Mary Hope Kramer is a former writer for the The Balance Careers covering animal-related jobs. She works in the equine industry and has a passion for careers in the animal industry.
Updated December 09, 2018
The pet industry is a multi-billion dollar entity, brought in $69.5 billion in sales in 2017 alone. But it is important to have a marketing plan in place before introducing a new product. Here are some tips on how to effectively market a new pet product:
Your product needs to reach its target audience and generate some buzz. It is always a good idea to go to relevant pet events in the community (like dog or cat shows for example) to introduce your product. The more eyes you can get on your product, the better.
It is rare that a product is completely new and different from anything on the market. You will usually find that there are similar items to which your product will be compared. It is important to evaluate the cost of similar products to be sure that you are priced competitively in that niche.
Renting booths at pet industry trade shows and conventions are usually well worth the investment. The exposure from these shows can give a massive boost to a new product. These events can also lead to significant purchase orders from wholesalers and distributors. Major industry trade show events like SuperZoo and Global Pet Expo draw thousands of buyers and attendees each year.
You definitely should consider placing advertisements in industry magazines. Some magazine editors will also review new products as a part of their regular coverage, so be sure to submit a sample if a product review is a possibility. You can also send out samples to industry bloggers to solicit product reviews on their sites. Some well-established pet bloggers have a very large audience that can easily rival a magazine’s circulation.
Your product can be sold directly to consumers via an online platform or through retail magazine and newspaper ads. Direct sales allow you to keep all of the profits and control distribution. If you have the opportunity to sell some product through pet retail locations that can increase exposure, but your percentage of the profit will be markedly lower than it would be in the direct sales model.
A professional website with high-quality photos is critical to the success of a product. If you don’t have the requisite skills, you should hire a professional to create a website that showcases your product. An online ordering platform for direct sales is a great feature to include. You should also consider including content such as videos, professional reviews, links to retailers, links to industry professionals or associations that recommend your product, customer feedback, and the story of how the product was inspired and developed.
Social media accounts are extremely important elements in modern marketing plans. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are a few key outlets that you should consider using to publicize your product launch. It is important to keep your content fresh and post product news regularly (photos, reviews, sales, awards) to keep followers engaged.
Pet owners are much more likely to spend money on pet products during holiday seasons. Christmas is the biggest spending season and covers the broadest cross-section of pet products, but there has also been a recent trend towards spending in October with a focus on pet costumes and accessories for Halloween. Launching just prior to one of these seasons can help to boost your initial product sales.