I have two full-time jobs. In my day job, I’m vice president at Mustang Marketing, the largest full-service marketing firm in Ventura County. The rest of the time, I am a zookeeper – or at least that’s what my staff calls me. My wife, Natalie, is a veterinarian (we own Moorpark Veterinary Hospital), and her love of animals knows no bounds. As a result of her love for them and my weakness for them, we’ve ended up with four cats, three dogs, three horses, 310 gallons worth of fish tanks, eight chickens, three goats and a tortoise. And if our son, Zack, has his way, we’ll have a pink (absolutely no exceptions on the color) pig before too much longer. It might seem like my two “jobs” are completely unrelated, but in the time I’ve spent with our pets, I’ve discovered there are some valuable marketing lessons we can learn from them. Catlike persistence Ever try using your computer when your cat wants attention? If you nudge them off your desk, they’ll jump right back up and sit on your keyboard until you give in. Persistence also pays off when it comes to marketing. Most of the time, a single ad isn’t enough. It takes multiple touch points – ads, email campaigns, postcards, landing pages, press releases, social media posts and beyond – to create the desired impact. While the magic number for ad frequency varies depending on who you ask, in general, seeing a message multiple times helps it stick better in our minds. Customers’ best friend Dogs also illustrate an important marketing lesson – the value of loyalty. While it’s often easier to earn a dog’s loyalty than a customer’s, the effort is worth it in both cases. Going the extra mile to ensure your customers have a positive experience helps convert them from one-time visitors into loyal repeat customers. And not only will they come back, they may even help spread the word about your company – endorsements that are more credible, and therefore more valuable, than any advertising opportunity you can buy. Trust – straight from the horse’s mouth Horses have a related lesson to share, on the importance of trust. Like horses, today’s customers are hesitant with their trust. They doubt the truthfulness of brands and often question the messages they see in ads. To earn the trust of your audiences, the most important thing you can do is be honest and genuine. Make sure your marketing materials accurately reflect your products/services, and be transparent about policies, procedures and news that may impact customers. As your audiences see they can count on you for accurate information, you’ll build a reputation as a credible company. Know the pecking order At feeding time, chickens know who gets first dibs – and everything goes much more smoothly when that order is respected. When it comes to marketing, understanding the “pecking order” within your audiences can help ensure you reach the right people with the right messages. In the B2B world, this could mean developing high-level materials to catch the attention of top executives as well as more in-depth materials to engage specialists whose expertise the executives rely on when making decisions. In the B2C world, this could mean developing ads directed toward your target audience as well as engaging influencers whose opinions help shape their behaviors. Slow and steady wins the race Finally, there’s the tortoise, and as cliché as it sounds, the lesson really is that slow and steady wins the race. All too often, companies are tempted to rush into marketing campaigns – sometimes out of excitement, and sometimes out of desperation. Whenever possible, it’s better to slow down and look at things strategically. Invest the time to identify campaign goals, conduct research, and develop high-quality, cohesive marketing materials that support your goals. Then plan ahead so you’re ready for the next campaign. In the long-term, this slow and steady approach might just make the difference between success and failure. There are marketing lessons to be learned throughout the animal kingdom. For now, I’m just looking forward to seeing what wisdom Zack’s pig will bring! Chris Barrett is vice president of Mustang Marketing, an advertising and public relations firm in Thousand Oaks.