Happy National Dog Day! For all of you dog lovers out there, you know that today’s just another excuse to show our friendly canines some extra lovin’. Our furry companions hold a special place near and dear to our hearts. Simply put, they know exactly how to put a smile on our faces, whether they mean to do it or not.
Affectionately named (wo)man’s best friend, dogs have a lot to offer us. But what you may not know is that dogs are actually a marketer’s best friend and can teach us lessons that we can apply to our careers.
In honor of National Dog Day, we asked our advocates, Purple Select, what they’ve learned from their dogs. Here’s their take on it:
1. Know Your Audience
Some people might argue that dogs are some of the best marketers of all time. They know how to read their owners’ emotions down to a tee and understand when it’s a good time to ask for some cuddles or whether they’ve been a naughty dog and need to give us some space.
Marketers need the same sort of intuition—the ability to understand when is the best time to engage their buyers. As Joe Reitz, Strategist at Fathom, put it, “Tango is the most dedicated dog I’ve ever known. He’s like a comfort dog…he knows when you want to play and when you just need a buddy to hang out with. I’d say the takeaway there is to know your audience and have precognition when it comes to their needs.”
Just as important as knowing when to engage your buyers is knowing when to give them some space. Your prospects and customers don’t want to be bombarded with marketing messages 24/7. They only want to see your communications when it’s relevant and convenient for them. Rachel Egan, Marketing Manager at TubeMogul, says “I don’t have a dog, but I love all my furry friends around the office! This is Louie and she teaches me that there is a time to be excited and overzealous when you see people (or market to them), but there is also a time to sit back and let them go about their business. Chances are, if you are patient, that person will pay attention to you again soon.”
While we may not have canine instincts, with a sophisticated marketing automation platform, you can listen and respond to your buyers based on who they are and their actions and activity so that when they’re finally ready to make a purchasing decision, you’ll be top-of-mind.
2. Be Consistent and Dependable
Dogs are used to the same routine every day: wake up, go on a walk, eat a bowl of the same dog food, play fetch at night, go for a walk before bed, and repeat. Imagine if you suddenly stopped walking or feeding your dog. It would definitely cause some disruption and you could potentially lose their trust. The same concept applies to marketers. Marketers need to be dependable, according to Keith Nyberg, Marketing Operations Specialist at SugarCRM.
We need to be consistent across channels, reinforce our positioning to gain the trust of prospective customers as well as maintain the trust of our current customers. Granted, your messaging may change over time, but it’s important that the changes are reflected across all channels for a seamless experience. And if your company has created a regular cadence of publishing content, it’s important to stick to that since your buyers start expecting it.
3. Focus on the Customer Experience
As Dan Prokop, Marketing Manager at MECCO, put it, marketers need to learn how to focus more on the customer: “My dog’s always telling me that. Except the customer is him, and by focus, he means give him more treats.”
It’s important to spend time with our dogs: take them on walks, play fetch with them, and give them lots of attention. If you don’t, they may become lonely, sad, and grow distant from you since you’re not actively working to maintain and grow the relationship. According to Gartner’s survey “Gartner Predicts 2015,” 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. It’s more important than ever to focus on your customers, continuing the conversation with them and ensuring satisfaction beyond their first purchase. I mean, you wouldn’t ditch your dog after adopting him, would you?
4. Be Loyal
As you can see, Director of Marketing Operations at Skyword, Adam Vavrek’s dog is loyal and has stuck with him through everything, even through some playful roughhousing. This is an essential component of long-term business growth: create a great customer experience to increase retention and loyalty.
By continuing to nurture your customers and provide them with value, you can build a loyal customer base. And once you have their loyalty, you can incentivize them to advocate for your brand through programs that generate reviews, referrals, testimonials and much more, while also allowing them to build their personal brand—a win-win for all.
But loyalty isn’t just for your existing customers. With prospective customers, it’s crucial to commit to nurturing them and continuing to educate them until they are ready to purchase. Even if they’re not interested in buying from you at the time, they need to know they can count on you to reach their company objectives when they are ready to make a purchase or speak to your sales team.
5. Always Sniff Out a Situation Before You Act
As one of our advocates, Melanie Chapman, Marketing Manager at Jellyvision, suggested, “Always sniff out a situation before you act and never trust a doorbell.”
Just as dogs will spend time sniffing around on a walk, it’s important for marketers to take a step back and assess situations. What does that look like? Before you run any campaign, establish your goals and choose the right metrics to measure them with. Look at past program results to help you optimize a similar campaign, rather than blindly deciding what will make a large impact on the success of your organization.
What other marketing lessons have you learned from your dog? Share your stories in the comments below!