Should Retailers Invest in More Advertising?
The power of effective advertising is unmatched—it’s why adhesive bandage strips are collectively known as Band-Aids, slow cookers are generally referred to as Crock Pots and all lip balms are considered ChapStick. Pet retailers who don’t take advantage of this type of marketing to position themselves as a trusted source of information are doing their business a great disservice, especially in light of current events.
When the countrywide lockdown was mandated and the public’s emotions spiked, they turned to companion animals for love and security. This, of course, resulted in the sharp increase of pet adoption/fostering/purchasing. To account for this uptick, Adweek reports that a series of large manufacturers increased their advertisement spending spending by 51 percent between March 8 and May 21, when compared to the same time period last year. As a result of this investment (at least in part), Chewy.com reported that net sales increased by 41 percent as of May 4; General Mills expects to have double-digit sales growth compared to previous years; and while Nestlé and the J.M. Smucker Company didn't provided exact numbers, both companies have reported sales growth since the shelter-in-place order was mandated.
Though the quarantine crew of pets were initially adopted/purchased quickly, they’re ultimately a long-term commitment that consumers will have for years to come. There’s no better time for retailers to establish themselves as that lifelong, trusted source of all things animal, and there’s only one surefire way to get their message and services out there. The key to successful advertising is that it must be adjusted and tailored to account for current events. During times of uncertainty and crisis, ads should err on the side of emotional and personal to inspire trust and relate to consumers on a human level, while taking careful steps to avoid coming off as tone deaf.
That said, all advertising ventures don’t have to be pricey initiatives—there’s always the value of word-of-mouth recommendations. Consumers are more likely to shop at businesses that have already been vetted by their friends and loved ones. This is where referral bonuses and new customer discounts come in, along with updated rewards programs.