AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerBark, Bark, Meow

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Bark, Bark, Meow

Should you put animals in your messaging? The simple answer is “Bark, bark” or YES!

Grooming salon

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 68% of U.S. households own at least one pet. There are 90 million dogs and 94 million cats. Of people born between 1980 and 1994, 35% are pet owners — that’s 35% of all pet owners. Among millennial and Generation Y non-pet owners, 43% want or are planning to own one in the future. Baby boomers make up 32% of all pet owners.

There is conflicting data on the numbers of pets and pet owners, but there is one phrase that all pet owners say which all surveys seem to report consistently: The pet is “part of the family.” Most people also say they would choose a pet over a person to be stranded with on a desert island. The APPA says that 85% of pet owners regard their pets as a reliable source for affection, unconditional love, stress relief, relaxation and improved health.

Dog and cat food are becoming more and more like human food (so must be stored in the refrigerator). There is now medical insurance for your pet, animal stylists and Petsmart is full of more pet toys than a toy store.

Dogs and cats are real family members, so if you’re showing a family photograph, nearly 70% of the people will think it incomplete without a pet in the portrait. Pets provide love, affection, support and improved health. They are a panacea for many of the world’s ills, so they should be a natural part of your marketing.


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.