Thursday, August 11, 2011

How to convince your husband (wife) to get a dog?

The first time I ever wanted a pet I was 10 years-old and the object of my affection was a 5 month old long-hair white kitten. My parents (quite rightly) believed that despite my teary promises to the contrary, I could not be trusted with yet another life, when the last one - a guinea pig named...uh...hmm...well I guess he didn't really live long enough for the name to sink in - met with a gruesome, early end in the back yard.

After the hopelessness of my pleas set in, I funneled my frustration into constructing elaborate fantasies wherein the adult me, the one no longer under the control of parents, would become the owner of a pet store (that looked pretty much exactly like my house), but instead of being in cages, all the animals would move about freely, sweeping the floors, picking up my clothes, and occasionally bursting into song.

Once I finally managed to chased down adulthood, my priorities had shifted somewhat. Priorities like climbing the corporate latter, managing roommates, and keeping up with friends, had pushed my Disney fantasy onto the back burner; which is why after ticking off the career then marriage boxes, I could turn my attention to realizing my pet owning dream. I quickly discovered however, that in marriage I was once again under the veto power of another, but this time I was an adult and armed with the experience of a career marketer and a detailed campaign built on proven tactics. I believe that the following steps may be employed against husbands, wives, parents alike with equal success.

STEP 1: Know your customer and determine the points of resistance to conversion
 Make a mental list of why your loved one doesn't want what you want and separate the list into items which you can affect control over and those you cannot. Here are some examples of points of resistance (POR) that you can overcome:

1. Loss of sleep/time - feeding, walking, grooming playing with puppy
2. Increased financial burden - vet, food, grooming, walker, boarding
3. Loss of spontaneity in every day life - can't head out to the Hamptons for the weekend on a whim
4. Loss of general life mobility - can't move into that fabulous apartment where dogs are not allowed
5. Loss of social life - those after work drinks now come with a starving dog and pee stained floors
6. Loss of status in the relationship relative to the dog
7. Saying no to maintain power in the relationship

Examples of POR that you cannot control:

1. Medical issues such as allergies
2. Excessive fear or dislike of dogs

STEP 2: Pick a winning product
*Only attempt the following steps once you can commit to sustaining the full cost (not just money) of overcoming the PORs on your list.

Being open to and spending the time to research a variety of breeds is a crucial step to your final success. If you already have a breed in mind, gather all the information you can and try to estimate the chance of success with your target demographic given the constraints in the macro environment. For instance, don't waste your time pushing a Great Dane on someone living in a 400 sq ft studio or a Rottweiler on a dog-attack survivor, you will have better shot of selling a table saw to a debutante. I learned this lesson the hard way when I tried to push one large breed after another on a man who's deal-breaker was the idea of getting up at 7 am on weekends to do anything.

Think about what you want out of your dog-owning experience and try to marry it to your spouses lifestyle. For example, I required an intelligent, obedient breed, and my husband wanted low energy dog that he didn't have to walk. This ruled out all large breeds, which was a difficult pill to swallow as I've always shunned the idea of owning a small dog. My vision of the perfect dog was one that was large and regal and could have stalked the halls of Pemberley or Mansfield Park. But alas, this was a compromise I had to make if I intended on having a career outside of agriculture while owning a dog at the same time.

I then consulted the list of dog breeds ranked by intelligence and picked 3 breeds that I could live with - toy poodle, Papillon, and Pomeranian, respectively ranked 1, 8, 23. A special note of advice: for the best chances, don't limit yourself to 1 option but don't go beyond 3 or 4 breeds when offering the choice to your loved one as he may fall victim to the tyranny of choice.

Once you have gathered all the information in your arsenal and have arrived at your short list of winning "products" you want to sell, the real campaign begins.

Source: American Kennel Club:

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