Next-Gen Marketing

Finding the right platforms to connect with future generations of pet owners is essential to retailers’ continued success.



Retail experts say that the landscape of retail will change more in the next five years that it has in the last 50 years. Is your pet business ready for the future? Do you know the customers who will be supporting your business’ future? 

Let’s talk about two key groups of future customers so you can learn more about how and where to reach them effectively, starting with Gen Y. 

The Generation Y shoppers, born between 1980 and 1995, are no longer the crazy kids who know all about helping their parents program their cell phones. Now the oldest Gen Yers are nearly 37 years old, approaching the prime of their careers and spending years. The Gen Y “kids” are having their own kids and buying houses with room for pets, pet products and pet accessories. This generation is looking to spend money on experiences and things that enhance their lives and their kids’ lives, and pets are definitely part of that experience. 

This generation is connected to the internet all the time and uses it for everything, including making big purchases. So how can your pet business market via the internet and social media to reach this generation of connected customers? 

If you’re not adopting modern marketing methods—at least two social media platforms that are updated two to three times per day, a regularly updated (and mobile friendly) website and text messaging campaigns—you’re getting really far behind as you seek to reach these Gen Y customers. It’s time to start planning for your pet business to create marketing programs that reach this generation. Don’t miss sales opportunities because you’re not ready to connect using new platforms and tools.

Now for Gen Z. Born between 1996 and 2010, this generation may be too young to purchase some of your products today, but you should know that by 2020 they will be the largest group of shoppers worldwide. With the large amount of future purchasing power coming to this important generation, the time is now to learn more about them and their shopping patterns to prepare to sell to them in the coming years. 

The biggest thing to know about Gen Z shoppers is that they are in a constant state of “partial attention.” They were practically born with a wireless device in their hands and know how to use it for everything. This makes them a distracted generation who are adept at multi-tasking, thus making a personal connection while in a shopping situation is even more difficult. Start thinking about various ways to engage these customers on multiple platforms (at the same time) and don’t continue to rely on solely traditional face-to-face merchandising and selling initiatives to reach them. 

In terms of marketing messages for these two key generations, remember that they definitely expect to have online experiences with the brands they want to purchase from. The key to reaching Ys and Zs today and in the future is for your business to create multiple online experiences to connect. 

Connecting with your Gen Y and Gen Z customers via an enhanced online platform will create a longer-lasting engagement and shared experiences that will cultivate sales for your pet business. Don’t be afraid to harness the power of the online experience to reach the next generation of shoppers for your pet business.

Lynn Switanowski, founder and president of Creative Business Consulting Group, draws on more than 20 years of business experience with Fortune 500 companies including Reebok, Aramark and Liz Claiborne, where she was responsible for achieving all the financial objectives of individual business units with sales over $50 million dollars. Under Switanowski’s guidance and leadership, the businesses she ran consistently achieved and exceeded their financial targets, and her experience with establishing strategic plans for the businesses she ran produced consistent revenue and profit improvement. 

Switanowski’s management experience and creative problem solving skills led to the re-engineering of traditional business models and made each and every business involved more efficient with their sales channel and distribution techniques. Her creative vision and leadership were responsible for guiding four new product launches that today are generating over $550 million dollars in sales for their respective companies.


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