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Product Benefit vs Emotional Messages

Procter & Gamble’s Chief Brand Officer, Marc Pritchard made a few interesting comments in a teaser article on Ad Age recently. One in particular got me thinking about the pet owner experience before and during a veterinary exam:

It’s not “either” product benefit “or” emotional messages — it’s “and.”

Mr. Pritchard was talking about the need for marketing campaigns to be more entertaining in the digital/social media marketing landscape because viewership of the message is voluntary. At Pet Cause Media we’ve talked at length about how to keep pet owners interested and engaged with our waiting room education technology while simultaneously imparting important concepts they will remember when they step into the exam room.

A few thoughts occurred to me about the pet/veterinary-specific realm as they relate to Mr. Pritchard’s observation:

  • Know the audience. These are pet owners. “Cute” works. Always. Bring a smile to their faces and they will keep paying attention.

  • Know the mental state of audience. Pet owners in a waiting room are typically bored, anxious, or both. The content should deliberately acknowledge and soothe both of these emotions.

  • Tell ‘Em What They Can Do. This popular customer service 101 mantra (“Don’t tell them what you can’t do; tell them what you can do!”) applies here. Many well-intentioned – yet vague or alarming – educational messages can be found in the pet world. “Beware – it’s flea & tick season!” leaves the problem in the viewer’s lap. “Ask your doctor which flea/tick solution is best for your pet!” is far more helpful and delivers a positive message.

  • Leverage the drivers of Esteem and Belonging. One or both of these are behind every Post/Share/Tweet/Pin/Like/etc. on social media. They can be very powerful when applied to digital marketing. For example, “Give your cat heartworm prevention today” is a reasonable – but dull – call to action. “Make sure your cat is part of the fast-growing group starting heartworm prevention today!” is provocative and inclusive.

When it comes to pet health education, there’s a lot that can be communicated to pet owners. There must be a healthy balance of “things they need to know” and “things they want to see”. Ideally, the message will also comprise “things they want to repeat to others”.


About Pet Cause Media

Headquartered in Central Massachusetts, Pet Cause Media is the national leader for improving veterinary practice outcomes using data. Smart Outcomes™ is a portfolio of integrated client outreach technologies for veterinary offices that focus on just-in-time messaging. Veterinary staff are made aware of products, procedures and best practices to discuss with management, trainers and product reps. Pet owners, while in a “pet frame of mind”, are presented with contextually-relevant information to discuss with veterinary staff. Benefits include increased compliance, improved pet health outcomes, and elevated practice revenues. Visit for more details. Follow Pet Cause Media on Facebook and Twitter.


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