It’s Time to Connect with Pet Owners

January 26, 2023 Full Contact

Meet my current furry friend, Cheddar Cheese.

pic of orange cat

I am a lifelong pet owner.  I am also someone that thinks about brands and their business for a living. As I was researching the idea of inviting a dog into my home during the Pandemic, I found myself bombarded with pet product messaging. Whether it was traditional channels like TV and radio or the virtual takeover of my online and social feeds. I couldn’t stop seeing pet company marketing.

And what stuck out to me more than anything is that nothing stuck out to me at all. As a consumer it was all a bit of a formulaic blur. It goes something like this: Insert pet shots, introduce pet need/want, show pet interacting with product, pet and/or pet parent are happy.

Like this spot: of petsmart pet hotel from commercial


Big picture, there is nothing at all wrong with this ad or this approach. It makes a ton of sense. Pet parents think about pet needs and want to find companies that can help meet those needs.

But I became so obsessed with the idea of pet marketing, we decided, as an agency to conduct a proprietary quantitative research study to explore that pet owner category a bit more.

The data was immediately clear, and it strongly supported the idea that pet parents are highly concerned about their pet’s physical health, and interestingly, also their mental health.

•83% of pet owners are concerned about their pet’s physical health. • 40% of pet owners are also concerned about their pet’s mental health

Source: Full Contact proprietary pet owner research, Nov 2022

But we also learned that as the isolated days of the Pandemic move behind us, pet parents are spending more time back at the office, traveling, or just generally leaving their homes or apartments more often. With all this “back to normal” happening, their concerns about the amount of time they are able to spend with their pets has also heightened.

•64% of respondents say that they are home less often and see their pets less frequently • 42% of respondents try their best to adjust their work/ life balance to be with their pet(s). • Nearly ¼ report feeling guilty for not having enough time to spend with their pets

Source: Full Contact proprietary pet owner research, Nov 2022

In short, pet parents are feeling more anxiety about their pet’s wellbeing today. They are thinking more broadly about the things that impact the world of their furry friends, like the amount of time pets now get to spend with their pet parents and even the overall mental health of their pet. Though these things may have always been in the mind of pet owners in some way in the past, the Pandemic has clearly heightened these concerns.

And now I go back to where I started, with the fact that the pet category is one that is plagued by a challenge that we, as marketers, often see: a virtual sea of marketing sameness. And what our own experiences, our categorical observations and our proprietary research have highlighted is that the time has never been better for this category to find ways to really break out of the norm, connect with pet owners in new and breakthrough ways and really build life-long relationships with customers.

Jen Maltby
Chief Strategy Officer
Full Contact Advertising

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