Economic: According an April 2004 American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. (APPMA) news release, pet owners are projected to spend "$2.2 billion for other [pet] services" in 2004 (Veter, 2011). That's a small portion of the more than $34 billion they will spend on all classes of pet care and product spending in 2004. The same APPMA news release reports that consumer spending on pet products has doubled from $17 billion to a projected $34 billion since 1994 when the APPMA first began tracking pet industry statistics.
Social: The sales strategy will be to develop a list of happy past customers who are willing to act as referrals for Big Dog. Once this list is developed, their names will be given out when a prospective client calls (May, 2009). The advantages of pet foster care are so obvious relative to kennels that it will not be difficult to sign people up. The flip side to this demand is that in order to maintain all of these advantages, the operation must stay small so there will not be the possibility of growing the operation beyond its capacity.
Competitive analysis: We have many competitors in the pet products industry (Vetere, 2011). Direct competitors are designers and manufacturers of elevated pet feeders and complementary products such as pet fountains. Other competitors include, but are not limited to, private companies:
* Doskocil Manufacturing Company (LeBistro feeders and waterers)
* Veterinary Ventures, Inc. (Drinkwell fountains)
* A Charmed Life (Elevated feeders)
Indirect competitors for pet-related purchases include, but are not limited to, large public pet products corporations:
* Nestle Purina PetCare
Large bricks and clicks retailers:
Online and catalog retailers:
* Drs. Foster & Smith
* Watson's Pet Company
Strategy: Big Dog will develop a loyal customer base through the use of a simple initial advertisement in the local newsletter, strategic alliances with veterinarians, and a word-of-mouth referral system. While this approach might seem a bit egotistical, based on the current service offerings for places to care for your canine, Big Dog is warranted in being a bit proud and assuming. Their service offering is unique and superior and will develop a loyal customer base quickly.
Goals: Big Dog believes that their service is so distinct and valuable, with no competition that little will be needed to build a customer base other than faithfully providing their service. Big Dog will be working with respected veterinarians as well as placing an advertisement in the Human Society newsletter as the means of communicating The Big Dog's availability to the general public. These will be the only strategies used to develop a loyal customer base.
Culture: Big Dog's target market is people who truly look out for their dog's best interests and can afford a pet foster family (Benett, 2010). Big Dog is targeting the market of people that believe there should be another alternative for the care of their dog. The other component of the target market are customers who can afford to keep a big dog in their house, since the typical suburban household income is $60,000.
Innovations: Dog owners consider cleaning up after their dog a major challenge. Unfortunately, currently available products offer dog owners little help as they are generally cumbersome to carry, crudely designed and manufactured, difficult to operate, and difficult to keep clean. Dog owners will welcome environmentally friendly products which can effectively address these problems (Vetere, 2011).
The pet industry is something which a lot of people invest money in The market for this industry is very small and select; not everyone is a pet lover
The product Big Dog offers is something unique which people would like to try out
Being in the economic state our country is in, the target market might get smaller
The marketing strategy will be through word-of-mouth and very personal
The start-up using this scheme may be very small
Groups of people who are inclined to spend on their pets have friends who are the same
The market for these people are small, especially since it is more specific -- big dogs, not just dogs