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Profitable Strategy in the Pet Business - Treat Pets Like People

Lisa J. Lehr

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A businessperson with even a casual liking of pets is positioned to capitalize big-time on America's pet craze. All you need to do is keep in mind that Americans increasingly treat their pets as children.

As the number of children per household declines, the number of pets is increasing. Baby boomers, a powerful segment of today's market, are quickly becoming empty-nesters and replacing their grown two-legged children with four-legged ones. Indeed, many people now call themselves pet parents or guardians rather than “owners. "

"By buying pets human-type gifts, we are making ourselves feel good and making them happy, " says Bob Vetere, chief operating officer of the American Pet Products Manufactures Association (APPMA). This trend suggests a hugely profitable strategy for entrepreneurs in the pet business: position pets as members of the family. Here are three ways:

Create human-like products and services for pets:

-Gourmet and specialty pet foods.

-Doggy and kitty treat cookbooks.

-Pet clothing.

-Human-type pet furniture.

-Coordinating “Mommy and pet" jewelry.

-Designer pet carriers, buggies, and strollers.

-In-home grooming services.

-High-end grooming products, such as aromatherapy baths.

-Pet portraiture.

-Pet birthday party supplies.

-Pet communicator services for pets with problem behaviors.

Rename your existing pet products and services:

-Your pet supply store becomes a pet boutique.

-Your boarding facility becomes a pet hotel.

-Your kennel becomes doggy and kitty day care.

-Your grooming business becomes a pet spa.

-Your dog training skills make you a pet behavior specialist.

Capitalize on the fur frenzy with your existing non-pet business:

-Extend your brand to include pet products.

-Feature pets in your ads and sales messages.

-Donate a portion of your profits to an animal rescue group (and say that you are).

-Welcome pets in your store or lodging facility.

-Have a food service? Host regular dog-and-human cocktail parties.

-In the construction business? Offer custom dog baths/showers in high-end homes.

As always, choose a marketing expert with a passion for pets to help you create a marketing plan that resonates with your market. People are eager to spend lots of money on their pets. You might as well be positioned to receive your share.

Lisa J. Lehr is a freelance copywriter specializing in direct response and marketing collateral, with a special interest in the health, pets, specialty foods, and inspirational/motivational/self-help niches. She has a degree in biology, has worked in a variety of fields including pharmaceuticals and teaching, and has volunteered for many causes including special-needs kids and literacy. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, art, music, outdoor exercise, and all things Celtic and Renaissance.

Have you signed up for her free e-mail series on marketing strategies?


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