The recession isn’t quite over, but Americans are tired of living so frugally- and they’re starting to spend money again.

Reports show that veterinarians and companies who sell pet foods and products are recovering from the recession’s decreased consumer spending; people are not only spending on their pets’ basic needs, they’re spending more on preventative care and luxury pet items.

Marketing Campaigns

In the case of pet products, the real consumer is the pet, but final purchase decisions are made by pet owners. It can be tricky to form a marketing campaign that appeals to the real target market- here are some of the most effective current and past pet product marketing campaigns.

The Nestle Purina PetCare Mobile App

Purina’s strategy allowed them to reach more technically –inclined customers, increasing their level of brand awareness while promoting a healthy lifestyle for both owners and pets.

The Pet-Care app allows pet owners to track distance, pace, time and date for their furry family members; users can access histories of past walks and even set reminders to take their pet out at certain times.

The marketing campaign continues to be successful because it promotes education and responsibility in pet care, and it fosters a closer bond between pets and their people.

Good, Honest Food

Pedigree’s 2009 campaign “Good, Honest Food” was the biggest revamp in the company’s history. With its renewed brand image, Pedigree sought to position itself as a trustworthy pet food brand.

One of the campaign’s main selling points was that all of Pedigree’s products were made with meat that could be traced back to the farm. Along with recipe changes, the retooling of the Pedigree brand included redesigned packaging; the marketing campaign was a success because it used real dogs and owners, and potential buyers found the brand more you can relate.

Kibbles ‘N’ Bits

Kibbles ‘N’ Bits blurred the boundary between print and online advertising with a recent marketing campaign. It used three different print ads in USA Weekend magazine, encouraging readers to join the “I Love My Dog” group on Whrrl, a location based social networking service that connected members based on shared interests.

The cross-boundary campaign is reflective of many current marketing trends; a recent survey found that just over half of all businesses increased their marketing budget for 2011, and of that number, about 20% focused their efforts on print advertising. Kibbles ‘N’ Bits enjoyed success with this marketing strategy because they engaged customers at every step of the purchase process, from planning to buy.

The integrated campaign increased brand activation, awareness and engagement, and kept the Kibbles ‘N’ Bits brand at the top of consumers’ minds.

The American pet food industry makes over $10 billion dollars per year, so the top pet brands must know what they’re doing. Learn from the successes listed above, and use some of their tips in your own business – especially if you aren’t marketing to the true end user of your product.