Canine Love Tops ROI At The Farmer's Dog

It’s easy to love your customer when your customer is a dog. That’s the guiding principle of The Farmer’s Dog, a company that offers specialized meals for canines — and such personal care that people sometimes consult the company before they do their vets. 

Indeed, the food subscription firm is “less interested in ROI than in the health of dogs,” said Adrian Evans, email and CRM marketing manager, speaking Tuesday morning at MediaPost’s Email Insider Summit.   

ROI aside, the company is built on data. Texts and emails feed into the firm’s CRM system, charting everything about the dog, from the breed to its general health, in addition to data about the owners. 

From there, personalized messages advise customers on the dietary plan and how to transition the pet -- for example, from Kibble. Even the packaging is personalized. 



The company had its origin in the experience of co-founder Brett Podolsky. His dog Jada had constant health problems. Finally, a vet suggested that “he cook for her — chicken, rice,” Evans said.

It worked. And soon there was a company offering tailored diets, including DIY recipes that may resemble people food but are devised strictly for dogs. This service is accompanied by regular texts that ask how the dog is doing.

The firm’s personalized emails are “not beautiful, there’s not a lot of HTML,” Evans said. But they have that “customer-first obsession.”

Of course, the company is interested in profit. But it will go out of its way to help customers, even if that means busting the ROI.

Case in point: for practical reasons, the firm ships only to the lower 48 states. But one customer was offered a job in Alaska, and refused to take it unless The Farmer’s Dog could ship there. So the firm “built out a single user functionality” for that person.

Then there are the emails that are sent before shipment, advising people that they can cancel.

“If we were more ROI-focused, we wouldn’t do it,” Evans said.

Here’s the final service: “When dogs die, we send flowers,” Evans said.

It all comes down to this: “I love that someone loves my dog as much as me,” Evans said. 


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