6 key marketing lessons you can learn from your cat

I have several children who are all keen on pets. This means we have a small menagerie of animals to maintain: a dog, a rabbit, several guinea pigs, a budgerigar and lorikeet, tropical fish, and a couple of cats. Most of the relationships with these animals are quite simple, if we don’t feed them they die—they are beholding to us, except the cat.

The exception is the relationship we have with the cats. It is like a business relationship, we are the customer, we provide food, accommodation, entertainment and free health cover in payment for their affection—it seems to the cats that this is a fair exchange. If we don’t keep up our side of the contract they simply find another customer.

The cat provides this “pet affection service” much better than other pets. It is a much better marketer than a dog for instance. Here are the marketing lessons we can learn from them:

1. The cat has a unique selling proposition

It offers a clearly differentiated service. It is provides a high value, low-maitenance boutique service (to an exclusive client base). It exercises itself and doesn’t require walks; it lounges around providing a bit of feline karma. It provides a calming influence.

2. The cat manages customer expectations

The cat is clear what it is willing to deliver. You try to take it for a walk it will refuse. You can not vary the terms of the contract.

3. It provides a consistent level of service

I get the same service every day. A few brief moments of unobtrusive affection and no problems. There are never any surprises.

4. It has clear communication messages

You don’t have to be Dr Doolittle to understand cats. They are not ambiguous. They purr when they are happy and meow when they want food. There is clear messaging in all their communications.

5. The cat maintains its profile with its customers

If you move rooms, the cat will be there after a few minutes, you look up and notice it is there. They like to maintain profile without overwhelming you with too much noise.  This persistent gentle presence ensures it keeps its profile up (ensuring it gets fed).

6. The cat does not make a mess

My favourite thing about cats is that most of the time when it makes a mess it covers it up (although that’s not marketing, thats PR!).