It’s a Dog’s (and Cat’s) Life


Americans love pets! How much do we love them? Today in the U.S. there are more than 80 million dogs; according to census data, this means there are more households with a dog than there are households with a child. The result of all these pets adds up to a spending level of $55.8 billion last year on pets and associated products. These levels of care and spending have brought new, innovative products and services to the pet market.

There are a plethora of new, technology-oriented pet care products on the market. One such product is Feed and Go. This is an automatic feeder that contains wet and dry food, treats, and medication that can be controlled remotely by smartphone, tablet, or computer. It can also play a recorded message to pets at specific times and monitors the food eaten. Another innovative product, PetChatz, lets owners use an app on their phones, tablets, or computers to interact with dogs and cats via a device with speaker, webcam, LCD screen, treat and scent dispensers, plus sound and motion sensors. And, for the lonely pups with an owner who works long hours, DogTV provides a 24-hour TV channel with content geared to stay-at-home dogs.

We love our pets so much that we buy them expensive foods, spa treatments, toys, vacations, and more. A dog’s life sounds pretty good right now.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. View some of the following sites for innovative products and services geared to pets:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. For the pet product industry, what is the target market? What are important segments within this market?
  3. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for pet owners. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  4. Based on the target market profile, how should companies market products?
  5. Debrief the exercise.

Source: New York Times, other news sources

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