Man’s Best Friend Knows Best with Product Test Groups for Dogs
Seattle, WA 3/05/2012 11:11 AM GMT (TransWorldNews)
Consumer panels filled with a company or product’s target audience is commonly used by people to test whether a product or idea might be successful if it is released to the public. A local Cleveland, Ohio company has taken this idea but put a slight twist on it. Instead of providing a panel of people, they provide a panel of dogs.
“The pet product and supply business is a multi-million dollar business”, said CEO of Bark Once Opinions Inc. Terri Gersham. “People and companies are always coming up with ideas but those ideas might not be successful, and who better to know if it’ll be a success than the dogs themselves.”
Bark Once Opinions Inc. hosts a database of over 10,000 dogs of all different breeds, ages and sexes. A company or inventor comes up with an idea for a product or concept that might be marketed towards dogs and comes to Bark Once Opinions Inc. to test the product out.
“Companies and inventors come to us and tell us who they envision the product going to. We gather the dogs together at one of our meeting facilities or at a park if that’s what needed”, said Gersham. “We run through our database and send emails, text messages or call up dog owners to see if they are interested in attending the focus group. Most of the people are pretty responsive.”
Bark Once Opinions Inc. has hosted over 300 focus groups for dogs in the past two years. Some of the products have gone on to see nationwide success, some have ended up on local infomercials, and others have been promptly trashed.
“I really thought I had a wonderful idea”, said product inventor and Bark Once Opinions Inc. user Tommy Phillips. “When I got the product to the testing phase it failed miserably. I guess my dog is just unique. I am glad I didn’t invest too much money in the product or I’d be on the streets.”
Bark Once Opinions Inc. has become so successful that owner and CEO Terri Gersham is thinking about opening a cat division, along with a pet supplies division. She has put out advertisements and marketing to see if there is a demand for such a focus group.
“The response has been pretty positive”, said Gersham. “Though it raises the question if I bring cats on board do I have to change the company name to Bark or Meow Once Opinions Inc.?”