Marketing: The art of making someone want what you have.
An old table I couldn’t give away on Freecycle becomes a one-of-a-kind rare antique on Craigslist. Suddenly the eyesore I was going to have to pay to get rid of becomes a hot ticket item with 10 inquiries.
Of course no one is going to want something if you make it clear from the outset that it’s un-wantable. Well, I guess if you can’t afford real furniture, maybe you’d like my handoffs…
Which leads me to next week’s Be the Change Challenge: The Adopt a Less Adoptable Pet Week from September 19-25.
Petfinder has done a fabulous thing in creating and promoting this idea to encourage the adoption of “less desirable pets”, and Be the Change for Pets is encouraging all bloggers, Facebookers and Twitter pals to help along in any of a variety of ways:
- Use Petfinder.com to find a less adoptable pet in your area, and blog about him or her.
- Create a Facebook post about the project. Feature a pet in need.
- Tweet a pet
- If you’re stuck for the right words, we’ll have template posts up by the end of the week for you to simply cut and paste into your blog, which you can change however you wish.
- We’ll also have press releases for you to use and send to your local media.
- Adopt 6 or 7 pets in need yourself (hey, I can dream big!)
The point is, there is no right or wrong way to participate as long as it gets you thinking and working. We also have some really cool incentives for participation that we’ll be announcing soon.
But let’s get back to the original concept I was talking about, marketing. ‘Less Adoptable’ is pretty quantifiable, if you look at the pets who take the longest to place. Senior pets. Pets with medical issues. Specific breeds. Specific colors. We have allowed them to be marketed as less desirable, and we go along with it.
I will say this, and it is an honest statement. The WORST pets I see at work are the dogs and cats from pet stores at the mall. They have the most congenital disease, the worst temperaments, the shoddiest breeding en toto than any collective group from the other sources people use to obtain pets (ie breeders, rescues, and shelters.)
We have allowed pet store owners to market their puppy mill wares however they see fit, ill-bred dogs of indeterminate origin with questionable pedigrees from some made-up kennel association that people EAT UP. I have clients who insist their 30 pound, short-haired needle nosed dog is a purebred Pomeranian because the pet store told them so. And they paid $500 for the privilege.
Too much work keeping the breeds apart? Let them mix! Oh, yes, we have a litter of shnippertzudoodles, they are very rare. It’s $1500 instead of $1200 for this unique and most unusual of ‘designer breeds’. Instead of shaking our heads in disgust at these people, we need to be taking notes. Yes, it’s sneaky. But it works. It’s a good idea. We should steal it.
Instead of focusing on the sad-sack stories of these rescue pets, we need to remind people of what makes them so unique. The most loyal dogs I have ever owned are the dogs I have rescued:
- Nuke, the 10 year old radiology department dog who spent his life in the teaching hospital kennel before coming to live with me.
- Mulan, the 6 year old who was going to be put down because of her flea allergies. “No one will want her,” her former owner told me when I refused to perform the euthanasia.
- Koa, the 7 year old black lab who was returned to the rescue because she cried when her owner left her alone outside the 8 hours a day she was at work.
Brody has lived with me since he was 10 weeks old. He is secure and confident in his life. My rescues know better. They know that humans sometimes suck. They look at me with a gratefulness that breaks my heart every day.
Thank you, they say as they follow me from room to room. I am safe. I am yours.
My own personal challenge for this upcoming week is to challenge the assertion that these pets are less adoptable to begin with. Adopt an Eminently Adoptable Pet Week, that’s what I say.
If you have any stories of your own wonderful ‘less desirables’ that you’d like to share, lay them on me. I’m assembling ammunition for my campaign. 🙂