3 Things You Can Learn About Marketing from Your Dog
You may not know it, but your dog is a marketer and a darn good one at that. Here are three marketing lessons you can learn from man’s best friend:
1. Be Authentic
Sure, you’ve come home to an absolute mess before. But not like this. The front door swings open and you find that Bosco, your sweet golden retriever, decided it was in his best interest to annihilate the throw pillows on the couch and then dump the trash can. While you may have just reached levels of frustration that you didn’t even think were possible, let me ask you this: did Bosco act like a dog? Yes. Yes, he did.
More than just being pros at creating a huge mess, dogs are authentic. They give you unconditional love no matter what, think about you the entire time you’re at work (sometimes so much that they destroy the house), and no matter what mood you’re in, they still want to cuddle you and give you kisses. And what does it do to you? It melts you heart and strengthens the bond between you two.
The first takeaway from our fluffy friends is that no matter their behavior, dogs are good at being dogs. And if we can be good at being humans (authentic humans, that is), we will forge stronger connections with our intended audience. So stop selling, stop talking at your customers and begin a 1-1 dialogue where both parties learn about each other. Heck, become best friends! But know that the way to every customer’s heart is by being your authentic self. Customers want to see behind the curtain and know that on the other side, good people are taking care of them and thinking about their best interests. That’s how you get customers to repeatedly buy from you and advocate for your brand.
2. Know When to Say Sorry
Dogs know when they made a mistake. They put their heads down, tail in between their legs, and beg for our forgiveness by moping around the house. And who are we kidding? They look so cute when they’re guilty—so we often forgive them right away. As marketers, we’re not always the best at admitting when we made a BIG error. You know, the kind of error like when you email your suppression list of 200,000 agitated subscribers and you receive thousands of nasty replies (not saying that’s ever happened to anyone).
In line with the first point of being authentic, it’s critical that as marketers we know when to say sorry. By design, marketers are urged to push the boundaries of the so-called “norm” and it’s all to get the attention of our customers. So while it might be well-intentioned, we don’t always hit the mark and that can have negative consequences. It is at this crucial moment that we define ourselves. While you may be willing to try edgy messaging, it’s still vital that, as marketers, we continually place our customers at the forefront of our minds in everything we do. Are we willing to accept responsibility, say we are sorry, and humanize and humble ourselves and our brand? The answer should be, ‘yes’. And that’s a critical lesson our canine counterparts can teach us—we love dogs because they can admit their faults and want to repair the relationship and if we can do it too, our customers will love us.
3. Don’t Know When to Quit
Yes, you read that correctly. Don’t know when to quit. No matter how much you ask your pooch to stop begging at the table, what will he do? BEG, BEG, BEG, then beg some more. Then what do you do? Give him some food. That’ll do the trick, right? No! He continues to beg! Despite how irritatingly cute this sort of behavior can be, it can teach us two very import lessons. 1) Stay focused on one thing at a time and 2) Be persistent.
We marketers can be distracted by shiny objects (much like dogs)—meaning that we want to chase after every new idea that comes across the table (much like dogs). But when we can’t just focus on one thing, we divide our attention and efforts across too many priorities and find that we can’t succeed or do any one project well. So the point is to find the one or two projects that you think will move the needle, give them all of your focus, and don’t rest until you complete them from A-Z. The marketers that do well are the ones that do one or two projects well a quarter, not 15 projects poorly.
Lastly, don’t know when to quit or rather, don’t quit until you know it’s the right time. Follow your intuition, test, rewrite copy, and test again. Push on a new idea until you know with 100% certainty that it simply won’t work for the business. Learning to accept failure as a learning opportunity is possibly the most important career lesson you’ll ever learn.