Customers Are Cats? Marketing to Indifferent Audiences

Customers Are Cats? Marketing to Indifferent Audiences

We’ve been talking about cats a lot in the 9 Clouds office.

It’s pretty unusual because, as we’ve pointed out before, we’re overwhelmingly a group of dog people. But we still welcomed a cat, Poppy the Domestic Short Hair, to the 9 Clouds family when our creative director John brought her home this month.

“Cool story, Jenny, but what’s this have to do with marketing?”

Patience, reader. We’re talking about marketing principles today — the foundation of it all.

And cats. Because the more I learn about Poppy (and our other 9 Clouds cat, Chandler), the more similarities I see between marketing audiences and our feline friends.

Let me explain.

Consumers Don’t Have Dog Brain

Downward Dog, a short-lived sitcom on ABC, presented life from the point of view of Martin, a lonely pupper with a busy millennial dog-mom.

Likewise, Buzzfeed recently put together a pup POV video promoting Purina that (at the time this post was published) has 9.1 million views on Facebook.

Dog Brain in Action | 9 Clouds

I think both of these pieces nailed “dog brain.”

These dogs are hyper-focused on their humans. “What’s up with brushing your teeth? Is that something I could eat? Could you share? Did you hear that bell? What is it? Everyone let’s hide!”

Dogs love their humans unconditionally. Every thought dogs (seem to) have is focused on the health and wellbeing of their person. Or on food.

Now, on to cats.

We’re More Like Cynical Cats

Cats cannot be bothered with unconditional love. Feline friends are much more independent than their canine counterparts. They operate from a place of cynicism, control, and command.

Sure, this is a generalization. Some of you might know a cuddly cat or a standoffish dog. But for the sake of this post, we’re going to operate under these pet stereotypes.

Unlike a dog, who is (wo)man’s best friend, a cat will judge your behaviors and show disdain for your attempts at attention.

So what does this have to do with marketing?

Grab Marketing Attention

Your online customers — both present and potential — are cats.

No one gets your email, opens it immediately, and thinks, “Yes master, best idea ever.” Besides the fact that it’d be super weird if your leads called you master, doglike loyalty is nearly impossible to achieve with an online audience.

Instead, your campaigns are met with catlike indifference. Some people might open a link. Some don’t even skim the subject line. They might bat it around in their head for a minute and scroll right on by.


You put a lot of work into that campaign. Or you spent a lot of money on that toy.

Either way, your cat/online audience couldn’t care less. They’re going to wander over and look at this other blog post/piece of fluff until you give up on their affections.

Can You Herd Cats?

It’s pretty tough to win over a real cat. Tuna is about the only surefire way I know to guarantee attention from such an otherwise-unapproachable animal.

Fortunately, it’s way easier to capture the attention of customers. You just need inbound marketing.

The reason customers turn up their noses at so many marketing attempts is the sheer volume of content available in 2017. People need to be presented with the right content at the right time, which is a foundational principle of inbound marketing.

As our friends over at HubSpot explain:

“Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be.”

When you’re answering the questions someone has at their individual stage in the buyer’s journey, you’re not interrupting their life. You’re just showing up with the tuna when they’re really hungry.

Bring the Digital Tuna

If you need help showing up with the proverbial tuna, reach out to our team here at 9 Clouds.

We offer a free audit for any of our visitors to show the biggest areas of opportunity on your website!