Petco’s Director of Marketing on Keeping Up With Pandemic Adoptions

The brand wants to provide for new pet owners in the safest way possible

dog petco
Petco is offering online pet training sessions in place of in-person classes. Petco

When the nation was forced into lockdown in March, the pet industry continued to serve its communities. As loneliness sparked new companionships and adoption rates rose, retailers like Petco were challenged to safely engage with new customers—both in-store and virtually.

From the beginning of the pandemic to the dog days of summer, Petco has been focused on finding creative ways to replicate the sense of community that is typically fostered at in-person events. At Adweek’s eCommerce, CPG and Retail Performance Marketing Live Virtual Summit, director of marketing Marco López told Inside The Brand director Heide Palermo about the retailer’s rapid digitalization of services.

It’s not about selling products. For example, Petco is offering virtual classes so people can continue training their pets in quarantine.

The retailer is focused on improving both upper and lower-funnel marketing objectives while reconsidering old practices, like budget spending.

“We were spending around the same amount to open a store in New York versus Kansas City,” said López. “That’s when it clicked that we needed to build cohorts in order to become more agile.”

López has developed a newfound appreciation for the relationship between the pet industry and its consumers. He recognizes that his new role at Petco and previous work in the multicultural marketing space share a common objective in fostering community. 

“In the multicultural world, we feel this sense of belonging and respect for who we advertise to,” he said. “That is the same way we see it at Petco. We have such care for our animals and for the pet parents. That sense of belonging is so huge that it’s second to none.”

Emmy is a senior journalism major at The College of New Jersey with minors in Spanish and broadcast journalism. She has previously worked as editor-in-chief of her college newspaper, The Signal, as well as an intern at Tribune Publishing Company. Emmy is looking forward to contributing to Adweek as an intern working with its breaking news and audience engagement teams.