The Rise of the Cat

Over the years, I’ve heard numerous references to becoming a “crazy cat lady,” or jokes that I need the sweatshirt reading, “cats are purrrrrrrfect.” And if owning a cat makes me crazy, then I’m in good company, because 45.3 million other U.S. households also own cats, with most owning more than one feline. In total, U.S. households own 95.6 million cats, compared to just 83.3 million dogs[i]. (And just to clarify–I only have one cat–but I still want the sweatshirt.)

The rise of the cat was evidenced at this year’s Global Pet Expo, where the new product showcase featured nearly as many new items for cats as for dogs, a striking change compared to previous years, when the new product section for cats was almost an afterthought.

So what’s driving this upward trend of cat ownership? One factor is the urbanization of the United States. As more people move from rural areas into cities, and often into smaller living spaces, cats become a more viable option for potential pet parents than dogs. It’s hard to imagine living with a medium-to-large size dog in a city apartment, but it’s easy to picture oneself with a small 8 lb. cat. Urbanization is also a main reason why we have seen an increase in small dog ownership.

And for potential pet parents–meaning the more than 90% of pet owners who consider their animals an integral part of the family–cats offer an added flexibility in terms of lifestyle, as cats can be fairly self-sufficient and independent. A cat does not come with the added responsibility of taking it out for a walk or to use the bathroom, but still provides the companionship and social support that pet owners are looking for.

Most recently, cat ownership has become more socially acceptable in pop culture. Taylor Swift is frequently seen walking about New York City with one of her cats, and she famously tweeted a photo of a cat scratch, saying her cat Meredith Grey cost her $40 million. Katy Perry, Kesha, and Ricky Gervais are other celebrities who are not bashful about owning cats. In late March, the NY Times ran an op-ed that portrayed female celeb cat owners as the new face of women’s independence.

For brands and marketers, an upward trend in cat ownership doesn’t mean that you automatically need to start creating cat-sized versions of your products. However, cat ownership is becoming an increasingly important aspect to consider when building a robust consumer profile of your target audience.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s animal healthcare and pet marketing programs, please contact Rose Feor at 585.421.0100.

[i] MINTEL, America’s Pet Owners, September 2014

Social Media Campaign

Martino Flynn Client Receives Retail TouchPoints’ Social Mavens Award

Influencers and AdvocatesKeeping up with business trends and new technology is essential to a company. One particular trend—which has proven time and time again to be more than just a fad—is the use of social media. Businesses now have the ability to target and speak directly to consumers who show an interest in their brand—making social media a vital component to any brand’s communication strategy.

Over the past few years, Martino Flynn has worked with dozens of clients in the social space to gain momentum, followers, awareness, and engagement. One campaign recently was recognized by Retail TouchPoints, in its inaugural Social Media Mavens Awards.

Martino Flynn was tasked, in the 2014 back-to-school season, with re-energizing the Softlips® Lip Balm brand image to combat declining sales and loss of retail shelf space. The introduction of the new Softlips® Cube lip balm fueled a variety of tactics, including print advertisements in top beauty books, traditional public relations, and social media. Social media was chosen as a main driver of earned awareness, given the Cube’s target audience of women age 16-24 already are prolific in the online space. Overall, campaign messaging was tailored to this audience surrounding key product differentiators. Messages were driven by compelling coupons, promotions, giveaways, and shareable media and graphics.

During the campaign, Martino Flynn worked with Softlips® and Influenster® to boost social engagement and introduce the Cube to more than 10,000 Millennials through the use of VoxBox distributions. Influenster VoxBoxes required recipients to interact with the Softlips brand on social media channels, as well as post photos and feedback on retailer websites. During the campaign period, Martino Flynn focused on responding to each and every brand mention with a “like,” favorite, re-tweet, direct reply, or comment, responding to hundreds of posts daily. During the distribution period, Softlips® had a significant increase in its social following and engagement rates.

Some highlights from the Influenster campaign included:

  • The brand generated more than 30 million online impressions, including:
    • 9 million impressions and 16,000+ interactions on Twitter
    • 11 million impressions and 8,000+ interactions on Facebook
    • 8 million impressions and 5,000+ interactions on Instagram, plus
    • 1 million+ offline conversations
  • Each Facebook post organically reached between 2,000 and 9,000 people (up from 500 to 1,000 people).
  • The Softlips Twitter account gained more than 3,000 organic followers in three months.
  • Four Softlips terms and hashtags trended nationally during an Influenster Twitter chat.
  • Instagram gained more than 3,000 followers, with average post engagement increasing from 0 to more than 200.
  • Softlips gained more than 4,000 followers on Pinterest.
  • Softlips secured placements in many retailers in the front of key accounts; and
  • Sales are exceeding forecasts.

Social media can have a direct impact on sales – if done right. After the Softlips® campaign through Influenster®, testers were surveyed to determine the Cube’s overall impression with the audience. It was found that more than 70% of testers intended to buy a Softlips® Cube again, and 42% already had purchased another Softlips® product by the time they were surveyed.

For this work and the impressive results that followed, Retail TouchPoints recognized Softlips® Lip Balm in Social Influencers and Advocates category. Softlips® was recognized among 12 other globally recognized brands, including Kohl’s, Staples, Marc Jacobs, Jamba Juice, and Lilly Pulitzer.

If your business is looking to develop an integrated social media strategy with results like these, Martino Flynn is ready to work with you. To learn more about our social media marketing capabilities, call us at 585.421.0100.


Three Steps for a Successful Medical Device Product Launch

Agencies that focus on medical device marketing experience speed bumps, forks in the road, and detours on a regular basis. The fact is, when working with a client to launch a new product into the healthcare community, an agency needs to not only provide strategy and guidance, but it also needs to have a backup plan.

The three phases involved in an effective medical device product launch are Client Input and Communications, Strategy and Tactical Planning, and Execution and Implementation.

Client Input and Communications

The first phase in the process is critical; strong input in the beginning and continued communications throughout will ensure that overall goals and objectives are clearly defined and ultimately achieved. Input should include:

  • Product information (perhaps information on previous iterations of the product)
  • Target audience data
  • The competitive landscape and market share data
  • A unique selling proposition—a compelling reason why a healthcare professional should buy the product—with data to substantiate it
  • Quantifiable objectives and/or return on investment expectations

Also important to the success of the launch is how forthcoming clients are throughout the process with information around Food and Drug Administration (FDA) milestones. Since medical devices require a pre-market submission to the FDA before marketing them, the actual launch date may be contingent on receiving final regulatory approval. An unpredictable FDA timeline for pre-market approval can have a significant impact on the launch plan. Information on and consideration of the FDA timeline and a backup strategy can help minimize last-minute scrambling once FDA approval is obtained.

Strategy and Tactical Planning

Once the agency is well informed on the product and the keys to its success, strategic messaging and creative concepts that will drive all external and internal tactics can be developed. These might include sales training tools, sales collateral and support tactics, advertising and promotion, and trade show support. The extent of what’s developed will be driven by a variety of factors, such as, among others, the needs of the sales force, the competitive landscape, and, of course, the budget.

In addition, the agency is tasked with development of a comprehensive timeline that allows for the unexpected and identifies anticipated deliverable dates of all elements. The timeline enables members of the agency and client teams to have a clear understanding of the scope, timing, and implementation of the product launch.

Execution and Implementation

Hopefully, once it’s time for this phase, FDA approvals are in place and preparation can be made for printing and dissemination of what has been developed through the appropriate channels.

There is a cliché in the advertising business that is especially true when it comes to new product launches: “Strategy is everything, and execution is everything else.” The best strategy and tactical plan in the world will prove useless if the execution and implementation of the product launch fail. The best agencies make sure that this final stage is executed flawlessly to maximize favorable results.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s healthcare marketing capabilities, please call 585.421.0100.


Martino Flynn goes global!

Actually, we’ve been global since 2005. That’s when we joined the Marketing & Advertising Global Network (MAGNET). MAGNET is the world’s most successful network of innovative and entrepreneurial independent advertising agencies. MAGNET members collaborate closely as colleagues and friends, working in partnership to capitalize on new commercial opportunities. We share resources, best practices, and insights in order to drive the growth and success of our clients, our agencies, and the network.

Cooperating with – rather than competing against – each other, MAGNET members form a peer group of affiliated agencies that share content, community, and commerce. MAGNET is comprised of approximately 40 agencies across six continents. I have been privileged to serve as a MAGNET board member for the past 6 years. Without a doubt, MAGNET has made Martino Flynn a better agency, not to mention one that can honestly claim global reach. We’ve made a lot of friends along the way – friends who have become trusted confidantes. Many agencies do business together. MAGNET members toast to each other’s success and help pick each other up in difficult situations. One member says that MAGNET is his continuing MBA education. I could not agree more.

Before joining MAGNET, Ray, Chris, and I only had each other to figure out what was best for Martino Flynn. We certainly couldn’t talk intimately with our local competitors! At times, it felt like we were in our own little tunnel. Now we have more than three dozen experts on our team! So if you can find and join a peer group similar to MAGNET in your business field, I would strongly recommend doing so.

For more information about MAGNET, feel free to visit the organization’s website at

The Official Blog of Martino Flynn