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How 4/20, Cinco de Mayo and Other Dates Create Opportunities for Your Pet Business

April and May bring with them plenty of holidays to build promotions and events around.

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APRIL

1 During PET FIRST AID AWARENESS MONTH, host a local provider of pet CPR/first aid classes. Bar K Dog Bar in Kansas City, MO, does exactly that, and the events have proven wildly popular. Consider it both a community service and marketing initiative.

7 You may have thought every Saturday was NATIONAL BEER DAY, but the real celebration takes place today, to commemorate the end of prohibition in 1933. Partner with a local brewery to offer a craft beer tasting for your customers and also provide non-alcoholic dog brews for their best friends.

11 More than two-thirds of American homes now have a pet — the highest level ever, the American Pet Products Association says. According to surveys, a third of those peope admit to having dressed their pets up and the same amount is looking to buy a treat for their animal. On NATIONAL PET DAY, that’s where you come in. What will you have ready?

20 The 4/20 CELEBRATION turns 50 this year and, according to legend, has its origins in a plan by five high school students in San Rafael, CA, to assemble at 4:20 p.m. to follow a “treasure map” that would lead to a cannabis crop. They never found it, but 4:20 became code for blazing up. True or not, it should serve as marketing inspiration. At 4:20 p.m. on 4/20, hold a flash sale for your CBD products. Hey, pets need relief, too.

30 Mint juleps, gloves, the smell of dirt and dung, but above all hats; the KENTUCKY DERBY is about hats. And nothing looks cuter in a hat than a dog. A few years back, Southern Barker in Lexington, KY, held a Kentucky Derby Hat Contest to share the fun with customers. “The creativity in those hats was amazing!” recalls co-owner Leslie Stewart. “We love hosting unique, fun dog-related events, and they are so popular with our customers.” Get your thinking cap on. What can you do to mark the “most exciting two minutes in American sports”?

MAY

1 Today marks the 40th anniversary of the debut of American Airlines’ frequent flier club, generally considered the first big corporate loyalty program. In the intervening years, American Airlines’ fortunes have fluctuated, but loyalty programs have exploded, which should tell you something: The secret to generating repeat customers isn’t hard-to-redeem miles, it’s the quality of the experience in your place of business. When that experience exceeds customers’ expectations, they’ll be back, and they’ll tell their friends. You can help it along, however, by rewarding referrals, remembering customer names and offering your best customers insider perks. Repeat customers invariably account for the bulk of your sales.

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5 With every passing year, America gets a little more Hispanic (as a demographic cohort, Latinos surged past the 60 million mark recently), which is as good a reason as any to celebrate CINCO DE MAYO. (Just think, if General Zaragoza hadn’t prevailed, we might be all eating in French bistros instead of Taco Bell! … Oh, wait …) Team up with a local food truck and prepare some special dog treats. We saw an ad for a Cinco de Bow Wow event last year. Can you top that?

28 MEMORIAL DAY is here, and along with it the unofficial start to summer. Leave the discounting to stores selling plasma-screen TVs, but freshen up your displays to reflect the seasonal change.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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