Everything starts with an objective or a dream, but it will be necessary to focus on it, starting with the task of carrying out a detailed market investigation, such as knowing what the data on pet populations are (graph 1), among many other pieces of information. This is how we begin to define the market category, type of product, in which market segment we are going to operate, what my value promise will be, with whom I will be competing, etc.


Graph 1. The population of pets in Mexico 2022 (Millions). Source: Triple Three


And what will be the marketing strategy to be developed? For Philip Kotler, the so-called father of marketing, the concept of marketing is simple: "Marketing is defined as the science and art of exploring, creating and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market, for a benefit."

The first step for a new product will be to build a brand. The key to building a brand is to have something good to deploy intelligently. 'Something good' can be considered an innovation. As I mentioned in AllPetfood magazine, November 2022 edition, innovation in pet food is making use of creativity, which means that we don't need a new process or ingredient, but instead, use what we have efficiently to comply with the statement that the pet parent looks for.

Pet owners not only look for nutritional levels (protein content, fat, etc.), the specification of the ingredients (meat as protein of animal origin), and the attributes that will give the pet a better quality of life (longevity, vitality, etc.) or innovations (dehydrated, "grain-free," etc.). They are concerned about giving your furry children the best experience. Our new brand will not be a product for all segments or all parents, and, at first, it will be almost invisible. The latter is positive because it will be out of the radar of the competition.


The pet food market has a unique feature: the "pet humanization" trend. Today, 50% of family photos include a pet, as it is one more family member. Young people adopt a dog or cat because they don't want children—or it takes longer to have them—and older adults buy a pet for company. In both cases, there is a strong bond of esteem towards them. Here we enter the second step: we must understand and choose the consumer we want to serve, our customer. Our target pet parent has certain tastes and needs, as well as shopping habits, media, and even different degrees of care for their pet (Image 1). Our focus will be to position the brand as different and superior.

Do not seek to be in a segment in which you are not superior. Here another strong trend can be considered: food premiumization. Pet parents look for food that offers the greatest well-being and health to their pets. My brand must be delivering on functional characteristics and emotional appeal, as new pet owners are embracing a holistic view of wellness and health, with higher-quality food.


Image 1. Generations by age


We have already managed to position our brand, and we are entering the next step, staying ahead of the competition before they copy our value proposition. Any differentiator you own will be imitated by others. You have to think about staying in business with new ideas, different concepts, and constant innovation. Let's remember that the pet food market is aligned in many areas with the human food market. It is an experience design marketplace.

So, beyond thinking about looking for new ingredients or new molecules such as type II collagens or highly bioavailable polyphenols, we must think about making our product an experience for the pet parent. Therefore, successful marketing must have branding, focus, positioning, and differentiation.


By: Armando Enriquez de la Fuente Blanquet

Source: All Pet Food Magazine

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