“Don’t Sell Your Product” – An Unexpected Marketing Lesson

AUTHOR: Marshall Akita

My CEO and I recently received an education in building a brand during a call with a prospective client. She represented a household name brand in a large area of consumer products, and as a result, we expected her to be motivated primarily by the standard metrics—how much did you sell this month, and how much sales growth are you showing? However, as she went on describing her company’s approach to marketing, it sounded less like sales and more like community organizing. When we pressed her on the fact that that all must, surely, come back to selling her product, she told us quite the opposite. “I’m measured on how much impact I can make in the community. If we happen to make some sales along the way, that’s good, but really this is about doing the right thing for the community.” We told her ‘thank you,’ and scheduled our next meeting, then hung up and tried to make sense of it all.

“Did she just tell us that her job isn’t to sell her product?”

“Yeah… I think she did.”

“What is that all about?”

We sat there for a second trying to unpack what she had just told us. Slowly we started to piece it together, but only after we started trying to construct the ideal customer for her company. As we began listing off adjectives, one concept kept popping up: loyalty. At first, we had breezed by this idea, concluding that the loyalty of this company’s customers was the product of the customer’s personalities—that who they were determined how they would act in response to the brand—but we quickly realized we had it the other way around. The customers weren’t inherently loyal; they were loyal because the brand engaged with them and actually cared about their interests.

Our client believed that this strategy worked. In fact, her company had just reported over 20% growth in profits last year. She wasn’t kidding when she told us that her job was not to sell product. Her job was not even to engage with the customers, per se, but to engage with their community. Her job was to make the brand like one of the brand’s customers, to go where they go, to do what they do, and to care about what they care about. She didn’t have loyal customers because they were inherently loyal, but because they viewed the brand as a friend and as a member of their community.

If she did her job right, the product would speak for itself.

About Pet Cause Media

Pet Cause Media is the national leader in veterinary pre-education and digital out of home marketing in veterinary offices. We work closely with our veterinary and sponsor partners to ensure full compatibility and maximum results. Visit our website (petcausemedia.com) or contact Marshall Akita (marshall@petcausemedia.com) for more details.


5 Reasons to Sponsor Pet Owner Pre-Education

AUTHOR: Marshall Akita

If you are looking for a new way to engage your customers, you might want to consider veterinary pre-education, shorthand for running brief educational segments before the veterinary exam. There are already multiple companies operating to help provide this service to veterinarians, and the industry is growing rapidly. Below are some of the top reasons that more and more companies are choosing to sponsor veterinary pre-education segments:

1: Veterinarians Love It

Pre-education is designed to answer pet owner questions before the veterinarian has to. Veterinarians love it; it saves them time and allows them to increase compliance with vital procedures and medications. Because pre-education is such a useful tool for the vets, they are always eager to see new sponsors appearing to help them bring their messages forward, and are consequently always looking to help their sponsors by promoting their products.

2: Align Your Company with Pet Health

Pre-education is a great way to associate your product with pet health, meaning that pet owners will be more likely to choose you over your competition if given the choice. Sponsorship goes both ways—when you sponsor an education message in the hospital, the hospital is essentially endorsing your product. Pet owners who see your message in the hospital will learn to associate your company with the pet health message that it promotes.

3: Not All Ad Views are Created Equal

CPM (cost per 1000 views) is a misleading term. Not all views are created equal. While a pet owner might thumb past an ad in a magazine in the waiting room, or a banner ad might appear alongside a web article, the likelihood that this “view” constitutes any likelihood of a sale is slim to none. By advertising on screens in the waiting room, you are guaranteed the focused attention of pet owners, 8/10 of whom put down their cell phones or books and watch hospital’s TV if educational programming is playing.

4: Be Flexible for the Modern Age

Pre-education is digital, and digital is flexible. Unlike print or broadcast media, digital can be changed instantly to ensure that your marketing campaign is always timely and maximally effective. Test different content at different locations and different hours of the day easily and at no extra cost. While most companies charge high fees to alter content, others do not, meaning that you can utilize their tools to get your message out as clearly as possible.

5: Enhance your Omni-Channel Strategy

The path to a purchase is not so clear as it once was. Customers now follow a multi-device channel to a purchase and require a multi-channel marketing strategy to proceed to a sale. Pre-education offers a chance to access the client at another key point in their decision-making process relative to their pet. It allows for a multi-faceted marketing approach, coupling the ability for direct-response marketing with brand marketing and calls to action. Whether the sale occurs in the hospital or at the pet store that the client goes to afterwards, sponsoring pre-education allows you to address your client’s biggest concerns for the pets and expands your marketing quiver, giving you a tremendous leg up on the competition.

About Pet Cause Media

Pet Cause Media is the national leader in veterinary pre-education. We work closely with our veterinary and sponsor partners to ensure full compatibility and maximum results. Visit our website (petcausemedia.com) or contact Marshall Akita (marshall@petcausemedia.com) for more details.