What Our Pets Teach Us About Marketing Relationships

Animals, especially pets, have a big job. They’re often used

Animals, especially pets, have a big job. They’re often used in marketing to attract attention, they provide tips on how to do email marketing and they’re our companions.

These pets of ours can also teach us about relationships, and more specifically, the relationships we develop with our audience. Some of our AWeber pets volunteered to pass on their wisdom to our readers…

Sadie: Be Respectful

Ed Long, Web Developer, says that while Sadie looks all cute and nice, she has a lot of attitude.

And just like it’s tempting to believe that Sadie is all angel, it’s also tempting to believe that every email address you have wants to be on your mailing list. But you have to respect people’s privacy, and only add people that have specifically requested to be on your mailing list in order to avoid spam complaints.

Zach: Help Each Other Out

Heather Geiger, Customer Solutions Specialist, has a mutually beneficial relationship with her horse, Zach. He counts on her for the carrots, and she knows that he’s always up for a ride.

Relationships with your subscribers works the same way. Your subscribers can bring in more sales and referrals, while you provide valuable content and products.

Otis: Take Baby Steps

Joe Hackney, Customer Solutions Specialist, has to teach his 10-month-old Corgi, Otis, about the world. From house training to tricks, what’s okay to eat and where he can’t lay down, Otis has lots of new rules to learn.

Your subscribers may need help from you to learn how to use your product or service. Make sure you provide detailed instructions, FAQs and how-to articles (hint: follow ups are great for this).

Scout: Earn Their Trust

Liz Cies, Public Relations Specialist, is seen here with Scout. Scout’s a little nervous about being outside the comforts of home, but she trusts Liz will protect her.

You need your subscribers’ trust as well. They’re giving you their email address plus any other information you ask for, so include your privacy policy and make sure you stick to the expectations you set for them.

Rylie: Celebrate Holidays Together

Megan Keenan, Customer Solutions Specialist, gets her dog Rylie pumped up for the holidays so they can celebrate together.

This is an easy one to work in your email campaign. You can send subscribers a gift or coupon on holidays, or provide helpful tips to help them prepare for whatever holiday is coming up.

Desmond: Avoid Being Overenthusiastic

Mike Smalley, Systems Administrator, loves his cat Desmond. And Desmond likes Mike – most of the time.

As long as your subscribers are subscribers, they like you. However, you can’t take advantage of that and start making changes – like go from sending one a week to every day. If you do want to make those changes, give your subscribers the option to stay at the frequency they’re at.

Jerry: Cheer Them Up

Anthony Acquaviva, Customer Solutions Specialist, knows that Jerry can fix any bad mood he’s in.

If you provide that same role with your subscribers, they’ll be sticking around for awhile! Try to use a friendly, personal tone and also check you email to make sure it’s relevant and ready to go before sending it out.

Cookie: Think Outside the Box

Robert Murphy, Customer Solutions Specialist, knows Cookie loves attention. And what better way for a dog to get attention than to get in costume?

Don’t be shy about getting fun and clever with your emails once in awhile – share something about your company’s culture, your personal life or anything else your subscribers will find interesting.

Have Your Pets Taught You Business Lessons?

Feel free to share them with us below.


  1. Debra Jason

    10/24/2012 12:33 pm

    Beautiful post. I’ve written a few blog posts about pets & marketing as well as my beautiful golden retriever Ike – the best social networker I knew.

    Will share your post with others. Thanks. ~Debra

  2. Shawn Hessinger

    10/24/2012 5:52 pm

    Hi Crystal,
    I once had a cat that would bite me in the leg when she wanted me to turn the lights out so she could go to sleep. Maybe the lesson there is something about paying attention to your customers…but hopefully before they bite. 🙂

  3. Ti Roberts

    10/24/2012 11:27 pm

    This is a wonderful article Aweber! I especially love that you’ve used our pets as examples to show us how to treat our list. I must admit, I haven’t always treated my list with the proper respect that they deserved; however, recently I’ve had a full awakening and I’be made a complete 180.

    Email marketing is all about building relationships and trust. The way I write my emails now is the same way I would if I were talking to an old friend. My list is very responsive to this approach and I’m thoroughly enjoying interacting with them. People do business with people they know, like and trust. And by treating your subscribers like a circle of best friends you’ll definitely continue to thrive.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post on BizSugar.com. I appreciate it!


  4. Randall Magwood

    10/25/2012 1:42 am

    I have a dog and he has taught me how to communicate with him without yelling. Similarly, I speak to my readers online without using “loud” words or “hypey” text. Patience is a virtue, and it’s something that I’ve learned from my dog.

  5. Lucian Mihailescu

    10/25/2012 2:24 pm

    Great article! My cat actually helps me with my Instagram marketing campaign ! 🙂

  6. Terri Cooper

    10/25/2012 2:32 pm

    Thank you, I really enjoyed this post! It reminded me that we will pay attention to what interests us and marketing and pets got my attention:)

  7. Sylvia Garcia

    10/25/2012 2:46 pm

    My miniature poodle, Zoe, has taught me so much but the most important thing she’s taught me is compassion in it’s purest form. I love my little Velcro dog!

  8. Caroline

    10/25/2012 8:36 pm

    My dog recently died and left me gutted. It was a gruelling 5 week battle with cancer, so I wrote a blog and made a video about what he taught me.

    He taught me that we should have no expectations of our prospects and that “selling” should not be our focus. It’s about giving the best you can to help prospects & Clients solve their problems. In helping our Clients, we get taken care of in the process.

    Here’s the video. I still can’t watch it all the way through without getting a bit teary! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot_8uGcgca0&feature=share&list=UUHddCDhoROVXSIrT2EfzaGg

  9. Heather Stone

    10/25/2012 11:30 pm

    Hi Crystal,
    Thanks so much for sharing this creative post with the BizSugar community. I think pets are something we can all relate to and using this as a way to think about marketing is a great idea. I’ve enjoyed the comments both on your blog and on BizSugar and am happy to have you as a contributor.

  10. Rosemary

    10/26/2012 1:01 am

    Our pet ewe lamb taught us compassion, consistancy, kindness, non agression and compassion. if we apply that to people we would come across as people who have the same characteristics. Rose Layard

  11. Winston Marsh

    10/26/2012 1:52 am

    A Lesson from Sharnie!
    Most probably you haven’t met Sharnie but I’ll bet you’ve met another like her! Let me explain.

    Sharnie is my much-loved tri-coloured Border Collie dog. She came to me as a birthday gift from my wife designed to stop me selling the family home and moving into a city unit. From the moment she arrived, Sharnie knew exactly what she had to do… suck up to me unquestioningly and unsparingly.
    Obviously sucking up that way is a great technique because Sharnie has won her way into my heart and there’s no way I could sacrifice her for the joys of city living.

    But there is another reason I couldn’t get rid of her either and that’s because of the lessons this extremely intelligent dog teaches me. Here are just some of them and they, no doubt, will be as relevant to you as they are to me:

    1. Always anticipate the best
    Sharnie and I go for a run every morning and the joy of that is heightened for her because I kick or throw a tennis ball for her to chase as we run. Generally I supply the tennis ball but, on occasions, I don’t take it or it disappears down the mouth of a drain.
    Does the absence or loss of the tennis ball worry Sharnie?
    Only momentarily.
    And why only momentarily? Because Sharnie expects to find another one and just runs along with that expectation… and guess what?
    She finds another one! No problems, no fuss.
    Why? Because she expected to… she gets what she expects.
    And it’s just as true for us humans— we get what we expect. If we expect the worst we get the worst; if we expect the best we get the best. The only uncertainty is how long it will take before expectations become reality… sometimes it’s only a moment, other times it’s almost forever. But it does happen.
    So learn from Sharnie. Expect the good things and they will surely come to you.

    2. Persistence works
    In our backyard we have a pool and Sharnie likes nothing more than to have a ball thrown into the pool and wait patiently for it to float to the edge where she can pluck it out, dump it at your feet and wait for you to throw it in the pool again.
    Now this game doesn’t appeal to some people who visit us and tries the patience of others so that either they don’t start throwing the ball or they rapidly tire of doing so.
    Does this deter Sharnie? No, she knows the power of persistence! She simply drops the ball at your feet and keeps on doing it until you pick the ball up and throw it. Guess what-it works.
    I think it was Calvin Coolidge who said that persistence is omnipotent, meaning that persistence is all-powerful, and that’s true for you and me. Nothing succeeds like persistence. Too often we give up after a couple of failures and never achieve our goal.
    Learn from Sharnie – persist!

    3. Every day is a new day
    When I get out of bed every morning, my first mission, after the bathroom visit of course, is to let Sharnie in and, no matter what my state of mind, Sharnie let’s me know that it’s a brand new day and that everything starts all over. Even if she had been scolded the day before, she’s forgotten about it. Even if I didn’t lavish affection on her the previous night, she’s forgotten about it. Even if I forgot to feed her, she’s forgotten about it.
    You see she forgets all of the trials, troubles and tribulations of previous times and lives for the moment. She knows that the dawn of a new day erases the mistakes and problems of the past.
    Learn from Sharnie, when you treat every day as a brand new day and you don’t carry the baggage forward— every day is a great day.

    4. If you are happy let the people know
    Sharnie’s tail wags incessantly and she always seems to have a big cheerful grin on that face of hers letting me know that she’s having a great time. You can tell from every fibre of her being that she’s happy and she wants the world and me to know it. Yet, when we go running in the morning, we meet so many people who respond to my cheerful “hello”? with a grunt at best and nothing at worst. I always tell Sharnie that they are probably not going to have the best of days because they are not all that happy or least ways they’re not showing it. If you are happy you should let people know.
    Happiness is like manure— it works best when you spread it around.

    Learn from Sharnie, try spreading your happiness around and see how much comes back to you.

    It’s often said that the world is “going to the dogs”? and that’s generally meant disparagingly. However, when you look at how Sharnie views life, going to the dogs can mean you get a whole lot more out of life.

    Why not try going to the dogs or doing what dogs do on a regular basis? It’ll change your life!

  12. Carlo

    10/26/2012 6:40 am

    Oh, heck yeah… my little Pete has taught me to be patient. I have come to realize that some people who have signed up to receive my newsletters have taken a big step, just by doing that. Which means it can take a while for some readers to “warm up” to the idea of getting more involved; commenting and making purchases. The key is to remain patient.
    Some people need more time to figure out if what they’ve signed up for is exactly what they’re 100% “all in” to actually receive.

  13. Crystal Gouldey

    10/26/2012 10:13 am

    Wow, I love hearing all these stories about your pets! And they’re all teaching us more marketing lessons as well, which is perfect.

  14. Lucy Smith

    10/28/2012 10:34 pm

    Aren’t pets the best?

    I wrote a blog post a couple of weeks ago on the marketing lessons I drew from when our cat went missing for a couple of days. (He returned, safe and sound!)

  15. Greg Peters

    11/2/2012 9:37 pm

    If I were to look to my dog for this sort of lesson, I think all I’d learn is…pee everywhere quick before you get in trouble!!!!

  16. Myriam

    11/21/2012 6:43 am

    The lessons i took from my passed away dog alfy was to trust!