What’s trending in new products at Global Pet Expo?

The Martino Flynn team was recently at Global Pet Expo, one of the pet care industry’s largest product expos and trade shows. Here are three of the key trends we saw emerging on the show floor—look for these products coming soon to a pet store near you!

Tech, Tech, and More Tech
From video “greet and treat” systems, to training aids, to a pet global positioning system (GPS), the pet care category is becoming much more high-tech. Both Motorola and Garmin had a substantial presence on the show floor with a variety of pet-focused tech products on display. Motorola showcased its video pet monitors— the “nanny cams” of the pet world. Known by most consumers for its navigation technologies, Garmin is bringing similar technologies to the pet space with two GPS dog collars on display.

In the new products showcase, tech-focused introductions included StarWalk, Voyce, and Whistle, which are activity and fitness monitors for dogs. Through these products, owners can monitor their dogs’ data via smartphone apps, a trend that mirrors what we have recently seen in the human space as well. Another high-tech product introduction was the iCPooch, which lets owners video chat with their dogs while away from home and remotely dispense treats. The iCPooch claims to help prevent loneliness while you’re away, which can be a big problem for owners whose dogs have separation anxiety, as this condition can lead to destructive pet behavior.
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Branding in Six Seconds

In January 2013, a new app called Vine was released into the “apposphere.” This app allows users to upload six-second videos for public viewing. Vine is currently one of the fastest-growing social networks, gaining an unprecedented 40 million users in just nine months. Even more startling is that many of the top influencers of Vine have already become celebrities, known as “Viners.” One Viner went from 3,000 to 1 million followers in just 30 days.

So how does Vine impact marketing? As with other social media sensations, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, marketers are already looking for ways to integrate Vine campaigns into the marketing mix. With a demographic that reaches a target of 10- to 23-year-olds, there is plenty of fodder for experimentation. The key is to market without actually advertising.

Traditional methods are often overt; nontraditional methods are more subtle. When advertising within a six-second vignette, the challenge is to not look too desperate, but to be noticed and remembered.

After Vine was introduced, several companies emerged that specialize in Vine advertising. One such company, Boomopolis, organizes the best Vine influencers to do sponsored posts on behalf of a brand. These partnerships include contests and public appearances with the influencers, who can often draw hundreds of fans. Bloomopolis handles the Viners; tracks them daily; and negotiates rates, contracts, and payment.

Brand experimentation on Vine started in March 2013 and has been growing steadily. In the beginning, brands were releasing Vine videos on their own but soon realized that the Vine celebrities hold the key to gaining interest and an audience. Some of the brands that have used Vine are: Lyft, Spotify, Hulu, GE, Wendy’s, Trident, Virgin Mobile, Disney, Urban Outfitters, and Jolly Rancher.

Types of Promotion on Vine

Sponsored posts: for a clothing company, this may be the influencer wearing the item of clothing and tagging the brand in the text of the post.

Contests: a group of influencers create a Vine about a brand and then ask their followers to make a better Vine about the brand. The winner receives a prize.

Public appearances: Viners call out a “MeetUp” in a particular city. Hundreds of fans then gather at that place, providing a great opportunity for a brand to do a promotion. To gain even more social exposure, fans can take a picture that includes the product and then post it on Instagram for a discount.

Why Advertise on Vine?

Vine distinguishes itself from YouTube and other Web video services because it’s viewed through one’s smart phone, the device most connected to the social universe. The platform is intimate because phones are associated with personal contacts, which creates the feeling that top Viner personalities are real friends. And these Vines are immediate, so the video may have just happened minutes ago, which is the next best thing to talking directly to a celebrity. Slipping a subtle brand display or mention into that mix results in serious traction. There is an opportunity for additional PR, since media outlets are reporting on brands and Vine.

As evidenced by the number of likes and revines, top Viners are getting an incredible amount of engagement for branded vines (e.g., 75,000 likes for GE).

Vineworthy?

Not every brand is suitable for Vine, but with a little exploration, it’s easy to see what people engage with, like, and share. If you have something that interests people between the ages of 10 and 23 years old, produce a Vine video—or better yet, build a program that enables loyal fans to do it for you!

6 Steps for Choosing the Right Research Methodology

When starting a research project, the most challenging question can often be, “What type of research do I need?” Selecting an appropriate research methodology is one of the key factors that can make or break a research project. Here are six factors to help you select the right research methodology.

Goals:

When selecting a research methodology, start with the end result—your research goals—as the first consideration. Carefully considering what your research project needs to accomplish will greatly inform the methodology selection. Are you just looking for more information? Do you need “go” or “no-go” decisions? Do you need to find out all the information in one fell swoop, or will you the have opportunity for follow-up research? Knowing what type of information you need to confidently possess at the project’s conclusion will often narrow your available methodologies right from the start.

Statistical Significance:

Once you have established your research goals, the next key factor for selecting a research methodology is the statistical significance of the results. When a result is statistically significant, it means that it is highly unlikely that the result occurred by chance alone. If you need definitive, clear, black-and-white, highly data-driven research results, or then you are generally looking for statistically significant answers. This means you will need quantitative data, and a large sample size, both factors that inform your research methodology. Statistical significance is key when extrapolating results from a sample set to a larger population, which is an important factor to consider in research.

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From People to Puppies: Four Human Trends Emerging in the Animal Care Market

Research shows that more than two-thirds of all dog owners consider their dog a member of their family—and not just a pet. This same opinion is shared among many cat, horse, and other animal owners as well. So what happens when consumers begin to value their pets as family members?

The animal care market has responded to this trend by introducing a variety of “crossover” products—ones that were originally developed for humans, but are now popping up in the pet marketplace. In general, pet care follows the same trends as humans, although it may be on a bit of a lag. From a marketer’s perspective, the human-to-pet crossover story can be seen in a number of ways:

1.    Gluten-Free

It was only a few years ago that Celiac disease and gluten intolerances began making headlines in consumer products—and now we are seeing the trend toward eliminating these ingredients emerge in pet care.

Similar to the philosophy that our ancestors did not eat heavily processed grains, and that a gluten-free diet is healthier, pet care companies are taking the stance that dogs, cats, and other animals are carnivores, and have introduced a variety of gluten-free, meat-based food products.

Companies such as Blue Buffalo, The Honest Kitchen, and Nutro have all introduced gluten-free pet foods, and are heavily marketing them as such.

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The Changing Healthcare Landscape: Why Medical Device Branding Matters

The medical device business, like the rest of healthcare, is an industry in flux. As healthcare reform takes hold, hospitals and providers are becoming ever more focused on how to deliver better quality for less cost. With this as a backdrop, the pressure to produce sales numbers and revenue remains. For some medical device companies, it’s all about the transaction—the sale, the contract, the acquisition, the next acquisition, and the one after that. It’s all about numbers, but as important as that is, numbers aren’t enough.

The danger now is that the “triple aim”, a framework that describes an approach for optimizing health system performance, has become the new healthcare trinity. This is based on:

  • Improving the patient experience (including quality and satisfaction)
  • Improving the health populations
  • Reducing costs

Because of this simple fact, success in the future may not come as it did in the past. In the healthcare market of the future, price levels and buying decisions will need to be justified by perceived gains linked to one or more of the triple aims.

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