Breeder’s Own Pet Foods, Inc. sees a growth opportunity in the retail dog food market for its nutritionally balanced, high quality dog food brand Breeder’s Mix, which has been traditionally sold to the show dog kennel market. The dog food consists of 85% fresh meat and 15% high quality fortified cereal with no additives or preservatives (Kerin and Peterson, 2013). One of the challenges for Breeder’s Own is breaking into an already saturated market. However, based on recent interest from dog food owners in organic, all natural, preservative free dog foods, Breeder’s Own can capitalize on this market share with their product, Breeder’s Mix. Initially, Breeder’s Mix would be marketed in the Boston, Massachusetts’s area since this area is representative of national averages for pet ownership and expenditures for pet products. Breeder Mix would be distributed to supermarkets since 36% of all dog foods sales come from supermarkets (Kerin and Peterson, 2013).
Problem IdentificationTraditionally, dog food is produced as dry, canned, or treats. Breeder’s Mix is a nutritionally balanced frozen dog food. Since the food must be located in the frozen section of supermarkets, one marketing strategy will be to educate dog owners to shop for dog food in a non-traditional location. A second challenge will be to convince the target audience that Breeder’s Mix is a better and healthier product for their pet than the traditional dry or canned food. Since Breeder’s Own Pet Foods is a relative unknown name in the retail dog food market, it does not have brand equity, meaning it is not recognizable or well known for having superior quality. Lack of brand equity presents an additional challenge of convincing a target audience to purchase a new product. Currently, the competition consists of five major companies who dominate the market and account for 75% of all dog foods sales. There are over 350 dog food brands in the United States produced by about 50 different manufacturers (Kerin and Peterson, 2013).
With such a saturated market, Breeder’s Own will need to have an aggressive advertising campaign in order to establish brand recognition. Root Problem ComponentsThe primary root problem component is establishing brand recognition. Breeder’s own will need to accomplish this through creating an identity the public can identify with, pricing strategies, and making the public aware of Breeder’s Mix high quality ingredients. Once a company had established positive brand equity, it becomes easier to introduce a new product since consumers will associate that product with a successful brand. Breeder’s Own needs to evaluate who their target audience is. The majority of consumers do not associate dog food with frozen food. Furthermore, frozen dog food may not appeal to the average consumer due to the preparation and thawing requirements.
Another root problem component would be convincing the supermarkets to give up valuable freezer space to showcase Breeder’s Mix.SWOT MatrixStrengths: • Nutritionally balanced, high quality dog food • Consists of fresh meat 85% and high quality fortified cereal 15% – no additives or preservatives • Breeder’s Mix has been used by show dogs in kennel market and has been recommended by dog show owners for years. • Improvement in dog’s coat • Uncooked to retain nutrition and frozen to maintain freshness. | Opportunities: • Opportunity to be the first to tap into frozen dog food market. Would be the only dog food located in the freezer section, so if you can educate consumers to shop for dog food in the frozen food section, Breeder’s Own would have a competitive advantage. • Opportunity to educate consumers on health benefits for pets by eating nutritionally balanced food. • Opportunity to capitalize on growing popularity of premium, higher quality, higher priced dog food.
• Opportunity to lay groundwork for national rollout of Breeder’s Mix. |Weaknesses: • Lack of availability in all stores • Lack of appeal to consumers due to thawing time / freezer space (convenience) • Lack of appeal to supermarkets due freezer location • Lack of brand equity in retail market • Premium price | Threats: • Store Location – Consumer must be educated to find product in different area of store • Saturated market – sales top 14 million in 2011. Dog food is also heavily advertised, so the challenge is to entice the consumer to buy Breeder’s Mix. • Competition – 5 major brand name dog food companies dominate market with 75% of US dog food sales • Challenge to get supermarkets to give up valuable freezer space for dog food |Evaluation of AlternativesBreeder’s Own Pet Foods product development strategy should be evaluated. Currently only 1 out of 10 dog owners regularly buy frozen or refrigerated dog food and ¾ of those surveyed expressed no interest in purchasing frozen dog food (Kerin and Peterson, 2013).
This indicates that there is a limited market for dog owners who would be interested in a product such as Breeder’s Mix. Research does suggest however that frozen dog food dollar volume is increasing annually indicating there is a strong opportunity for Breeder’s Own to be the first to tap into the frozen dog food market in the Boston area. Breeder’s Own Dog Foods needs a strong marketing campaign to convince consumers their brand is superior to traditional dry or canned dog foods. In order to attract customers, Breeder’s Own should emphasize the hallmark characteristics of its brand such as superior all natural quality ingredients and the ability to produce a luxurious fur coat on the pet. By emphasizing the superior quality, Breeder’s Own will be able to capitalize on the guilt concept of “shouldn’t your dog eat as well as you do”. Since consumers do not typically associate dog food with frozen food, consumers will need to be educated to shop for dog food in a different location in the store. This will be a key component in the advertising strategy for both print and electronic media. Offering various coupon promotions would be a way to direct consumers to the freezer isle in order to get a discounted product.
The lack of competition in the freezer section may also draw attention to the product.RecommendationBreeder’s Own should implement the higher advertising expenditure plan devised by Marketing Momentum Unlimited utilizing both print and television mediums with a few adjustments. Average advertising expenditures in the dog food industry is 2% of sales (Kerin and Peterson, 2013). In order for Breeder’s Own to gain brand equity, it may initially need to spend more in advertising dollars to increase awareness of their unique product. Target Market – The suggested target audience for Breeder’s Mix should be adjusted to affluent families, singles, and married couples between the age of 21-54. Due to the view that pets are members of the family, the target audience should be aimed primarily towards people who treat their dogs as they would one of their children. The target audience would also be those who spend a significant amount of money on their pets annually and believe the health and welfare of their dog is of highest importance and therefore is willing to spend more to get the best for their pet. Price Point – Breeder’s Mix should be priced competitively compared to other premium brands.
Therefore, it is recommended that Breeder’s Own charge a premium price for their product to reflect the high quality of the product that the consumer is purchasing. Typically, more affluent families who view their pets as part of the family will be willing to spend more to ensure their pet receives the best. However, the price point may be too high for the average consumer who buys dog food at the grocery store. Distribution – The one advantage to distributing Breeder’s Mix to grocery stores would be lack of competition for a frozen dog food product. The downside would be the lack of convenience and appeal to the average dog food consumer. The food takes time to prepare due to thawing time and it takes up valuable household freezer space. With the majority of dog owners preferring dry dog food, price and convenience may trump superior quality ingredients. Therefore, instead of distributing Breeder’s Mix to supermarkets, the distribution should be adjusted to cater to pet specialty stores, pet superstores such as PetSmart and Petco, and veterinarian offices. The distribution could even be expanded to whole food stores who promote healthy lifestyles. The test market should also be expanded beyond Boston to other select cities in order to prepare for a national roll-out of Breeder’s Mix. Advertising – Advertising will be a key component to the successful introduction of Breeder’s Mix.
Breeder’s Own should focus on the benefits of the Breeder’s Mix Dog Food in comparison to other brands. It is also critical that the advertisements clearly show that Breeder’s Mix is found in the freezer section. Initial strategies should include focusing on product and brand identification. The media plan should include advertising in local newspapers and magazines such as Dog Fancy along with coupon promotions. The television ads should be adjusted to reach the target audience. Rather than advertising during late night timeslots such as during the Late Show with David Letterman, television advertisements should run during family programming, evening news, and channels such as HGTV and Animal Planet to reach the target audience.
Online advertising is also a vital medium for Breeder’s Own to consider. Internet campaigns have the potential to reach a wider market than television since many people change the channel during a commercial. The Internet and social media is a major source for people to get information.Conclusion By marketing to people who consider dogs as part of the family, Breeder’s Own can be successful in the retail dog food market. More and more consumers are investing extensive time and money into their pets. Breeder’s Mix offers pet owners the healthy benefits they desire for their dogs as well as noticed improvement in the dog’s coat. With the right marketing mix of newspapers, magazines, online advertising, and television, Breeder’s Own should be able to reach their target audience. They have a unique product in Breeder’s Mix to offer to the discerning dog owner who wants the best for their pet.
Kerin, R. A., Peterson, R. A. (2013). Strategic marketing problems cases and comments (13th ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall