Video: 10 Signs You are a Pet Business Clown!

How to go from the BIG TOP to the BIG LEAGUE in the Pet Business.

A controversial video explaining what you are doing wrong and how to succeed in the pet business.

The 10 Signs are:

1. You Have 1 SKU

2. Your Marketing Budget is $0

3. You Think Posting Cute Dog Pictures on Facebook will drive Demand for your Product

4. You Think You Can Get Into a Major Account without a Rep

5. You Have No Brand Recognition and Think Petsmart will Carry Your Product

6. You Believe the Ridiculous Category Stats that Pet is a $50 Billion Industry

7. You Think You can Build Your Business with Distributors

8. You Don’t Know How to Pay for Marketing & PR

9. You Write Dealer Orders at Trade Shows

10. Your Packaging Looks Like a 4th Grader Designed It

It’s not your fault, but you need to get help. Drop the rubber nose and big shoes and give us a call.

Contact Bulldog Marketing & Sales Today for a FREE 1/2 Hour Consult

Learn more about Bulldog Marketing & Sales and check out all of the FREE pet marketing advice at:

3 Mistakes that are Killing Your Pet… Business!

1. Not generating enough brand awareness.  How many people have heard of your brand?  Better yet, how many retail buyers know your company or brand?  If the answer is zero, you can guarantee yourself zero sales.

What to do instead: Advertise in trade magazines while you are building distribution.

2. Not testing your product concept with research.  Everyone loves their creations, but do consumers?  Also, the first thing a retail buyer is wondering when they review your product is – will consumers buy this?  Should I take a risk on this product?

What to do instead: It is really smart to consider doing a small research study among consumers in your target market.  Use best practices to find out if there is a market for your product.  If people hate it you will save a ton of money moving a bad idea forward.  If the results are positive, you can use them in your sales presentation.  It helps take the risk out of your product in the buyer’s mind.

3. Not getting help NOW!  Many of our clients try to do everything themselves first.  They spend a ton of money sending out samples and advertising in consumer magazines (without any distribution of their product) and making other mistakes.  They come to us exhausted and desperate and broke.

What to do instead: Hire an expert in the pet industry.  It doesn’t have to be us, but someone that can help you navigate the pitfalls and get you back on track.

Of course if you want a free consult, contact us at: or call 718-218-4PET (4738) to set up an appointment.

Visit for more FREE pet marketing & sales advice.

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Global Pet Expo

Yes it’s that time of year again. We are all getting ready for Global Pet Expo. This year it’s Feb. 20-22 in Orlando which is great because I am going to Disney World right after.


Anyway, a lot of companies spend A LOT of money on going to and exhibiting at Global. So to help you be the most successful I put together the following 5 Ways to Get the Most out of Global Pet Expo. Here we go…

1. Have a Rep Network Built BEFORE the Show. This is overlooked by many smaller companies that are just starting out. They buy booth space, spend a lot of money on pop up stands, go to the show and sit in their booth and hope a big customer comes by and falls in love with their product. This is NOT a good strategy. What I tell my clients is to build a rep network way before the show – at least a month or two. This way the reps can bring their best customers to your booth to discuss your product. This is a much more effective strategy than hope. Hope is NOT a strategy.

2. Be in the New Product Showcase. If you have a product that was introduced AFTER Global last year you qualify. This space I think is a few hundred dollars but serves a very important role for you. It is like an ad in the new product showcase. Every buyer worth his/her weight goes through the new product showcase fairly carefully. Spend some money on a nice tabletop display so you stand out a bit. If your product requires demonstration, but in a digital picture frame that supports video or a portable DVD player on a loop. A lot of companies simply through their product on the table and walk away. Don’t be one of them! This is a very important area of the show. If you can catch the attention of a few buyers they will write down your booth number and stop by.

3. Advertise in the Show Dailies or other materials offered at the show. You are spending so much money to be at the show, why not invest a little in advertising? You should be consistently advertising in publications like Pet Age every month to generate trade awareness of your product.  I am also a big fan of the Pet Business Show Dailies. This magazine is distributed on each day of the show with new editorial. It is read by just about everyone who attends the show – it is great bowl reading if you catch my drift. You don’t need to do a full page if you don’t have the budget, but do something in this publication and be sure to include your booth # in your ad. Oh and get your ad designed by a professional to make it really POP and get you the attention you deserve.

4. Put a Press Release in the Press Room. This is FREE!  Write a press release about your new product or whatever you are introducing at the show and put 50+ copies of the release in the press room.  The press room is located right outside the main entrance to the show floor near the down escalator.  Just do it!  Better yet, get involved with a press tour at the show.  For about $2k you can have press visiting your booth and covering your new products.  One way to do this is by contacting a public relations agency, such as  K. Sutherland PR.

5. Never Leave Your Booth Unattended. Bring two people if at all possible. You never, ever, ever want to have your booth unattended. The time you slip away for a bathroom break is usually when Wal-Mart decides to drop by so don’t do it! This is another reason why having good reps helps. They will usually pitch in for a little bathroom break duty.

Have a great show!  I’m looking forward to seeing you there!  And if you want a FREE Marketing & Sales consult at the show, contact me at


Top 5 Things You Need to Sell Pet Retail Chains

 1. A Strong Brand Name and Packaging. You need to stand out on the shelf and have a benefit driven brand name vs. something obscure. Think “Bug-OFF” vs. “Zonic”. Colors should “Pop” on shelf so people notice you.

2. Multiple Items (SKUs – Stock Keeping Unit). It is extremely rare for a single item to a) get sold in and on shelf (the buyer doesn’t want to bother doing the new vendor paperwork for one SKU!), b) survive if it does get on shelf. The reason is the lack of a brand block. You simply won’t be noticed. The big companies create multiple SKUs and use the 1/2 rule. Present 6, get 3 in, present 8, get 4. When I was at HJ Heinz on the Pounce Brand, we made up several flavors just to get more shelf presence. You can easily create more SKUs with more flavors, sizes or scents.

3. UPC Codes. Yes, the little code on the back of every product you buy is essential for the retailer to scan your item through their register.YOU CAN NOT BE SUCCESSFUL WITHOUT IT. They are somewhat expensive, but they are an essential cost of doing business. If you want to be taken serious by any major retail you must have a UPC code on your product. Here is the website to get you started on the road to having a UPC code. UC Council Link.

4. Product Liability Insurance. Yes, you need it and you need a minimum of $1 million for most retail chains. This is a policy you buy to protect the retailer from claims made against your product due to a defect, harm caused by your product, etc. You can find out more info about this type of insurance at this link. You can Google “Product Liability Insurance” and get a ton of sites that will give you quotes. There is no way around this requirement.

5. The Right Relationship. It is next to impossible to get your product in front of a major chain buyer without the right relationship. You can cold call and send samples to the buyer until you are blue in the face and get nowhere. You need a rep that goes to the buyer’s barbecues on the weekends. This relationship will cost you, but it’s typically 5 – 8% of wholesale sales into the chain. Yes this is an ongoing cost but worth its weight in gold and cheaper than hiring a dedicated salesperson.

Your Pet Product Retail Sales Presentation Outline

Retail appointments are so few and far between that every time you make a presentation it needs to be great.The buyer has limited time and wants to get to the point. Be ready for any kind of appointment – even one in the lobby of the account (it happens)! I’ve had an appointment at Petsmart that ened up in cafeteria and one at Wal-Mart that took pace in their staging area – which is an airplane hanger with a mock-up store inside. Both were successful calls. Here is a simple outline that will help you close the deal with any retailer…

Tip: If you can get a professional to design your branded Powerpoint template — do it. It makes your presentation look so much more professional than a generic clip art job. These can be created inexpensively so look around.

1. Title slide – your company and the account logo. Include the date of the presentation/appointment. No need to include your name or the buyer’s name.

2. Agenda – not really necessary. You will want to keep your slide deck to no more than 10 slides, so this one is up to you. Sometimes it helps to have it in there for you as a guide when you are setting. You can delete it later.

3. Company Overview – who are you and your company? How long have you been in business? Why did you create the product(s)? What is the purpose of the product. A few sentences is all you need here.

4-5. Product Overview – What is your product(s)? Show some packaging graphics, etc. What flavors do they come in? What sizes, shapes, colors? What type of Point-of-Purchase display options do you have?

6. Features/Benefits – describe the top 3 features and the benefits associated from them here.

7. Consumer Research – show any research you have saying people like and will buy the product. If you have scan data from another account you can speak about it generically. You don’t need to say “Selling 4 units/week/store at Petsmart” if you are speaking to the Petco buyer – but he/she might ask if he knows you are there too.

8. Competition – who is your competition? Why are you better? Feature(s)? Price? Quality? Let the buyer know you recognize the competition, surely he/she does so get this right out of the way.

9. Pricing – you can simply state the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) that you believe consumers are willing to pay for the product. If you know the buyer’s margin for the category you can show a simple table…See example:

MSRP $9.99
Cost $4.99
GM (gross margin) $4.99
GM % 50

The above table us usually presented at the unit, not case level.

If you don’t know the margin the buyer wants just state the price and have the discussion. Most accounts will also want 5% MDF (marketing development funds). The definition of MDF varies widely depending on the account. In grocery it usually means “slotting” or the price you pay the retailer for putting it on the shelf. In Pet retail it is usually a % of wholesale that will fund circular ads or other promotional activity. Again if you know it, list it, if not discuss it with the buyer.

10. Thank You/Next Steps – a place to write some notes and followups right in the presentation.

You could also include some specs such as how your product is casepacked, but you would typically have a 1 page sell sheet with this info that also includes your UPC codes, etc.

Good luck and Good Selling!


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February 6, 2018
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