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What You Can Learn about Data Collection, Targeting and Product Development from Dog Art

My first gig out of college was selling and marketing dog art. Dog art? Yes, as in brightly colored, awesome paintings of dogs (shout-out to my old boss and painter of those dogs, Ron Burns). I didn’t realize it until years later, but an instinctive email campaign I ran epitomizes the power of smart marketing. Here’s how it went…

The Set-Up: People love THEIR dogs. Ron paints dogs. If someone has a Pug, that person wants to buy a piece that looks just like his Pug.

What “Sales Andrea” is saying: Ron’s best clients are those we go to with an exclusive when Ron paints a breed that’s the same as their own dog – like in the Pug and Pug painting scenario. The problem is, at this point in the story, I didn’t know who has what breed in enough of my territory (in other words, the entire database).

What “Marketing Andrea” decided: We needed more breed information in our database, Filemaker, for two reasons: better targeting and product development. So, what did I do?

  • Step one – Data Collection Campaign: I sent the entire database an email asking for one very simple thing – “tell me about your dog.” I asked for the breed, the dog’s birthday and even a picture. Have you ever met a dog-person, who passes up the chance to talk about their pooch? Me either. My inbox was flooded with replies, and I received a 10 percent conversion.
  • Step two – Data Entry: Boy, a form would have been nice here, but instead we had to resort to manual entry. Open email, peruse to find data, type into Filemaker, save, drink heavily.
  • Step three – Data Analysis: We found there were a lot of Basset Hound lovers in our database. We had a few enthusiasts that scooped up every new Basset piece as soon as the paint was dry, and I hypothesized there was likely a big market for a limited edition of the hounds.
  • Step four – Product Development: We went into Ron’s archives and pulled an adorable Basset Hound to produce. We created a 25 run limited edition.
  • Step five – Product Launch Campaign: A targeted email went out to everyone who replied to the initial inquiry email, pre-releasing the Basset piece.
  • Step six – Fulfillment: Order taking, and back to being “Sales Andrea.”

Half of the pieces in the edition were sold within the first two days, an impressive feat, especially in the down economy of the late 2000s. We continued steps four through six over and over again, increasing my sales by 300 percent. Commission-based “Sales Andrea” was very happy with “Marketing Andrea’s” efforts.

The moral of the story is that my sales tripled with just a few, seemingly minimal pieces of information.

How can you take this tale of dog art success and translate it to your business? It’s easily applicable. Visit us next week for the steps to get you started.

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