name a few.
With over 15 million views, the Purina Friskies cat food commercial created by BuzzFeed had animal lovers saying “awwwww” to the wise older cat coaching his new housemate on the ways of kittenhood. Of course, a tasty Friskies meal was also part of the dialogue.
Let’s not forget our precious pups. Purina’s creative Beneful dog food commercial showed talented dogs doing tricks to fuel a machine that encouraged them to play. Beneful was also part of the process to keep the machine running.
Cats and dogs, especially puppies and kittens, are indisputably cute. They’re fuzzy. They make us laugh. You can even put clothes on them! And we love them for it. We also love sharing their adorability. In fact, researches at Caltech discovered that certain responders in our brains react when a person sees an animal, but not when they see another person, place or object. Not to get into too much science here, but our brains are essentially hardwired to respond to the animals as cute or creepy. And in the case of cute, it elicits a positive emotion.
Starting a viral pet content marketing campaign could be as easy as finding the right puppy to wear a top hat and sunglasses for your next video. (Note: I’m putting a top hat and sunglasses on my pooch tonight as a test.)
What’s Your Favorite?
Just like we all have our favorite animals, we have our favorite pet content, too. What’s the best pet content marketing campaign you’re come across? Share your favorite example in the comments!
By Zack Hill