Marketing & Branding

Marketing to Pets and Their Owners: Throw ‘Em a Bone and Appeal to the ‘Aww’ Factor!

No matter what new technology develops, one thing still rings true: people love their pets. In fact, people love everyone else’s pets, too! Since social media and technology have become such an integral part of our daily life, it only makes sense that they’re beginning to play a role in the lives of our pets. Pets aren’t creating Facebook and Twitter profiles on their own, though. Behind every internet pet sensation is a human with a wallet and opposable thumbs.

The UK Telegraph reported that more than half of pet owners post about their furry friends on social media, and that 1 in 10 of all pets in the UK have their own page. It doesn’t stop at social networking. There are even sites like Doggie Dating, which offer an online dating service for pups!

Sockington has over 1.4 million followers on Twitter.

Maybe you’re not a dog person. Don’t worry! Your cuddly kittens are not being left out of this digital pet phenomenon. Friskies has developed iPad apps specifically for cats. The games are titled “Cat Fishing,” “Tasty Treasures Hunt,” and “Party Mix-Up,” and they essentially consist of graphics floating across the screen for a cat to swat at. (You thought you could just do that with a piece of string or a laser pointer, didn’t you?) You can check out a clip of these games in action below.

Crazy? Maybe. But Friskies will be laughing all the way to the bank. They have realized two things: 1. People are obsessed with new technology, and 2. people are obsessed with their pets. Put the two together, and you’re bound to strike gold!

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that pets are becoming increasingly popular with technology and on social sharing sites. Case in point: how many hours have you spent watching videos of adorable kittens and puppies on YouTube? I’m sure it’s a lot more than you are willing to admit. People love watching videos and viewing pictures of other people’s pets just as much as they love sharing videos and pictures of their own.

How could you resist this face?

Puppies like Boo (pictured to the left) are more popular on social networking sites than some of your favorite celebrities. Boo is known as “The World’s Cutest Dog,” has a book coming out soon, and has over 1 million fans on Facebook. Yes, you read that correctly. He has more fans than Jessica Alba, Bob Saget, Sharron Osbourne, Martha Stewart, and many others.

What am I trying to say? If you are not marketing your brand to these tech-driven pet owners in some way, you are missing out on a HUGE opportunity. Maybe you don’t have to go as far as creating an app for hamsters – it can be as simple as pet-related promotional products or a social networking contest for fans to submit photos of their furry friends with your product!

What do you think? Do you follow any animals on social networking sites? Would you let your cat play with your iPad? What other ways would you market to these pet owners?