The Farmer’s Dog is the first pet food company to produce their food in a human manufacturing facility. The Farmer’s Dog marketing strategy lead the company to double in size each year. The Farmer’s Dog is a pet food subscription service that delivers freshly made recipes with the help of veterinarians. The Farmer’s Dog uses human-grade meat and veggies in their recipes in order to maintain whole food and nutritional integrity. The Farmer’s Dog leaves out the preservatives, “meals”, and label tricks, often used by commercial food brands.
The Farmer’s Dog Vs. Commercial Dog Foods
Commercial dog foods in pet stores advertise their products by what is pictured on the bags or cans. In reality, many companies use label tricks to convince consumers that the products on the bags are what is in the food they are selling. But often, the labels do not contain all the ingredients in the dog food or even include extra ingredients that the food does not contain. Did you know that diseased meats are allowed in dog foods as long as they are cooked at high heat?
The owners of The Farmer’s Dog came to a realization that pet food marketing was becoming an alarming reality for dog owners everywhere. Now The Farmer’s Dog markets their product as a healthier and safer alternative to commercial dog food. The Farmer’s Dog has worked with top vet nutritionists to create fresh and convenient pet food. They implement quality and safety standards that are much stricter than the standards set in place now.
The food they have come to create is nutritionally complete and balanced for dogs and even safe enough for humans to eat. Their meals are customizable to fit your pet’s preference or dietary needs and vary in price. You get to enter details about your dog like his age, whether they are neutered or spayed, the breed, body size, and even activity level. You also get to mention if your dog has any issues, or if he is on a prescription diet.
The Farmer’s Dog Target Market
According to APPA millennials are the largest group of pet owners in the US, making them the target market for pet brands. Over 40% of pet parents say they think of their pets as their kids. This means they prioritize taking care of their pets over themselves at times. Significantly for this budget-minded generation, they are more likely to say they buy the highest quality pet food available than the cheapest available—and almost one in five say they have gone without something to make a purchase for their pet instead.
This is great for The Farmer’s Dog as their food is of the highest quality for a reasonable price, they are sure to make a good impression on millennial dog owners. The Farmer’s Dog has adjusted its PR to market to reach the millennial pet-obsessed generation. Boomers are the second largest pet-owning generation. However, The Farmer’s Dog has found it harder to market to them as they are individuals of habit.
In addition, The Farmer’s Dog aims to market to all pet parents who specifically only feed their dog’s kibble. If a dog is already being fed fresh healthy food that is not kibble, they do not try to market to them. They do not try to convert customers of other fresh food companies to their brand to simply increase their profit. They do not see their competitors as competitors but as allies in the “fresh feed” movement.
They also market to dog owners who have dogs with underlying health issues such as constipation, diarrhea, or food allergies. The owners saw what fresh food did for their dog’s stomach issues they feel they can help other dogs too.
The Farmer’s Dog Marketing Strategy
The Farmer’s Dog does not have a marketing team, they have a community team. This is the company’s way of staying close to its customers. The company and the customers are all part of the same movement, known as the “fresh feed” movement.
The Farmer’s Dog company relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing for acquiring customers, but they also utilize social media, TV, and trial discounts to advertise their products and reach new customers. They brand themselves as a dog food subscription service that is a healthier alternative to commercial dog foods, that allows owners to “Skip the stores, preservatives, and retail markups.”
Since they started their business in 2014, they have expanded their business to Nashville at the end of 2019 but had to close their first office due to the pandemic. But the Pandemic hasn’t slowed hiring: The company has more than doubled its workforce to 116 employees in the last 12 months.
Word of Mouth
The most successful marketing channel for The Farmer’s Dog is word-of-mouth. The Farmer’s Dog’s primary goal is taking care of and satisfying its current customers and keeping dogs healthy. The company focuses so heavily on satisfying their customers and ensuring that they provide them with a flawless customer experience. This will get their customers to tell others about the company. The Farmer’s Dog relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing to bring in new customers. They rely on the community of “pet parents” to share things like the products they used for their pets, in this case, the healthy food they are feeding their dogs.
The company really relied on word-of-mouth marketing. They met with customers face to face and they also met with veterinarians. They met with vets so that they would recommend their food to pet owners coming into their office. As the company grew, its marketing channels started to grow.
The Farmer’s Dog provides new customers with discounts of up to 100% off their first order for which it allows customers to give their product a try. They found that consumers use the trial as a way to determine if their company really provides the type of fresh products they strongly advertise.
They also found that the trial discount is a great way to retain customers, as they continue to order their product even after they’ve utilized their trial discount. “It’s so different from everything else owners have seen in the pet food world that they tend to subscribe, especially if they feed it to their dogs and start to see a lot of these tangible benefits. That’s become pretty powerful.”
The trial box contains two weeks’ worth of daily meals for the pets. The Farmer’s Dog website will select three recipes for your pet or you can choose the recipes you feel meet your pet’s needs best, or which they will enjoy more.
The Farmer’s Dog has also turned to social media to advertise its product. They use platforms like Facebook and Instagram to reach a wider audience. They use social media not only as a distribution channel but as a way to create meaningful relationships and interact with existing and potential customers.
Recently, I have also seen that The Farmer’s Dog is actually sponsoring TikTok influencers to promote their products. They reach out to influencers with dogs and send them food in exchange for them to advertise their products. It is how I learned about The Farmer’s Dog.
The Farmer’s Dog also used Facebook Ads to target a much broader audience which increased their sales by 57%. For their Facebook campaign, they switched their strategy from having multiple ad sets to one ad set. The one ad set went out to a broad audience in the U.S. where shipping from the company was available. The company also implemented a cost-cap bidding method across their campaign. This allowed Facebook to control ad spending and bids. The Farmer’s Dog also allowed changed campaign optimizations less and let Facebook’s algorithm handle audience targeting. The Farmer’s Dog retargeted ads to users who had visited its website through previous ads.
Because The Farmer’s Dog asks its customers to answer personal questions about their dogs, they use personalized data to retarget customers who have shown interest in their product. They make their food products customizable and convenient for each dog. Since the company collects so much data about the pets it allows them to communicate more personally. Personalization makes the experience more convenient for dog owners.
If a customer has a Poodle with sensitive stomach issues but did not purchase the food, The Farmer’s Dog uses their personalized data to reach out to the customer with a testimonial from a customer who has a poodle with sensitive stomach issues and has found that The Farmer’s Dog has helped their dog overcome their stomach issues. It allows the company to reach out to potential customers with marketing that is meaningful to them.
For example, I have filled out The Farmer’s Dog questionnaire for my dog with stomach issues. Later, I received an email with reviews from individuals with dogs with similar issues that The Farmer’s Dog has helped resolve.
How Much Does The Farmer’s Dog Cost?
The Farmer’s Dog customizable dog food recipes start for as low as $2 per day. Because the recipes are customizable and tailored to your dogs, breed, weight, activity level, and health issues the overall price of the subscription varies. The Farmer’s Dog also offers free shipping on every order. Based on the size of your dog, or how much your dog eats you can adjust your subscription to be received from every 7 days to every 30 – 60 days. The Farmer’s Dog is often looked at as the Blue Apron for dogs.
The Farmer’s Dog is the first pet food company to produce their food in a human manufacturing facility. The Farmer’s Dog marketing strategy lead the company to double in size each year. The Farmer’s Dog company relies heavily on word-of-mouth marketing, social media, and trial discounts to advertise its products and acquire more customers. The company places a huge emphasis on the satisfaction of its customers. The Farmer’s Dog provides new customers with a trial discount of up to 50% off their first order for which allows customers to give their product a try, which allows them to retain their customers.
If you are a Veterinarian that works closely with The Farmer’s Dog or recommends their food to dog owners, read our article Google Ads for Veterinarians to reach new patients.