Fueled by the ever growing outlook of 'pets as part of the family' and 'empty nester seeks four-legged companions,' the pet industry has become a growing, innovative and highly competitive market.
Like many industries in this stage of development, a market at some point begins to get crowded, extremely competitive and takes on the copycat and 'nothing is new and innovative' hue; fueling reduced pricing, highly competitive strategies, deals and steals, and more....all marketing tactics designed to help a company stand out from the crowd and capture the current customer pool.
The pet business market has become a 'Red Ocean,' a term that's been around for years describing a market that's highly competitive and overly saturated; akin to sharks on a feeding spree in open waters.
So what's a pet business to do? Can you be different enough, less expensive enough, bring more value than others, and remain competitive for long term survival? Good question...and one I've been pondering for a couple of years now.
Are differentiation marketing tactics to your current customer pool the right and only strategy you need for your pet business? I think not.
So, what does a business do when nearly everything in the present market has been done? How do you stand out from the competition and continue to compete in a busy market?
Think about the other customers out there, those customers you are currently not targeting, the other markets within the pet business, the current non-customer, the uncontested customer. Think about how you can structure your business, products and services to reach entirely different audiences with value-added products and services.
In 2005, a new and innovative business strategy book, Blue Ocean Strategy, written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, explored the idea of a 'Blue Ocean;' a strategy for thinking out of the box, focusing on increasing the potential size of the market, attracting people who have never purchased in that specific niche market, and creating a market that's unobstructed, free of major competition, and ripe for success; avoiding the bloody shark infested waters of Red Oceans and creating Blue Oceans. A book that I think is very relevant to the pet industry today.
Here's an overview of the differences between Red and Blue Oceans as outlined by authors Kim and Mauborgne:
|RED OCEAN STRATEGY||BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY|
|Compete in existing market space||Create uncontested market space|
|Beat the competition||Make the competition irrelevant|
|Focus on existing customers||Focus on non-customers|
|Exploit existing demand||Create and capture new demand|
|Make the value-cost tradeoff (create greater value to customers at a higher cost or create reasonable value at a lower cost)||Break the value-cost tradeoff (Seek greater value to customers and low cost simultaneously)|
|Align the whole system of a firm’s activities with its strategic choice of differentiation or low cost||Align the whole system of a firm’s activities in pursuit of differentiation and low cost.|
This type of thinking is what pet businesses need to do now in this crowded market. Think out of the box, think about the customers you're not reaching, think about your products and services in a different way, how you can structure your business and develop new products and services to reach Blue Oceans, while creating value for the mass market, at reduce costs to you and your business.
For more information about how Pawsible Marketing can help with your pet business and develop a winning marketing strategy, email us for a free consultation.