Dog Blog & Marketing Monday – When Marketing Comes To The Dog World

So mum really enjoys her dog sports, especially agility but she also enjoys her job too and hence Marketing Monday. For this reason she finds some recent stuff happening in the agility world a fascinating example of great marketing.

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Mum’s take on the background on dog sports and in particular agility. Agility is relatively new to dog sports. There are a handful of individuals who are seen as experts. They have gained this reputation by reaching the highest levels of this sport as handlers, often having achieved these levels with multiple dogs. These people are watched for their style of handling and may these particular styles named after them or have certain moves, turns or cues named after them. This is often their name as an individual used to describe the style or move. To their credit they have also created businesses in sharing their expertise. These businesses usually consist of books, DVDs and seminars where this individual will travel and teach small groups their handling style. Some examples of these individuals are Susan Garrett, Susan Salo, Linda Mecklenburg and Greg Derret. All amazing agility handlers to watch making successful businesses out of sharing their expertise and while they have all created a business name they are essentially known as individuals. 

Then enter the newbie to the dog agility training world. Enter the Finnish with One Mind Dogs. Hang on…. Who is One Mind Dogs? To this point we have been talking individuals and now we just have this name.

One Mind Dogs is a great example of creating a brand. Started as a group of 6 dog agility enthusiasts who, from the background on their website, also had the sense to bring on a non-dog owning International Business Development Manager (who lived on the other side of the world in a Chile… talk about thinking big to begin with). What they did was turn dog training from seeking out individual experts to talking about a brand. And talk people are. An engaging back story about a deaf dog (I’m a sucker for a good archetypal story) and a sleek looking online and social media presence people had people wondering what this was about. And then came the innovation in delivery.

Already One Mind Dogs had done things differently by having a team of experienced handlers as trainers (rather than an individual) who could feature in DVDs and run seminars but the real standout was creating an online community and training modules. At a base level handlers from across the world can sign up for regular updates and a base level of information but where these guys have really thought ahead into the digital world is through the Premium Membership. For just under €30 a month a Premium Member not only has access to more information but also has the opportunity for two way communication. An example of knowing your audience and delivering innovation for them. Agility folks are big on videoing their runs and sharing on YouTube or the like (just in case you missed my latest video) and the like for others to see. So why be constrained by geography and needing to attend a seminar to get feedback. Instead these Premium Members can receive feedback from the other side of the world by simply sharing their video and encouraged by setting challenges for handlers to try and then share online.

Mum and I are watching this space both as agility enthusiastics but also mum is watching as a marketer. This group are a team of innovators understanding their audience, using technology and using their business smarts so I’m looking forward to seeing what they do next.

And so for today’s Dog Blog. Well after a serious blog post on Marketing my Dog Blog is good fun. This is my mate Mawson who we train with. He gives his mum plenty of grief in Rally and Obedience and would do great in agility if his dad would just stay on his feet. His blog is a bit like ours with fun little stories… we are just waiting to hear how the chicken nuggets go (mum would love some chooks too Mawson but thinks I am the least of her worries…. hmmm toddler???).

 

4 Comments
  • AgilityPap
    January 20, 2014

    Agree. As a marketer and business person, I’m tipping my hat to OMD’s business model. Subscription based model allows them to reach a broader audience, and earn a higher rate for their expertise. Susan Garrett has started similar online courses with subscription model. Great approach to the market. With great products, both of these businesses are going great guns!

    • 1st World Dog
      January 20, 2014

      It is fascinating to see how we evolve our style of learning.

  • Em
    January 21, 2014

    Very interesting – to be honest though, some of their ‘marketing’ videos turned me off at first. I can’t say what it was about them, maybe they just didn’t seem ‘real’ … which is to say that it came across as a marketing video. It’s hard to explain..
    Obviously I’ve become more interested in the method now but that was much more through word of mouth and people saying great things about how it’s helped them.
    Are you a subscriber of their site? Would you say it’s worthwhile? I was considering it, but I’ll check out my DVD first 🙂

    • 1st World Dog
      January 21, 2014

      Hi Em – you know what has impressed me most about these days is the 2 way interaction. Noora has been messaging me personally about the post and how interested she was on my thoughts and Janita shared the link (along with some other recent blog posts from others) on her FB page. So behind the slick videos and the marketing puff I am finding there are some really nice people who are keen to share their knowledge with others (if you haven’t already link up with them via Facebook… they are really interested in what is happening here in Australia and also share lots of other clips and feedback on their personal pages beyond just OMD page).

      I was the same and found out about it through word of mouth. I train with some others who are really interested in it so I admit it is through these friends that I have learnt most of what I have so far. I bought the DVD through Tsuey (Game On Dogs) and that just reinforces what the others have really been teaching me (yep incredibly lucky to train where I do). Also note that the DVD (well the main one everyone seems to be getting) is pretty old and some of the moves these guys have evolved slightly but the general context seems to be the same. I haven’t subscribed to Premium yet as 30euro a month is pricey and I’m just not certain how much yet I would get out of it still being at Novice. Thinking I will wait until after the seminar. Hopefully by then we have got a few more quallies under our belt and finally running some Excellent courses where a few more of the actual turns can be used (while the theory still holds for Novice runs, don’t know about Melbourne but there aren’t too many twists and turns in most Novice courses here).

      Randomly thinking about that Rally Advanced “Call To Front and Return to Heel” as a prep for the German… maybe because it is raining here and trying to keep Bodhi entertained inside… but doing that as the Rally exercise and then switching it up with a return left to right is a really nice way to work on the German move without a jump and running around. The German is one of my favs and we were doing a bit of that in-house practice this morning (just hope it doesn’t come undone on a rally course in returning to the wrong side :o)

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