Commentary

Woof! No Two Dogs Are Alike: Canine Personalization

Brett Podolsky, co-founder, The Farmer’s Dog On “End to End Personalization”

We’ve been conditioned for decades to think dog food should be dry, brown things.

Jada, his dog, is reason why he started company. From finance to comedy. 

“I realized I was passionate about making people happy. To make a dog healthy makes their parents happy. Jada was sick for the first few years. I went to every vet you could imagine For solution to her stomach problems. Solution was medicine. So I wanted to find a more natural solution. Tried every single premium dog food on the market. 

“Finally went to holistic vet, recommended home cooking. I cooked same ingredients that were on the back of the packaging. All her symptoms disappeared overnight. What is the disconnect? I was in control of the process. Made me realize the power that food has on our health. People are realizing nutrition is a huge portion of what keeps them healthy.

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”I wanted to find a food I felt comfortable feeding my dog. The company I was looking for didn’t exist so we decided to build that company. We made freshly cooked dog food, customized for each dog’s Specific needs, delivered by subscription.

”Better for them. Easier for you. Is more than a slogan, it’s our North Star. Our two promises: 1. Health 2. Convenience.

”Personalization is about convenience over novelty. Ask are you personalizing for marketing purposees or to help my customer? Personalization is hard to execute at scale. But for us difficult to execute at scale. Each prescription is completely unique. 

“At our website, fill in age, activity level, weight, breed, allergies, body condition, where you live ... we take all these data points, technology give you a customer feeding program for your dog. 

“Marketing buzz words, colorful packaging in the store. But when you fill out the information for your dog, we only show you the options that are perfect for your dog. We can really, really customize how much food you’ll be receiving. All done because it’s convenient for our customers.

”Personalized packaging done because may have multiple dogs, that’s why their name’s on the pack. Accurate portions, we will package it in a way that it is exactly how many calories your dog need in a day. Optimize their nutrition. 

“Most subscriptions are where you receive magazine once a month. They don’t gauge how long it takes you to read that magazine. We ship perfectly timed shipments. Lot of customers wanted to get more food to drive down costs. Some customers had tiny freezers needed food every single week. Not easy for us but it is all for our customer and all about convenience.

”Customer service is where we get a lot of data after the fact. We reach out pretty frequently through email or SMS text message, how’s your dog? Are the portions right? Constantly learning, improving. 

“If a customer doesn’t sign up the first time, we have all this information about them. My dog, Jada, who has stomach sensitivity, no reason I should be receving emails about a French bulldog or a poodle with allergies, irrelevant to me. Would rather hear about a Rottweiler whose stomach problems were cleared up by our food.

”Team focuses on performance but we call it community because we believe in a North Star and this is ours. They fee like they’re part of something special. We communicate with them on social media. 

“When we find out a dog has passed away, it’s a fact of life, that is a churned customer, gone forever, but for us, we send them flowers, definitely not cheap. what’s the ROI on that? It’s not scalable, but the relationship we’re building, they might come back, they might tell our story. We know what they’re going through, coming home to an empty house. See the flowers, can’t put price on that feeling.

”Takeaways: 1. Customer obsession (future of brands) 2. Personalization: has to be convenient for your customer, not a novelty. 3. Continuous learning and improvement. Constant internal skepticism.”

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