Who needs kids when fur babies fit the bill?
From veterinarians to retail to food and treat, Unbound has explored and covered a wide spectrum across the pet category as well as specific areas of focus. And along the way, we’ve unearthed and learned quite a bit. That said, we’re especially intrigued in what’s shaking with Millennials and their pets. Currently wielding $600 billion in annual spending power and comprising 25% of the population, Millennials are flexing their muscles as a generation brands need to keep an eye on when building targeted, meaningful marketing strategies.
With a laser-sharp focus on the pet category, we’ve developed three key insights marketers should absolutely apply to their 2021 brand communications efforts.
- Redefining Family
For years now, the large majority of pet owners have considered their pets as part of their family. However, when it comes to the mighty Millennials, their pets ARE their family. As many as 55% of Millennials are choosing not to marry, and whether delaying the parenting stage or choosing to not have children at all – in place they’re choosing pets to fulfill that parental need and instinct. Factor in COVID-19 – and 8 in 10 folks expressing how much comfort their pets have brought them during the pandemic – this bond, combined with growing Millennial pet parents reveals a huge opportunity to target the 25-40 year-olds and speak to their values in a more pointed way.
- Driving Tech
In the pet category, we see Millennials driving technology across the category. 56% of pet owners now use special tech just for their pet. Health and nutrition apps, pet servicing apps, smart toys and pet monitoring cameras make up the most popular pet tech options. And almost 80% of pet parents say technology gives them a greater sense of their pet’s wellbeing or security.
For the pet brands we partner with, their digital ecosystem is paramount to their brand’s success. Most recently, we helped Compassion-First to ensure their network of 44 veterinary hospitals were employing best-in-class technology when it came to online payment, scheduling and other telehealth options. With a digital-first mentality, we’ve designed their communication plans to focus on reaching our key audience members – with an opportunity to engage and respond through an ongoing relationship when it matters.
For your brand, these learnings may mean taking a harder look at the eComm boom among Millennials. Prior to the pandemic, Millennials were already making over half of their purchases online with 22% using an app to make routine purchases like groceries. Overall, the pandemic has inspired a 30% increase in online shopping and made retail experiences like Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) a table stakes expectation for shoppers and retailers alike.
Now is the time to be evaluating and pressure testing your digital ecosystem to ensure everything is firing on all cylinders to ensure you’re where to need to be to meet and satisfy consumers’ new heightened expectations.
- Curated for Me
As we’ve seen pet parents indulge their furry, four-legged kids with high-end offerings like pet boutiques, bakeries and spas, we’ve also seen Millennials desiring top-tier offerings in all aspects of their lives. They strive to feel important and find purpose in life by not only taking pride in cutting through the hype, but searching out what’s real and has substance, while also creating and distributing content of cultural value themselves.
These values culminate with Millennials (more than Gen Z or Boomers) who look for brands that align with who they are, understand what they’re looking for and can offer custom ideas and suggestions based on quality and trends. They see brands as a reflection of who they are rather than a badge of honor. BarkBox is a good example, who sends a monthly themed care package of the latest and greatest toys and treats to eagerly awaiting pet owners. Brands who can provide Millennials with unique and relevant content, containing fresh ideas around pets and their care give them a reason to keep coming back and to foster a bond with your brand.
This all presents an incredible opportunity for the pet category to focus on brand story, shared values and the unique benefits your brand brings to the Millennial audience. Show them what you’re doing to be different and give them a real flavor of how your brand aligns with who they are as individuals. By offering up curated offerings and solutions that are tailored specifically to their buying habits, brands can build loyalty and advocacy with an audience looking for a brand to believe in.
At Unbound, we bring over 100 years of experience working with brands to sharpen their story and drive results. Our team of strategic leaders knows how to get into the hearts and minds of your key customers and reach them where they are – and with messages that matter.
Let’s set up 30 minutes to discuss how your marketing strategy is aligning with your key audience, and evaluate opportunities for optimization and enhancement. Let’s get started today – 816.589.3333.
Sources: Kantar Media, U.S. Census Bureau, Accenture