Future of Pet Marketing: Infomercials

You may be thinking, "He has finally lost it, infomercials? Really?". The answer is "yes". Let me explain.

According to Global Industry Analysts, Inc. the US Market for infomercial products is projected to grow to $252 billion by 2015. For those of you paying attention that is a whopping 5 X the entire pet industry! The word infomercial conjures up visions of cheap, garbage products hawked by loud mouth spokes people. Now this still exists, but so do more sophisticated infomercials by well respected brands like Bose. See the Bose example in the video below.

What is driving the growth of infomercials? Primarily the lackluster economy. GIA, Inc. lists the following...

1) More people are staying home increasing the need for entertainment products.
2) Consumers are preparing their meals at home increasing the need for food processing, knives, etc.
3) The convenience of being able to shop from home - hassle free.

What does this mean to you as a Pet Product manufacturer? Well, a lot.

If your product is really problem/solution and easy and fun to demonstrate infomercials may be for you. Infomercials put the power back in your hands and the hands of the consumer and away from the retailer. You build the demand with the consumer via :60 spots on TV along with an 1-800 number and direct response style website to take orders. The beauty? Retailers will come to you after consumers start coming into their stores looking for your product. It's a great model. It brings things back to the way they should be. The manufacturer has the power. The retailer simply becomes a means of distributing a product.

It is getting harder and harder to get distribution in the pet industry. Even if you are lucky enough to get a pet chain to take a shot on your product, what happens next? How will you promote it? Most people don't know how or have the funding to do so.

Now, let's get real. Infomercials aren't cheap. The costs to go in this direction are about...

1) TV Production $15 - $25,000
2) Media test $10 - $15,000 for 1 week
3) Fulfillment and Call Center Set up and ongoing order taking $3 - $6k/month

So your upfront expenses are going to be somewhere between $30 - $50k. Sound like a lot? It is. But what is the cost of spinning your wheels and getting nowhere?

BUT... if you are successful and do all of your homework up front you can be profitable and drive brand awareness at the same time.

Oh, and just about every retailer today has an "As Seen on TV" section - including both Petsmart & Petco. It's a great way to side step the whole process and let the consumer decide.

Components of a Successful Pet Product : Infographic

Here are what I believe to be the most important components of a successful pet product...

Product (25%) - This is the actual product itself.  It needs to be great.  It needs to be better than great!  It needs to be the BEST product in its category to break through.  The product component is very important but still only 25% of the overall success.

Brand Name (15%) - Your brand name is extremely important and it should be benefit driven.  In other words, the name should describe what the product does or its main benefit.  If you have an unlimited marketing budget you can name it something abstract and create the meaning behind it.  Also, keep it simple - 1 to 2 syllables and easy to spell.

# of SKUs (10%) - You need between 12 - 18 SKUs to create a real line in the mind of a retail buyer.  Use sizes, flavors, shapes, scents, colors, etc. to get there.  One SKU products are great for infomercials but not for retail.  You need a brand block on shelf to be successful.


Rep (15%) - The ability of your rep to get an appointment with key retail buyers is very important to your success.  If your current rep can't get you the appointment, get a new one.  Also, make sure you go with your rep on the first few calls to key accounts so you get the feedback first hand.

Packaging (20%) - You may be surprised that I give packaging a 20% contribution to your success - don't be.  Yes it is almost as important as the greatness of your product.  If your packaging sucks so will your sales.  Create a great package.  Don't settle for second best or sloppy packaging.  Get a professional to design it.  A lot of professional designers do freelance work for as little as $40/hour.  Go out and find one.

Marketing (20%) - How good is your marketing plan?  Will it drive trade and consumer awareness enough to get noticed and get people to buy?  It better or you will be out of business in 6 months.  Marketing & PR are just as important as ever.  In the world of YouTube, Facebook & Twitter it is never been easier or less expensive to reach your target audience where they gather.

Well, there you have it - the Anatomy of a Successful Pet Product.  How does your product stack up?

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