Pet Industry News and Views -- In person, real time
- What a year! It was just over one year ago when we launched Pet Industry Advisory. We now have 2 successful events behind us and 3 ahead! I've had so much fun becoming part of the Pet Industry. I have over 20 years conference experience in other industries, and I can say with complete honesty, that the Pet Industry is by far the friendliest bunch I've worked with. I think it's because we all have pets in our lives. I for one, have two ancient labs who assist me in putting together these conferences.
- I want to thank the wonderful advisors, speakers and delegates for pulling together, for the first time, to create events for the manufacturers of Vet & OTC Pharmaceuticals, Food, Treats and Supplements, Devices and Diagnostics and the savvy consultants and other providers who serve this market.
- Everyone has had a great time and learned inside tips to help them with their jobs upon returning to their offices. I have it on record!
- So, MARK YOU CALENDARS everyone for the next wave of PIA executive conferences:
- Internet & Social Media Marketing designed exclusively for the Pet Industry, November 15-16, 2010, at the Rio, Las Vegas. www.attend.petindustryadvisory.com
- Hot off the press & almost ready for launch: New Products, New Marketing & New Strategies for the Aging Pet Population & Senior Wellness -- an non-clinical Executive Business Forum, January 13-14, 2011 (right before NAVC), Orlando. Call me for details: 207-467-3564 or email email@example.com
- And FINALLY... Our 2nd Annual Pet Industry Transformation -- Growth Trends & Strategies, Feb. 17-18, 2011 in Las Vegas. Last Year's event attracted over 70 Presidents and Senior Executives FROM ALL SIDES OF THE INDUSTRY who all said the conference was extremely valuable. For more information, contact me at 207-467-3564 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- So now, I'm back to recruiting the most interesting visionaries and change makers in the industry for our roster of speakers for the 2nd Annual Pet Industry Transformation. Do you know anyone who has a phenomenal story to tell about their success in the Pet Industry? Call me immediately! 207-467-3564.
- The event is organized by GROWTH TRENDS & STRATEGIES -- We have documented 8 Growth Trends already. Don't miss this opportunity to jump ahead of the pack to find out what's the hottest new product and service innovation. This is something you WON'T find at any other event.
- Until I see you in November, Warmest Regards,
- Roz Applebaum
- Pet Industry Advisory
- Wells, Maine USA
Global Pet Expo Lessons Learned
Lessons from Things Seen and Heard at Global Pet Expo 2010:
Strategic Notes from Roz Applebaum, Co-founder, Pet Industry Advisory
The challenge of attending any industry trade show is to sort out the trends that determine the future direction of the industry, from the passing fads. With that in mind, I walked the aisles of the Global Pet Expo and talked to many industry players. Some of my top-of-the-mind observations:
Seen: A plethora of “creative names” for new companies — Astro Bone, Pet-Gear, Pet ‘n Shape, Cosmic Pet International, who by the way have banana shaped catnip with a smell so strong your cat will be mellow for weeks.
Lesson: While companies are smart to name themselves in a way that leaves no doubt as to what they do, gratuitously exotic names just add to market “noise” unless they are truly memorable. I leave it up t you to decide which category my examples fit …….
Seen: A significant expansion of product categories — Ethical products, Natural products, and many more.
Lesson: Is micro-segmenting necessary to differentiate your product, or are we just confusing the consumer? Is it better to build a better mousetrap, or do you need to show people a better way to catch mice?
Seen: Crowd-pleasers/Attention grabbers that work — I passed a special raised glass platform enclosed with 5 puppies of all breeds playing, sleeping, watching us curiously. Now that’s a powerful way to draw people to your booth. Purina. They didn’t get to where they are by mistake. Puppies. Every woman in the place was plastered around the booth.
Every once in a while, I’d pass a real working dog. You could tell by the stance and careful rhythm of its walk, this was a working dog. As far as I’m concerned, nothing is too good for the service dog. All the natural ingredients and protective clothing and soothing ointments belong in this camp for sure.
Lesson: When it comes to drawing attention, whether at a trade show or in mass media, sometimes the proven basics work best.
Seen: The explosion of apparel categories and fashion.
a. My favorite of the dog clothing gear, of which there were much stock to be seen, was the purple and cobalt blue down vests which came in all dog sizes. I asked the Fashion Attendant whether a Labrador really needs a coat, and she said: “It’s all about style.”
b. Can you believe – Doggles — goggles for dogs. How clever is that? But do we need this? The inventor of Doggles insists his K9 Optics perform a much needed function — especially for blind dogs. He also supplies the US military K-9 force with goggles to protect them in combat. Thank God for American ingenuity!
c. One woman was truly ingenious. She was a born sled dogger and adapted gear she uses on her sled dogs for the mass market, including a tread mill which was occupied by a tireless Jack Russell Terrier. As I approached, he ran faster. His owner has designed 4 styles of dog boots which she swears won’t come off even under the toughest conditions.
Creatively, she also created a “wound” boot, which I could have used any number of times!
d. I was happy to find one company whose owner utilized his military background to make heavy duty clothing and other accessories for tough dogs.
Lesson: Practical, utility, cost effective products are always winners. Sometimes they also become premium fashion accessories. Will any of these products become the Doc Marten boots or Ray Ban Wayfarers of the pet world?
Seen: The biggest trend of all — Natural Foods. While this category is a “no-brainer” and mirrors the trend line in the human world, it still seems to me that the pet industry is feeling their way into this segment.
What stood out the most was the sheer number of companies vying for the “all natural” space. It’s interesting that all natural can range from plain sugar to cow esophagus parts.
Natural foods, treats and supplements seemed to be the order of the day with many start ups coming up with Happy Hips and long-time players quickly changing their labels to say “all natural.” I wonder if consumers know that all natural doesn’t necessary mean all good for your pet? What really caught my attention was Fish 4 Dogs which contained salmon and all those healthy Omega 3s. I think some dogs eat healthier than most people!
As I rounded a corner, an “oh my god” escaped. Hand painted/iced granola cookies for dogs looked good enough to eat. The booth was Overflowing with pastel painted granola creations. Turns out , the entrepreneurs daughter thought up the concept one day. On top of the granola, the owners add a dash of pumpkin and coconut oil — guaranteed to boost your pet’s health!
I also found natural remedies in the form of pills, sprays, lotions, and more. We have oral, optic, topical, ingestive…things made from flower essences and herbs, among other things.
I approached one booth displaying all sorts of potions for all kinds of beneficial results and found the woman was reluctant to talk to me. She claims that she can’t even display her new product launches because last year, she came home from the show only to find that she had already been ripped off by a copy cat.
Lesson: While “natural” is a no-brainer, it is clear that a majority of manufacturers are developing undifferentiated, “me-too” products that lend themselves to easy copying. To really succeed in this space, you either need first-mover advantage (Vitamin Water), or a strategic competitive product advantage that acts as a significant barrier to competitive copy-cats.
Seen: Labor saving pet ownership seems also to be an emerging trend. Some examples — Lambert Kay has Linaton, shed relief. I wonder why people get pets?! Bird Activity Centers. Sounds like Day care for Birds and it is!
Another was one of the least popular booths, the doggie deposit pet waste. Run by a company that historically just made plastic bags for human use, this entrepreneur spotted a use for bags in the urban world where it is socially irresponsible and politically incorrect not to pick up after your pooch.
Just when I thought I’d seen everything, I spied three progressively larger sized hamster wheels for dogs. I shuddered. Trapping a dog in this contraption just doesn’t seem right.
There were even acoustical calming music CDs for pets. The entrepreneur behind this booth had a special speaker that can connect to any MP-3 player and emit soothing sounds for pets because the high and low frequencies are filtered out. I guess this takes the burden of a pets happiness away from the owner……
Lesson: Just because a product has practical value does not mean it will be a natural winner. It is necessary to also make it attractive (or less repellent) to make people want to learn more about it.
Seen: Social Media and Internet optimization. Everyone was talking about social media, search engine optimization and other internet buzz words. Most everyone agreed they were at the 101 level of knowledge in most topics. What an opportunity to bring everyone together for an strategic information sharing forum on Internet Marketing.
Lesson: The pet industry needs to get up to speed on how to harness the key tools in the new media tool box. (Sales pitch warning!), I came home and called everyone I knew to find out who really has a handle on this esoteric “black box”. So, I would like to invite everyone to register to attend my “Internet Marketing for the Pet Industry Conference” scheduled for November 8-9, 2011 at the Luxor Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV.
Well, I’ll close on this note. The Pet Industry World is full of friendly, interesting, highly intelligent people who, for the most part, are on a mission to make our pets happier and healthier. Amen.
Global Pet Expo
- I'm excited to be attending Global Pet Expo on Thursday. I've set up some appointments with a few movers and shakers of the industry. This will be exciting. I'm looking forward to hearing about new products and services and seeing the latest in food, treats, beds, leashes, collars, toys, supplements and other therapies for pets! I hear this is the biggest and best pet industry exhibition. We shall see! I'll be researching out next event -- The Pet Industry On Line. I want to find out who has the best knowledge and proven results in this area. Do you know anyone? Hope to see you there! Roz
Alternative Foods for Dogs & Cats
I was just reading our brochure for the Health & Wellness Conference and I was reminded of all the choices we have today about what we feed our pets. I have 13 and 10 year old labs who have been eating “designer” dog food since they were pups. They have some arthritis now, and Max, the eldest, has blown both knees, but I have 5 different pharmaceutical products to give him to relieve pain and inflammation. I need to take out a second mortgage on my home to afford it, but it’s worth it. And that, folks, is the key to this market. People will spend almost anything on their beloved pets. And I understand why. With this conference coming up, I’m hoping the food and pharmaceutical industries come together to create better, more cost effective products to improve the health and lifestyle of our pets. I’m hoping the regulatory agencies take notice and ensure our pets get the best and most effective medicines without painful side effects. My vet is one of those very consciencious vets who gives me the pros and cons of everything I give my dogs. He tells me that if after a month, things haven’t changed, I should discontinue use. While I understand the industry’s need to make money, I hope that it is because they are delivering high quality, state-of-the-art products. I will keep you posted about what I learn when I attend this event. I represent the unbiased, objective party in the midst of the frantic chaos to get to the market first with the latest “scientifically proven” product! Warmest Regards, Roz