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Dog Training and Digital Advertising

What Dog Training Has Taught Me About Digital Advertising.

Three months ago my husband and I made the silly decision that we were ready for a dog. When I first lay my eyes on Shep, a Merle Lurcher whose blue eyes bore deeply into my soul I knew that it was love at first sight.

For him on the other hand, it was love at first bite. This is where our adventures in dog training began. As I went through the first few sleepless nights, and then weeks into training I discovered that the strategies I employed to train my dog weren’t fully unlike the ones I use to drive successful campaigns. 

The more I trained my puppy the more I realised that dog training has a lot to teach us about digital advertising.

Learning to walk before you can run

One of the first things that we did when deciding to get a puppy was research. I wanted to ensure that getting a dog was the right decision for my lifestyle and that my partner and I would have enough energy and resources between the two of us to make a 10+ year commitment to an animal.

Once understanding our needs for our new family member we turned to planning out supplies, food and costs for expenses like veterinary bills and training. This helped to provide us with the foundational set up for our foray into dog parenthood.

It was during this first phase I realised how familiar the steps I was taking  were – these were remarkably similar to  the steps I would take when planning and advertising campaign. A successful digital campaign is heavily dependent on the work that you put in before setting it live.

When planning a campaign you want to determine your objectives, your budget and research your audience. These will give you the building blocks to begin looking at the right channels to achieve your campaign goals whether that be making people aware of your business, making a purchase, a direct contact and everywhere in between.  

Before launching a campaign lay the foundation for success. Proper planning leads to success. Walk before you run.  

Sit, stay, heel, and everything in between

We knew that having a sighthound, a dog known for their speed, drive, and surprisingly – laziness we wanted to initially focus on recall, basic commands and indoor behaviour as our focus for training (plus house training – but that deserved its own section), therefore this is where we decided to put most of our attention.

Understanding our initial goals for training our dog gave us the confidence that we understood the channels that we needed to take in training and gaining trust between ourselves and our dog – our ultimate goal.

Determining the digital channels with which to reach your goal is an important step in planning out your campaign strategy. For example, if you’re marketing  a B2B service you might focus on a strategy that includes LinkedIn. If you are an e-commerce channel Google Shopping might be your game. Awareness driven campaigns tend to thrive on YouTube and CTV.

Each channel has their place within the campaign framework, and determining which channels are ideal for your business is a part in creating an advertising strategy that sets you up for success. At Javelin we often recommend a multifaceted digital approach which allows you to develop a funnel to drive your audience to your business and achieve your goals.

Success doesn’t happen overnight

The first two weeks at home consisted of cleaning up mess, after mess, after mess as we worked to house train our puppy. Every time I thought we had gotten the hang of it, I’d find a puddle in the kitchen (or worse). Thankfully this didn’t take long but it took time until I could say we were fully accident free.

Of course after this phase came the “chew everything in sight” phase, and after that the “bark every morning at 6am” phase. With each new phase, we tested, we learned, we adjusted and eventually succeeded in achieving our goal.

One of the most common misconceptions about digital advertising is that it works immediately. Many think the minute that you set a campaign live calls will come flooding in and sales will skyrocket. I’m here to tell you now that’s not necessarily the case.

Even with a well-executed strategy a campaign takes time to warm up. You want to allow time for your audience to see your ad, to consider your ad and then to make a decision. Depending on your industry this might mean seeing your ad and interacting with your business up to 7 times before taking action.

In addition to giving your campaign time to warm up, you want to analyse and adjust your campaign as needed once you’ve collected enough data to understand your campaign performance.

As with dog training, not everything is one-size-fits-all. You may find that your copy isn’t resonating with your audience, that you’re not targeting the right people or that your platform isn’t providing the desired results that you had initially thought. Ensure that you are monitoring your campaign and optimising it over time to achieve results.

Ask the experts

While training our puppy on our own was going well, we knew that we didn’t have all the answers. YouTube videos and TikToks could only teach us so much. With this in mind we found a trainer, someone who would work exclusively with our dog to give him (and us!) the tools to shape him into a well behaved, happy dog.

Within our first session we were sold. A dog that never liked walking on a leash was suddenly eager for his morning walk, and wasn’t jumping on the counter nearly as much. Obviously There was something to this training thing.

Just like with dog training, it’s worth it to work with digital advertising experts who understand how to best create and execute a digital strategy. The landscape of social media, programmatic and VOD are constantly growing and changing – just like puppies! This is why it can be a great idea to work with people whose entire focus is on the creation and execution of successful campaigns.

The digital team at Javelin is made up of an amazing group of people who are experts in the digital landscape who spend time learning the latest updates to social platforms, understanding upcoming techniques in strategy, and working with our clients across channels to make themselves seen by their audience online.

Just as I know I’ll never stop teaching my dog new tricks, I know when it comes to the digital sphere we never stop learning. With shifts in algorithms, platforms, policies, and more the digital space continues to grow and our team along with it. As we continue into 2023 we will see changes and growth on a multitude of platforms, it’s up to us to keep up.

With that said, digital advertising might be a little easier than dog training.

Suzan, Digital Media Director at Javelin