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Bulldog Marketing & Sales, Inc. Launches New Website, Expands Service Offering, Retains Sales Pro

Agency Becomes One-Stop-Shop for Pet Product Marketing & Sales

Bronx, NY – (May 1, 2013) Bulldog Marketing & Sales, Inc. (www.bulldogms.com) announced today the launch of its new website, its expanded service offerings and the addition of an EVP of Sales & Marketing.  Bulldog is the Pet Marketing Consulting and Sales agency formed by pet industry veteran John Cullen to give entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small to mid-sized organizations access to top level marketing talent without the expensive overhead.


Bulldog’s new website reflects its expanded service offerings.  In addition to more traditional marketing and sales services, the agency now offers Public Relations and Social Media management through its strategic partnership with K. Sutherland PR and National and Account Specific promotions through its partner, Promotional Expressions.  In addition, Bulldog now offers a variety of web services such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Website Design and Pay-Per-Click Advertising (SEM).  Its new website also makes it easier for potential clients to access Bulldog’s pet marketing videos, case studies, client testimonials and its pet marketing blog which is chock full of free marketing & sales advice.


“I wanted to make it easier for companies looking for marketing & sales help to find it all in one place,” said John Cullen, Principal of Bulldog.  “It’s more efficient and cost effective for a client if all of its needs can be met under one roof since it is easier to integrate all the elements of the marketing mix.”


Bulldog has retained Gary DeFeo as EVP of Sales & Marketing.  DeFeo is a sales and marketing professional with over 25 years of experience in selling national retail accounts.  Most recently he was the VP of Sales for Zoombak GPS Trackers and the General Manager, Mobile Entertainment for JVC Co. of America.  He will not only be building Bulldog’s business, but the businesses of Bulldog’s clients.  DeFeo will also be engaged in account management across the company’s portfolio of clients.


“Gary is the consummate sales professional.  No one knows more about selling and closing,” said Cullen.  “I know, because I have seen him in action when we worked together at Zoombak.  He will be an asset to Bulldog’s clients.  I’m excited to have him on my team.”


To learn how Bulldog can help your company grow call 855-456-4PET(4738) or visit www.bulldogms.com.

About Bulldog Marketing & Sales, Inc.

Bulldog Marketing & Sales, Inc. is a full service agency formed in 2009 by John Cullen.  It has over 15 years of marketing and sales experience ranging from marketing strategy to new product development and retail sell-in.  It has increased sales and developed new products for the Fortune 500 as well as for start-ups. Marketing & sales expertise includes: Pet, Consumer Packaged Goods and Consumer Electronics.  It is headquartered in New York City.  For more information, visit www.bulldogms.com or call 855-456-4PET(4738).

Video: 10 Signs You are a Pet Business Clown

How to go from the BIG TOP to the BIG LEAGUE in the Pet Business.

A controversial video explaining what you are doing wrong and how to succeed in the pet business.

The 10 Signs are:

1. You Have 1 SKU

2. Your Marketing Budget is $0

3. You Think Posting Cute Dog Pictures on Facebook will drive Demand for your Product

4. You Think You Can Get Into a Major Account without a Rep

5. You Have No Brand Recognition and Think Petsmart will Carry Your Product

6. You Believe the Ridiculous Category Stats that Pet is a $50 Billion Industry

7. You Think You can Build Your Business with Distributors

8. You Don't Know How to Pay for Marketing & PR

9. You Write Dealer Orders at Trade Shows

10. Your Packaging Looks Like a 4th Grader Designed It

It's not your fault, but you need to get help. Drop the rubber nose and big shoes and give us a call.

Contact Bulldog Marketing & Sales Today for a FREE 1/2 Hour Consult info@bulldogms.com.

Learn more about Bulldog Marketing & Sales and check out all of the FREE pet marketing advice at:


Pet Distributors: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.

Congratulations! You just got your product into a pet products distributor! Let’s go over what you need to know.

The Good
The good news is that the distributor serves many purposes for your business. One of the key things is assuming the credit risk. I remember back in my days of selling directly to pet stores and calling a deadbeat 50 times to collect $50. In today’s economic climate, most distributors only deal with credit worthy customers, but even those skip payments and can be difficult to collect from. The other good news is that you only have to ship to 1 warehouse instead of shipping onesie, twosie orders. The other thing that is nice is the opening “pipeline” order to support their customer base.

The Bad
The first Bad has to be the margin requirements. Most pet distributors require a margin of around 30%. This is unheard of outside of the pet business. In Consumer Electronics for instance, the margin for a distributor are about 15%! Not sure why this is, but it is. So the simple math goes like this…
Your price * 1.3 (30% margin) = Distributor Selling Price * 2 = Retail price to Consumer
Here is an example…
$1.5 * 1.3 = $1.95 * 2 = $3.90. See how quick your wholesale price more than doubles by the time it reaches consumers? Sometimes this can be a showstopper. This is also why most companies have 2 price lists – one for distributors and ones for “Dealer Direct”. The distributor gets the lower price so your ultimate retail isn’t through the roof!
The second bad is the distributor’s “sales force”. I put sales force in quotes because they are usually pretty weak order takers at best – not a sales force. To their credit, they are dealing with thousands of products across many categories. They focus on what sells and what is top of mind to make their bonuses. What chance does your product have of being pushed to their customers?

The Ugly
Getting into a distributor is only half the battle. The reality is that you as the manufacturer are responsible for helping the distributor sell your product. You need to get involved in their SPIF (Sales Promotional Incentive Fund) offers – basically a bounty for selling your product. You will have to attend their open house to push your products to their dealers and participate in any special advertising they do for their dealers, etc. You will also need to advertise your brand in the leading Trade Magazines (Pet Product News, Pet Business, Pet Age). It’s helpful to list your distributors in the ad if you only have a few.

Good Selling!

Your Product's Sell Sheet Outline.

I have seen a lot of sell sheets in my career and most of them suck. Here is an outline that I believe works every time... Think of your sell sheet more as a trade ad with specs and you will have more success in presenting to retail buyers. Also keep in mind the objective of the sell sheet - 1. give a quick sales message and 2. provide the buyer with the set up info need to get into their inventory management system 3. Gives your rep an outline and quick info to help sell - he/she keeps it in a sales binder. A good rule is: A sell sheet is never more than 1 page. You can use the back for UPC codes, etc., but the sales message should NEVER be more than 1 side of a 8 1/2 X 11 sheet.

1. Headline. Think of something creative that speaks about profits - the only think a retailer really cares about. Let's use the example of a new rubber ball dog toy for illustrative purposes. You could right something like, "Follow the Bouncing Ball to More Profits!". % of Sell Sheet: 10%

2. Product Hero Shot. Showcase your lineup with one item as hero. For example if you have 10 SKUs for a dog treat product, highlight one and talk about flavors available in the copy. The hero shot helps the buyer easily identify your product and let's any packaging sell copy deliver its message. % of Sell Sheet: 40%

3. 3 Bullets as to Why Your Product is Great. I will usually put this to the right of the hero shot in a call-out box or some other treatment. You must narrow your product's features/benefits down to 3 bullet points. No one will read more. Also, don't repeat any sales messages that may already be on your packaging front panel. % of sell sheet: 20%

4. Body Copy. Here you can talk about why the product is different, why it was created, the problem it solves, etc. I would go beyond 1 paragraph (3-4 sentences) here. No one will read it. You can also talk about flavors if the list is not too exhausting. % of sell sheet: 20%

5. Specs. As I said in the opening paragraph, you can put specs on the back if needed... but here is what you need...

Item # (this is your internal item number that identifies the SKU)
Description: e.g. "Red Rubber Dog Ball"
How Many Units/Inner/Master: 4units/inner, 6 inners/master = 24 units/Master
Dimensions: L X W X H of your individual item, then inner case, then master case.
Cube: This is the metric used to figure out how many pallets fit on a truck. You can find the formula online... just Google it.
Pallet Configuration: TiHi - this refers to how the master case is palletized. Ti means how many masters on a layer and Hi means how many layers high.
UPC Codes: You can put these on the back, but you should have all of the UPC codes for all of the items/SKUs you are talking about in the sell sheet somewhere. They should be high enough quality print so a store buyer can have them scanned into their file maintenance system.
% of Sell Sheet - depends on how many items you have. Could be 100% of side 2.

6. Contact Info. Make sure your company name, address and phone, fax, web address, etc. are all listed across the bottom of the sell sheet. You want to make it easy for a buyer to call/contact you. % of sell sheet: 10%

I did not include specs in the 100% of the sell sheet. I assumed you will put them on the back. If you only have 1-3 items you can put them across the bottom right above your contact info.

Have questions or need help? Contact us at info@bulldogms.com


How to Grow Sales Without a Magic Wand.

I've been doing sales & marketing for a while now and I can tell you there is nothing magical about increasing sales. No tricks up my sleeve. If you are looking for magic tricks, call your ad agency. They'd be glad to show you some (and charge you a bundle for them).

The reality is there are basically 3 ways to grow your business from where you are now.

1. Sell more of your current product to your current customers.
This is typically the most challenging. Run an ad, have a temporary price reduction or get an end cap. Great. You got a bump of 10 - 15 percent at the account. Not bad, but not REAL growth. The key here is to know what each retailer offers and buy into their programs. Efficient and it works.

2. Expand distribution. This too has its challenges but selling to new, large accounts can typically grow your business overnight. Get the right reps and start seeing new, large accounts that make sense for your products.

3. Develop new products and sell them to your existing accounts.
Once you have figured out 1 & 2, it's time to start creating more and more SKUs - yes, new products. Selling new products that don't cannibalize your existing business is a surefire strategy for growth.

Post your other ideas for growth in the comments section below. I'd love to hear them.

And if you need help with 1-3, contact us at info@bulldogms.com.

5 Things I Learned About Business From my Bulldog!

1. Never give up. If you really want that treat (success) keep trying for it. At some point someone will open the cookie jar and give you one.

2. Jump up and head butt people to get noticed. Sometimes that is what it takes to raise the awareness of your brand or product. Just sitting there doesn't get you anywhere.

3. Don't sweat the small stuff. If someone barks in your face, just keep on walking and let it go.

4. Don't underestimate the power of sleep. If you are in a bad mood, or need an attitude adjustment - take a nap. Also 10 - 16 hours of sleep a night is ideal (well for my Bulldog it is!).

5. Get along with others. Life is full of other cats and dogs (even squirrels and skunks) trying to do their own thing. Let them be and don't interfere. Maybe help them along if they need it. Sometimes a good chase is fun.

Why it's important to get marketing help early on.

I get a lot of calls from potential clients who have gone pretty far down the path to failure. It's unfortunate. They have a great product with a weak brand and/or packaging. They've invested a significant amount in logo development, packaging creative and packaging inventory only to find out no one will buy it. You probably wouldn't rewire your house if you don't know anything about electrical work - you would hire an electrician, right? Unfortunately everyone is an armchair, kitchen table marketing person. Most people think marketing is common sense - and sometimes it is... However, believe it or not, marketing people do have training and experience with bringing new products to market that u may not. They may know more than you and can save you a ton of money and time!

Need help? Email: info@bulldogms.com.

My product is great! Why aren't retailers banging down my door to carry it!?

I get this question a lot. There are many reasons why retailers aren't banging down your door to carry your product. Here are a few...

1. They have no idea who you are and what your product is. Low or no brand awareness is the number one killer of any brand or product. How can a retailer buyer know who you are much less carry your product if they don't know who you are or what your product is? The solution is to do some effective, targeted trade advertising and attend relevant trade shows. You don't need to break the bank to increase your awareness levels. Postcards are another inexpensive way to get the word out.

2. Your product is too innovative. I've covered this topic elsewhere but it warrants a repeat here. Innovative products are hated by retail buyers because they are risky. Risk = less buyer bonus. The buyer is not totally to blame here. Truly innovative products may require a shift in consumer behavior. If you don't have the money to get people to change their behavior your product will most likely fail.

3. A great product isn't enough. You created your product, the brand name and packaging... and they suck. However you don't want to hear it. You know better than the buyer, a marketing expert, etc. Too bad, you aren't getting in. Your product is great but it is presented poorly with a crappy brand name and package. Success chances = zero.

4. You don't have the right relationships. I covered this topic in more detail in my last post. Retail is all about the right relationships. If you don't have them, you need to get them. You can cold call a retail account all day and send endless samples but the phone never rings. You need the guy that was in the buyer's wedding party to get you the appointment.

5. You don't have a plan to support the product. The retailer isn't going to help you sell the product. They want u to do it? What is your plan to get consumers into the retailer to buy the product? Sales don't typically happen by osmosis.

Why They Have Distribution & You Don't.

1. They have more SKUs (items) than you do. A lot of product businesses start out as a 1 SKU line. This is a formula for failure. You should never try to get retail distribution with a 1 SKU line. Create an infomercial and go direct instead - you'll have a better chance of success. It's not that hard to come up with more SKUs - different flavors, colors, sizes, scents. You get the picture.

2. They have the right reps. Retail sell-in is all about relationships. You can cold call retail accounts and send fancy sample packs all day and get nowhere. The guy who has product on the shelves has a rep that was in the buyer's wedding party and goes to his/her house for barb-e-ques. You don't have a chance against this relationship. Get the right rep and get a real appointment in front of a real retail buyer.

3. They can give the buyer the margin they require.
This comes down to price. Their price is better than yours. Most pet retailers require margins between 50-80%. Consumer electronics depending on the category is between 25-40%. Grocery is 5-8%. If you can't meat the retailers requirements - you don't have a chance. It's all about making money on the product.

Good luck & good selling. Need help? Contact us at info@bulldogms.com.

3 Key Questions to Ask a New Pet Sales Rep

1. What lines do you represent? Find out if they are competitive with your line. There has been a lot of consolidation in the pet rep business. There are only 2 full service rep firms that handle Petco, Petsmart and PSP. Yes, there are probably 100 other reps that call on them, but they don't have the resources to do the retail detailing you will need to be successful. Back to my point. It is rare that there is category exclusivity with reps anymore unless maybe you are a major food line.

2. How do you charge? This is important. Most reps will charge between 3 - 8% commission of your wholesale cost. The reputable reps will ONLY charge on what they sell. If a rep asks for a retainer - RUN, don't walk away. If a rep believes in your line they will do the upfront work to get the appointment and present your product on good faith.

3. What are your retail merchandising capabilities? This is also important. Petco & Petsmart have abysmal execution rates. Basically this means that your product has a 50% or less chance of being displayed properly on the store shelf if you rely on store staff. A good rep will have a "detailing" team that can go out and get your product from the back room and get it to the shelf. Sometimes this service will be included for the commission rate, sometimes it will be charged separately. It usually depends on the $$ size of your line.

Good luck and good selling!

If you need more info contact us at info@bulldogms.com.