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Customer Engagement Strategy: Tap Into Busy Families’ Needs

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Families with children make up a large portion of pet owners. These often hectic, messy households have unique needs when it comes to pet care and products, yet many retailers and manufacturers continue to categorize their customers into what type of pet they have, instead of considering what type of life they have.

I recently interviewed dozens of families with kids and pets to learn about common characteristics of a family with pets you should have in mind when developing your merchandising, marketing and customer service strategies to reach this audience.

Here’s what they told me.

They Don’t Have Pets Because of the Kids

Many moms and dads of human kids are lifelong pet people. They’ve had pets all their lives and now they have pets and kids. These customers certainly understand the concept of doting on their pets, but may not have as much time or money to do so anymore. That doesn’t mean they love their pets any less. In fact, some told me they love and appreciate their pets more now that they have kids.

Help these pet owners find the best products, care and “extras” for their pets, at a reasonable cost, and you’ll go a long way in helping them feel good about the care they are providing their beloved pet, even if they get less attention these days.

They’re Caring For Multiple Species

The majority of families I interviewed have dogs or cats and other types of pets, too. From fish to hamsters to birds to turtles and more, these animal loving households have more pet care needs than you might initially think.  This means multiple types of food, bedding, toys and more, which can get pricey and overwhelming. Who wants to make multiple trips to the store if they don’t have to?

Make their trips to the store easier by bundling specials, like combining a dog food deal with a fish food coupon, for example. Provide information about species compatibility. Mix and match offers and see what works.

They’re Busy…and Hectic

Yes, everyone’s busy. But families raising kids and animals have a unique kind of busy in their lives. Keeping different species healthy, happy and thriving takes some juggling. How can you make your customers’ lives easier? Save them time? Make pet care less of “one more thing” they have to do each day?

Consider showcasing products that help organize or streamline pet care and show these customers you understand their needs.

Their Lives Are Messy

Pets are messy. Kids are messy. Together? Extremely messy! There’s pet hair in every corner of the house. There’s always slobber on the glass doors and fingerprints on the windows. The floor is usually wet or covered in something sticky or smelly.

How can you better market your cleaning solutions to families, using language that shows you understand the messes in their lives go beyond dog pee on the floor? Consider special displays or brochures that give advice about what products are best for what types of messes.

They Want Their Kids to Grow Up With Pets

Many people who had a pet growing up remember their pets fondly, as their best friends, confidants or partners in crime. These parents recognize the positive impact a pet can have on a child and how much a pet can complete a family.

Incorporate more family specific language into your marketing efforts. Hold family friendly events. Offer classes for parents welcoming babies into their home or pet care for various age groups.  Show your customers you, too, care about the kids-pets bond and you might see an increase in foot traffic, and purchases.

It’s not always easy to pinpoint your customers’ needs but families with kids and pets have common challenges and opportunities you can tap into.  Help these busy families care for their pets within the context of their lives as parents to human kids and you’ll connect with your customers in a more meaningful way than ever.

- Caroline Golon

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