Marketers’ Best Friends: Our Pets

Dogs: A Marketers Best FriendYears ago, 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 a more recent statistic. . .

The American Pet Products Association estimated that, in 2020, the total U.S. pet industry expenditures reached $103.6 billion (up from $97.1 billion in 2019 – and up from $45.5 billion in 2009). So wouldn’t you agree that marketing to pet lovers is still a good idea?

According to a 2017-2018 study by the American Pet Products Association, nearly 85 million families (68% of households in the U.S.) are pet owners. If you have a product that caters to pet lovers, consider these additional statistics:

  • The average person spends $111/month on their pets (or $13K over 10 years) (Source:
  • 63.4 million (53%) of American pet-owner households own a dog compared to 42.7 million (35.7%) that own a cat (Source:
  • 95% of American pet owners consider their pets to be family members (Source:
  • 27% of Baby Boomers and 73% of millennials own pets (Source:

“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 an Instagram account for your pet?

Instagram and Man’s Best Friend

If you’re on Instagram, you may have noticed how many folks have set up accounts for their dogs. When Search Laboratory conducted a Twitter poll asking people whey they followed dogs on social media, the most popular response was, ‘because they cheer me up’. Seeing dogs in one’s Instagram feed makes most of us feel happy. Here are some of the most popular dogs on Instagram (as of this writing):

  • @Jiffpom – 10.1 million.
  • @itsdougthepug – 3.9 million.
  • @marutaro – 2.5 million

“The humanization of pets (being part of the family) is popular, especially among senior citizens and 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, former owner of 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, Ike, definitely thought he’s a person, not a dog. He preferred socializing with people (could care less about other dogs) and lucky for him (and me), everyone loved him. He touched people’s hearts and made 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? Drop me a line about your furry friend here because I’d love to hear about him/her.