Why pet owners prefer a
Human Touch
AI and Pet Care Marketing
Minimalist vector drawing of person interacting with AI robot
By Jon C. Coward

t seems like everything is “smart” these days…your refrigerator can tell you when you’re out of milk, your thermostat can adjust to your favorite temperature and your car can nearly drive itself. Artificial intelligence is even creeping into the veterinary world. But before we get carried away and give AI complete control, let’s take a moment to reflect on why, just maybe, pet care businesses aren’t quite ready to trust an AI model with their marketing needs.

Firstly, AI cannot appreciate a clever joke, and what’s pet care marketing without some good old-fashioned canine humor? Sure, it can theoretically generate a joke based on complex algorithms and data patterns, but will it truly understand why a dog crossing the road is funny? To AI, that dog is just a variable, running risk assessments for incoming traffic.

And let’s not forget about those consultation calls. Imagine your customer, a proud Poodle mom, getting advice from AI: “Your pet has a 37.2% probability of having a diet-related problem based on current data input.” With all due respect to our robotic friends, that’s hardly a comforting or personalized response. AI doesn’t know that the Poodle has a penchant for filching roast beef from the Sunday dinner table.

On to the technological aspect…Yes, AI can analyze data faster than a Greyhound chasing a rabbit. It can churn out email campaigns, social media posts and even blog content while you’re still fumbling with your morning coffee. But AI doesn’t understand the emotional bond between humans and their pets. It can’t tell a heartwarming story about a cat, Mr. Whiskers, who kept pawing at his owner’s chest and saved her life by detecting early-stage breast cancer. AI also can’t empathize with the traumatic experience of Mrs. Johnson when her beloved parrot, Chirpy, flew out of the window. Imagine AI attempting to send an uplifting message: “Dear Mrs. Johnson, we hope you are 87% less distressed about Chirpy’s adventure.” Talk about a mood killer!

Minimalist drawing of a computer monitor
Yes, AI can analyze data faster than a Greyhound chasing a rabbit. It can churn out email campaigns, social media posts and even blog content while you’re still fumbling with your morning coffee. But AI doesn’t understand the emotional bond between humans and their pets.
Additionally, while AI might be fantastic at creating targeted campaigns based on analytics, it can’t distinguish between different pet owners’ needs and personalities. For example, it can’t tell that the owner of Rex, the tough German Shepherd, might be a little miffed to receive an advertisement for the frilly pink dog bows you started carrying in your retail area.

It also doesn’t know what it hasn’t learned yet. When it comes to product marketing, AI is excellent at remembering what products were bought and how often. For example, your client will receive an email when it’s time to reorder Spot’s flea and tick medication, but AI doesn’t know that Spot was tragically hit by a car last week. While AI’s message might be timely, it doesn’t account for the recent trauma experienced by Spot’s owners.

Or consider the case of blog writing. AI can quickly generate a 500-word article on the benefits of neutering, complete with statistics, but it lacks the narrative flair that keeps readers engaged. A seasoned veterinary writer might weave in a charming tale of Mr. Jingles, a once feisty tomcat who, after his neutering, gave up his wandering ways to embrace the peaceful home life, thereby encouraging pet owners more effectively.

On a more serious note, when it comes to medical advice, AI hasn’t quite mastered the nuances. It might direct an owner to apply salve on a Husky’s hot spot, but it won’t understand if the husky, named Zeus, is a bit of a drama king and might need a more delicate approach. And what if AI recommends a diet change for a stubborn feline who would rather fight the vacuum cleaner than give up her favorite salmon treats? Cue AI sending an email reminder: “Your cat may experience a 32.5% weight reduction.” Meanwhile, the cat in question has already decided to go on a hunger strike.

In conclusion, while AI’s speed, data handling and 24/7 availability make it a tempting prospect for pet care marketing, it still has a long way to go before it can compete with the warmth, humor and individual understanding that humans bring to the table. From the inability to tell a truly humorous joke to the failure in empathizing with pet parents, AI falls short of the standards set by human intuition and interaction.

For the foreseeable future, the critical tasks of catering to distressed pet parents, creating engaging narratives and establishing genuine relationships will remain in the capable hands of humans. After all, it takes a pet lover to truly understand another pet lover—and that’s something AI, in all its binary glory, just can’t replicate yet.

Jon C. Coward headshot
Jon C Coward is the CEO and owner of 7 Sided Cube LLC, a 19-year-old Pet Care Industry focused digital marketing agency that delivers business-changing marketing programs with creative, forward-thinking online strategies. In his spare time (which ironically creates no spare time,) he is also an author, podcast host, speaker, lecturer, and former stand-up comic. Before taking the agency plunge, Jon earned a BA in Advertising and an MBA in Marketing. Throughout his career he has served as Regional Marketing Manager at cable television networks CNN and MTV as well as several national companies and marketing agencies.