Then it comes to pet death care marketing, there’s a paradigm in serious need of challenge. Many businesses, some thinking of starting a pet loss business and some already offering pet loss services, think that the only way to market pet loss services is to make sales calls on the veterinary community. This approach, of course, leads with a service offering, as well as a pricing structure, that appeals to the veterinarian.

But, who are the services and products you offer really for: the veterinarian or a family who’s just lost a beloved pet? I’ve accompanied a great many pet cremation service providers as they make sales calls on veterinary clinics. In these sales calls, the pet cremation company will typically:

• Present their wholesale pricing structure
• Talk about the freezer, and the animal bags and how those details will be handled

• Review the “package” that will come back to the veterinary clinic, including the basic urn and other generic items

• Talk about the timing of the pick-up of the body and the return of ashes

Of course, there are a few other service components that really should be discussed, such as a review of the Cremation Authorization form, the quality assurance/tracking process of the pet bodies and possibly even defining the various types of cremation that the company is performing (private, separated, or group). Unfortunately, many of these key items have been ignored, considered unimportant
by the cremation service provider or deemed unworthy by veterinarians to spend their time learning about.

Typically without fail, the veterinarian proceeds to tell the pet cremation service representative that their price is too high and they are getting a much lower price from the other company in town. A negotiating process then ensues with the pet cremation service trying to undercut the other provider’s price, all the while the veterinarian and/or office manager makes it very clear that they are not really interested in any of the other components of the services, except for (again) the lowest price possible.

Ironically, and this is the good part, what I find interesting is that all of the seemingly “unimportant” aspects that weren’t worthy of discussing are value offerings that are very important to the most crucial people in this process; the pet parent who just lost their beloved four-legged companion. These, and many other service components that center on the pet parent, are discounted and minimized by the veterinary clinic, all for the sake of choosing a pet cremation service that has the “lowest price in town.”

So, maybe it’s time that we in the pet death care industry shift that paradigm and align our value offerings with what a death care enterprise knows how to do best; serve  bereaved families. Maybe the paradigm shift is letting veterinarians do what they do best, taking exceptional care of our pets while they are alive and let us, the death care professionals, serve the pet parents by carefully caring for the mortal remains of their deceased pets and facilitating memorials and rituals that will help them heal.

Most recently, I attended an incredibly interesting presentation on marketing. The gist of the presentation was the fact that there is truly no B2B (Business-to-Business) marketing anymore. It’s all about gearing your products and services toward the end consumer, the one who really cares about what they are getting for their money.

Many funeral homes that offer pet loss services, or are considering offering pet loss services, have not explored other ways to market these services outside of the veterinarian (B2B) channel. Unless making sales calls is something that your funeral home considers a strength, and most don’t; my advice, especially to those presently in the human death care business, is to market directly to the consumer. This aligns your funeral home to fully and completely do what you do best; providing quality death care service, caring grief support and all of other details a family needs to create a meaningful experience in honoring their pet. After all, for many human funeral homes with a pet loss
division, this is an opportunity to gain new market share with families who might not have otherwise used your services. In effect, you’ll create a new type of service to reach new families and build brand for your human death care business and really mean it when you say, “Our Family Serving Your Family.”

I heard this statement a long time ago, “People bury people because they have to. People bury pets because they get to.” You can agree with it or disagree with it but at the heart of it is pet parents screaming for avenues to allow them to pay honor to their beloved pets.

Will you be the one to give it to them? FBA