What exactly is marketing, and how can it help my pet business?

What is marketing?

Over the years I've been asked this question time and time again, from former heads of tech companies with which I consulted, to the CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield when I was head of their community relations, to many of my current and prospective clients.

Many people believe that public relations is marketing, that advertising is marketing, that SEO is marketing; and they are partially correct. All of these elements are part of marketing, but they aren't the end all, be all of marketing. And they shouldn't be all you concentrate on in your marketing efforts.

In my view marketing is at the core of the critical point between your pet business offerings and the pet business consumer. It's the go-between, the arbiter, the middleman and the mediator.

Marketing has two goals, 'make the phone ring' and get sales; and that involves not only promotion like public relations, advertising, social media, SEO, communications and more, but it also involves pricing, product development, packaging, sales and customer service.

Pet business marketing doesn't start with a great idea for a product or service, it starts with the consumer; individuals who want or need your product and will actually buy it.

Marketing firms need a full and complete understanding of your market, who your customers and potential customers are and will be, what they want and need, what price they are willing to pay, what information they want to know to be 'blown away' by your product or service; and they need to know how your customers learn about potential new products and services, and what messages and forms of communication they like, understand and with which they engage.

Product developers and entrepreneurs are passionate individuals. And they have to be! That's what I love most about working with these individuals.

But what many believe is that their latest pet related product or service idea is the best idea to be offered to the pet loving market in years. And they innocently assume that everyone will feel the same way.

I hate to tell you, that's not reality. Pet lovers are unique individuals, they have their own perceptions of their world and they have their own ways of thinking. The most passionate of entrepreneur or product developer can have the most innovative ideas, the greatest product since 'sliced bread,' or the best idea for servicing pets; but these ideas only succeed when they fit with the pet business market ideas, perceptions, wants and needs.

Pet loving consumers don't just buy a product or service, they buy the concept of what that product or service will do for their pets, and help them do for themselves.

Marketing is your strategy for allocating resources (time and money) in order to achieve your objectives (a fair profit for supplying a good product or service).

Marketing involves all aspects of your business, it's not successful created in a vacuum. And it's not successful if you only performing parts of the marketing mix.

Without a full and complete marketing plan touching on all aspects from product, to packaging, to pricing, to customer service, to various forms of promotion, with all of these aspects working together, you will not advance your agenda for increased business and increased sales.

A good marketing plan can help you focus your energy, time and resources.

Peter Drucker once said, "The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

That's exactly how we help our clients. Feel free to contact us today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your pet business marketing needs and how our full expanse of marketing services can help you achieve your goals.

Let's make some pets happy!

Photos courtesy of: GollyGforce, funkblast and MollyStevens.

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