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Case Study: How a Pet Food Company Is Building a Loyal Customer Base via Highly Targeted Emails

by Jennifer Natsu  |  
July 31, 2007

Company: Royal Canin Canada
Contact: Andrew Cannon, Direct Marketing Associate
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Industry: B2C
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 125

Quick read:

Royal Canin Canada puts an enormous budget behind creating customized, breed-specific pet food that is sold in specialty stores. But many pet owners don't realize how much their dog or cat could benefit from a food that is specially formulated for their pet's breed. The company needed to educate existing customers in order to gain their loyalty and prevent them from purchasing less-expensive brands. 

By creating a loyalty email program that was extremely targeted with information on specific breeds, Royal Canin was able to earn the role of trusted adviser. Only eight months old, the email program now reaches about 8% of current customers, maintains a remarkable 80% click-through rate for its articles, and has an unsubscribe rate of less than 2%.


Royal Canin has spent an enormous amount on research and development—far more than it did on marketing—to create customized food for a variety of dog and cat breeds. Yet it has been difficult to convey that message to consumers—because its product offerings were so broad: It sells 150 products just on its retail side. 

Even getting the message across on the bags of pet food proved difficult. "We have German shepherd food, so we slap a German shepherd picture on it and people think it's a marketing ploy," said Andrew Cannon, direct marketing associate for Royal Canin. "That's one of our big consumer myths we have to overcome." 

The products may have looked as though they were created by a marketing company, but Royal Canin spends many millions of dollars on research to create the breed-specific pet food.

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