Master Your Marketing, Boost Your Business: An Interview with Lynn Switanowski
Savvy business owners understand the value of marketing for your future success. In the competitive pet retail marketplace, standing out and seeking out trends are essential tools to staying ahead of the competition.
Are you engaged in social media? Are you involved in community events? Are you exploring new technology to meet your customers’ needs? If the answer is yes, wonderful! You’re well on your way to mastering marketing. If the answer is no, now is the time to take the next step toward marketing success. Either way, read on for tips from marketing expert Lynn Switanowski, President of Creative Business Consulting Group (CBCG), an International Retail Consulting firm that partners with retailers to create and implement sales, marketing and inventory management strategies:
Evolve with your audience
The pet industry is changing as people’s perception of their pets has changed. “Pets are kids today,” says Switanowski. “This generation doesn’t just treat their pets like pets; they’re surrogate children, and consumers are just as invested in their pet child as they would be a human child.” What does this mean for marketing? Pet people are more engaged and more connected to the goods and services they’re purchasing for their pets. Successful retailers will tap into that engagement in order to influence decision-making.
Connect where your customers are
Your customers are on social media—which means you need to be, too. “Don’t toss your e-mail newsletter list yet, but instead shift your focus to other marketing vehicles,” Switanowski says. “Deliver your marketing messages in a way that reaches your consumers. Let them know you’re on Facebook and Instagram. Connect with them through in-store marketing.”
It’s a fast-paced world we’re living in, and success relies on adaptation. “Consumers got smarter faster and there’s a gap between them and retailers,” Switanowski says. While she asserts that it’s important not to modernize simply for modernization’s sake, she does recommend taking a few important steps into the digital age: Implement technology like digital signage and QR codes to connect more effectively. Show videos on in-store tablets. Connect customers to blogs with useful tips that position you as an expert in the industry. Optimize your website to be viewed on a mobile device.
Engage with your community
Finally, never underestimate the power of grassroots marketing. “Put yourself out there and let people know who you are, what you do and that you’re a valuable part of the community,” Switanowski concludes. Sponsor a local team or a charity event. Host a community dog walk or festival. Participate in local pet parades. Partner with other retailers in your vicinity. “The key is to be a good community soldier, support people in your town and get in front of other audiences that may not yet know about you.”
Whip Your Marketing Into Shape
For more useful tips from Lynn Switanowski, attend her expertly led Marketing Boot Camp, a four-hour session tailored directly toward the needs of pet retailers at SuperZoo 2016. Register before space runs out!
Show Us Your Good Works
The WPA Good Works program is all about bringing the pet industry together. Show off your shop’s work in the community and enter for a chance to win $1,000 donated to a charity of your choice! Show us your Good Works today!