As marketers, we need to be loyal to our brands, friendly to our customers, and tireless in chasing positive results. Occasionally, we may have to bark at sales (and understand what to do when they bark back), or herd flocks of sheepish leads in the right direction, but when we’re on point and bright eyed and bushy tailed, we’re definitely an organization’s best friend. In other words, we’re not just marketers; we’re also dogs… in the best possible way. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that so many marketers have dogs of their own. Beyond just cataloguing this canine connection, though, there are actually lessons good marketers take from good dogs. Along with what we’ve highlighted below, we hope you’ll share any pictures and pointers from your own marketer’s best friend on Twitter using the hashtag: #MarketingTails.
Focus, Strength & Loyalty (Maribeth Ross from Aberdeen Group and her dogs, Bauer, Daisy & Genny):
There’s power in a pack. I’ve come to learn this from being the mommy of 3 dogs. Each of them brings their own characteristics that collectively make them a very effective doggie communication machine! Bauer is the strong one; he is tenacious and gets it done. Most recently he got to the other side of the road, dragging me along for the ride. Daisy is focused nearly to the point of obsession. She knows what she wants and takes extra care to communicate what she wants, either by being adorable or making eye gestures to the item she wants (often a treat). Genny is the sweet, loyal dog that would do anything for you and makes that clear with her gratuitous affection (she can’t handle her licker). Together they make a formidable crew with a focus on what they want, the strength to get to it, and the loyalty to build relationships that make things happen. Sounds like a dream marketing team, huh?
Listen Carefully to Know Your Audience (Adele Revella of the Buyer Persona Institute, Inc., and her Bernese Mountain dog, Arie):
Arie has an uncanny ability to know the people around her. She watches everyone intently; tipping her head this way and that as she listens carefully, looking for cues about what would make them happy. That’s why I know she would be an incredible marketer, because unlike my husband’s puppy (and a lot of ineffective marketers), Arie doesn’t bark or jump on anyone, annoying them with demands to look at this or do that. Instead, she watches and waits for the moment when someone needs her, and then she springs into action. When I get off the phone she’ll come over and put her head gently on my knee, letting me know that she’s ready to take me on my walk so that I don’t just sit at my desk all day long. Yes, Arie would make a terrific marketer!
Combining Two Unexpected Breeds for One Awesome Result (Jessie Coan from Aberdeen Group and her Bullmastiff / Pit Bull Terrier mix, Nellie):
Nellie came to us a few years ago from the pound. She is a mix of two very powerful breeds with very strong characteristics – bullmastiff and pit bull terrier – making her very memorable to the people she meets. She is the best of both worlds and a great mixture of both breeds. She is the laziest dog on the planet, playing off her bullmastiff side, and with people she’s playful and charismatic, playing off her pit bull side. Both breeds are devoted to their families which makes her a great dog. When meeting folks for the first time, people always ask what kind of dog she is. People always seem to have a positive reaction – Nellie has a very gentle and sweet demeanor for her size, which surprises people.
The combination of two powerful breeds has created one amazing dog and a great example of how combining two unexpected elements can create positive results. The combination of something surprising, or something unexpected can be a great marketing technique when creating content or building a campaign. Pitting two sources against each other in a healthy debate for a blog article, or interviewing two competing brands for their reaction on industry news are just two great examples of the kinds of surprising and unexpected content that marketers can create. After all, combining two things that don’t feel like they would work well together can result in something more memorable and effective than you could image. As a marketer, that’s gold and gets results.
Using Manners & Intuition Like Data & Insight (Ann Handley from MarketingProfs & her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Abby):
Abby is a 10-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel. She is a rescue dog who came to live with us just shy of her first birthday: First as a foster, and then later as a permanent part of the family.
She is the kind of dog you like even when you don’t like dogs: She is gentle and mild around people, and she melts the disinterested shell right off of strangers, who can’t help but bend down to pet her as she sidles up to them.
“Aww, aren’t you a good girl?” they’ll say.
“Yes,” I always respond. “She’s something special.”
Is it a stretch to say that great marketing is a lot like Abby, too? I don’t think so.
Abby doesn’t present as a slobbery dog all up in your grill, licking your face and nudging your hands to pat her head and demanding your attention. She doesn’t make a mess of your clothes or annoy you when you’re busy doing something else.
Instead, she seems to know, intuitively, which people are in need of her, and those are the ones she parks herself in front of, gently pawing the air before them, as if she’s waving a small peace flag.
The best dogs have manners and intuition. The best marketers have data and insight.
The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing, as my friend Tom Fishburne says. The best dogs feel less like animals, and more like true companions, their soulful human eyes seeking ours.
Fighting the Good Fight (Andrew Moravick from Aberdeen Group and his Pit Bull, Fidel):
My dog Fidel is a fighter… in the best possible way. With his gentle demeanor, friendly attitude to people and other dogs, and semi-comical fear of cats, he fights many of the unfair stereotypes associated with his breed. With his kind eyes, happy tail, and soothing fur, he fights frowns into smiles everywhere he goes.
Like Fidel, as marketers, we need to be fighters too. We need to fight for quality content that delivers value while maintaining our organizations’ integrity. We need to fight to fuel emotion in our target audiences so that we build relationships along with revenue. We need to fight assumptions or trends within our markets that may be holding our buyers back. Marketing may not seem like a sphere where fighting is a part of the usual routine, but that’s just because we don’t fight in the usual way. Instead, like Fidel, we need to use passion, personality, communication, research, testing (Fidel is a master of A/B testing for his begging campaigns), intuition, and all the great things that make us who we are as our weapons to entertain and inform.
Do you have any additional marketing best practices embodied by your own canine companion? Share your stories below or tweet your own takeaways using the hashtag: #MarketingTails