Marketers’ Best Friends: Our Pets

Dogs: A marketer's best friendIn August 2010, I wrote a blog post about marketing to pet lovers.

In that post I reported that the pet industry was a $35.9 billion business in 2005, up from $34.4 billion in 2004, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Fast forward to the latest statistic. The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association estimated that the spend by US pet owners was expected to reach $47.7 billion in 2010 – up from $45.5 billion in 2009. So wouldn’t you agree that marketing to pet lovers is still a good idea?

If you have a product that caters to pet lovers, consider these statistics:

  • $10,377 is the average lifetime spend on dog and cat food, per pet owner in the US (Canada is $8,038).
  • 65% of American pet-owner households own a dog compared to 54% that own a cat.
  • 22.5% of Baby Boomers own pets.
  • 62% of American households own a pet.

“It equates to the idea that my pet is giving me everything, and I want to pay them back and keep them with me,” said Leslie May, founder of Pawsible Marketing. “People think of their pets as family members; they don’t want to shirk on necessities.”

Even if your product doesn’t cater to pet owners, incorporating animals in your marketing is still a good idea. That’s why, if you look closely at many of the commercials on TV, you’ll notice how often a dog appears, even if the product is not for pets! How about writing a story about a dog, showing a dog in your brochure or ad, or starting a Facebook page?

Facebook and Man’s Best Friend

If you’re on Facebook, you may have noticed how many folks have set up Facebook accounts for their dogs. Between Feb. 28 and March 2, 2011 a survey took place via social networks exploring the relationship between Facebook, dogs and those who love them. Here are some interesting statistics that were revealed (Source: “Dog: Man’s Best Facebook Friend, Too?” via Mashable

  • 55% of those surveyed owned a dog.
  • 14% of them had Facebook accounts for their dogs.
  • 2% of those dog accounts have 25-50 Facebook friends and 20% have 50-100.
  • 35% estimated that they spend between $500 and $1000 a year on their dog (56% of that on food & treats).

“The humanization of pets (being part of the family) is popular, especially among senior citizens an Baby Boomers. those segments of the pet-owning demographic are more likely to spend on items that are “nice to have” vs. “need to have,” said Kristen Levine, President, Fetching Communications (Deliver Magazine, February 2011).

We (myself included) are crazy about our animals. To us they’re part of the family. My golden retriever definitely think he’s a person, not a dog. He prefers socializing with people (could care less about other dogs) and lucky for him (and me), everyone loves him. He touches people’s hearts and makes them smile (that’s his photo at the top of this post).

Using dogs in your promotions can touch a soft spot in your audience’s hearts as well.

Do you have a dog, cat or other pet you consider family? Share your comments about your furry friend here. I’d love to hear about him/her.

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. Christine says:

    I just got a puppy, Maple, 3 weeks ago. So far, she’s provided more distraction than inspiration. But already Maple is very much a part of the family.

    • Hi Christine. Congratulations. I bet it didn’t take long for you to fall in love with Maple – puppies just win our hearts over immediately. Just think of those commercials you’ve seen with puppies in them, you smile right away. Don’t you? What kind of dog is Maple? I bet you’ll find she’s more than inspirational, she’ll be an entertainer, healer and great companion. Enjoy!

  2. Christine says:

    Yeah, it was love at first sight. We had her brother reserved, but when we went to visit, she won us over with her sweet personality. She’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and pretty much the cutest thing ever. What’s your golden retrievers name?

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