Customer Targeting is for the Dogs

Chelsea IottThese days, pets are treated more like children than animals. With the pet industry growing more and more each year (expected to be $53 billion in 2012) not only is the opportunity to target pet owners growing, the opportunity to target pets themselves is growing as well.
I myself have a fur-baby, Sparty. Sparty often forgets that he is a dog and not a human – I know he is hardly treated as a dog in our household. With the number of corporate and specialty dog stores I subscribe to online (whether it is via opt-in form or signing up during a purchase) there are many opportunities to use that opt-in data to target not only myself, but also Sparty as a legitimate family member.

Some of Sparty’s favorite toys include naturally shed deer antlers and tennis balls.

1-800PetMeds for example, does a wonderful job. They know based on my opt-in information that Sparty is a male Labrador retriever and that his birthday is 11/21. Using this information along with past purchases and website activity they send me emails with subject lines asking if Sparty’s ear infection medication is ready for a refill, they send me emails that contain an image of Sparty I uploaded during the opt-in process, and suggestions of other products I may be interested in that are related to past purchases or clicks. They will even include updates on current sales in the dog department. These are all highly targeted and very relevant to me and Sparty.
However, the attention to detail I experience with 1-800PetMeds always leaves me shaking my head when I receive emails from Petco. I belong to the Petco Pals Rewards program that contains the same data I provided to 1-800PetMeds on Sparty and also gives me a card to scan while shopping in-store. I’ve been a member for about a year now, which is a large amount of time when it comes to them being able to collect data. I receive multiple emails a month from them I am flabbergasted that I continue to receive updates on sales in the rabbit department or a coupon for 1 free can of Fancy Feast Gourmet Cat Food. Emails sent that are reminding me that I have Pals Rewards points to redeem never mention Sparty – even though he is an in-store visitor from time to time.

Pets and their owners are a highly targetable segment that come with a lot data pieces (name, gender, species, breed, birthday, allergies, etc.). Optimizing the use of your data will allow you to target your audiences (like those pet owners) with department sales, coupons and events along with reminding them they may be in need of additional services. A note that it’s time for a refill based on data from a past purchase is far better than sending them an email for Lizard Adoption Day when they own a cat and haven’t expressed an interest in reptiles. Let this pet product retailer review serve as an example of what all brands can do with the right technology – take advantage of their data and use it to target their customers, no matter what species they are.

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