Puggle at the Window: A "Marketing" Quagmire

Education & Training

Puggle at the Window

As the spring weather continues to get nicer in Michigan, I see more and more of my neighbors walking their dogs in our subdivision.  And, of course, my family has resumed walking our Puggle around the neighborhood, too.  Puggles are a cross between a Pug and a Beagle.  They have a Puggish face and a curly tail, but the deep bellow of a beagle... and our dog, Beau, loves to bark!

I've noticed that Beau especially likes to bark at other dogs.  Seeing another dog in his yard gets him really worked up!  He posts a vigil at our living room window, waiting for another canine to come into his sights, and then he whines, brays and otherwise howls the Puggle equivalent of the Riot Act to whichever pooch has dared trespass on his lawn.  I've also noticed that the various dogs who pass our yard never pay him any mind.  They will saunter, sniff and carry on their business without being in the least mindful of Beau's apoplexy.

When we walk Beau around the block, however, the roles are reversed.  Although they ignore him in front of our house, the neighborhood dogs will bark and give him a piece of their mind when he passes by their yards.  Beau, though, could care less!  The same dogs he loses his sanity to yelp at from our window are of no consequence when he's making the rounds.

I've been intrigued by this doggy dynamic because I believe it is analogous to misdirected marketing.  When Beau and the other dogs bark at each other from their homes, they are conveying a message that is important to them- but only them.  The message is so unimportant to the dogs on the sidewalk that they ignore it.  The "business problem" for my four-legged friends is two-fold:

First, the dogs are trapped "in their business."  They are stuck in one mode: territory protection.  Think of a company that just advertises low prices when its customers really only care about service, or vice-versa.  Second, the dogs are not adaptable.  It doesn’t occur to Beau to do anything other than bawl through the window.  It’s possible that the problem isn’t the message itself, but that the neighborhood dogs’ constant repetition has desensitized their audience.  Any dog who has heard Beau bark once has already gotten his message… by the time they’ve heard him a few times, he’s pretty easy to ignore.

The issue isn’t the “product.”  Stewart Title, for example, only sells title insurance.  Aside from the closing and escrow services that go with it, it’s not going to offer anything else.  That doesn’t mean, however, that its message has to remain static, nor that its marketing efforts can’t change.  And through calls, emails, internet postings, mailings, personal meetings, sponsorships, advertising, etc. any (human) business can modulate how its information is conveyed and how it is received by its customers.  So while there is hope for any company whose marketing efforts have stalled, poor Beau, unfortunately, is too old to learn any new tricks!

Comments (25)

Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

Outstanding job with your post! Anytime you share your posts, I enjoy reading them.

Make it a great weekend!

May 23, 2013 10:10 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Andrew, very good analogy. Bellowing your message out will often fall on deaf ears. Time to take a new approach.

May 23, 2013 11:24 PM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Jill: Thank you so much!  Since I started blogging, I do look for opportunities for analogies that I wouldn't have otherwise noticed- so, I would credit the whole ActiveRain process.  I enjoy it!  :)

Nancy: Thank you!  And thank you for the suggestion- the post was featured, so I am very grateful!  :)

Joe: Thank you, as always, and have a great weekend, too!  :)

Michael: Thank you for the feedback!

May 23, 2013 11:50 PM
Suzanne Otto
Six Twenty Designs - Lansdale, PA
Your Montgomery County PA home stager

Great analogy Andrew. It's true, though. Hear the same thing enough times and we'll just tune it out. Motivation to switch things up a bit!

May 23, 2013 11:59 PM
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

Very thought-provoking, Andrew!  A new technique may be heard as a different "voice", and garner attention.  Rocky, our Pugadore (Pug/Black Labradore), would agree!

May 24, 2013 12:08 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Suzanne: Thank you for the comment!  :)

Julia: Thank you, and now I'm going to have to search Google Images to see what a Pugadore looks like!  :)

May 24, 2013 12:22 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Because I have dogs, I know of what you speak.  But I was wondering where your post was going - then saw the excellent analogy.  Diversity your message and keep it fresh so people pay attention.  

May 24, 2013 01:22 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Margaret: Thank you for comment- and, as someone from Michigan to sn Illinois resident, may the best hockey team win tomorrow!  :)

May 24, 2013 01:32 AM
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

That's an excellent analogy and I think Beau deserves an extra doggie biscuit for coming up with it, Andrew.


May 24, 2013 04:27 AM
Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, SRES
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

Great story.  The dog I get the pleasure of babysitting once in a while is a little dog.  He only barks at big dogs.  I think that is because he was raised with a bigger dog, who used to eat all of his food.  Kind of like the independent brokers vs. the big box brokers.

May 24, 2013 05:14 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Great analogy and I have to agree with Toni, Beau is in line for extra treats!!!

May 24, 2013 07:55 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Andrew, I really like the analogy, too. "Barking" out your message will only get you so far.

May 24, 2013 08:53 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Toni & Barbara-Jo: Thank you, and Beau would certainly agree with you!  :)

Gary: Thanks- I like your analogy, too!  :)

Eric: Agreed, thank you!  :)

Erica: Thanks, and hello to you and your Michigander husband!  :)

May 24, 2013 09:23 AM
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

Learning how to LISTEN is an art that many people have not taken the time to learn. Looking for new approaches on how to make my business grow is a very good point. Thank you

May 24, 2013 11:08 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Andrew a very informative post. Thanks for sharing with your Active Rain colleagues.  I always learn so much form our Active Rain members.

May 24, 2013 11:37 AM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

Jimmy: Very true!  Thank you for the comment!

Joan: Thank you- I do, too!  It's a great resource for all of us!

May 25, 2013 01:07 AM
John J. Woods
Big Dog Press, LLC - Winder, GA
Going where no man has gone before - wouldn't you?


   Good analogy.  Smart marketing post.


May 27, 2013 04:19 AM
Carmela Jacobs
Carmela Realty - Westlake Village, CA
Ventura Co., Los Angeles Co., CA, & Global Realtor


Thanks for sharing this story, I do believe we can get static at times when we are complacent. To stay relevant we have to keep on moving, learning and growing to provide value to our clients.

I've always heard the old saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks".  I tend to disagree give Beau another chance. :)



May 31, 2013 04:48 AM
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Andrew - Great analogy! I love those curly pug tails, which I'm the owner of two of them.

May 31, 2013 12:01 PM
Andrew Capelli
Troy, MI

John: Thank you!  :)

Carmela: Thank you- Ha!  I'll give Beau another chance, but I won't hold my breath (I still love him)!  :)

Michelle: Thanks- Pugs are so cute!  Beau has inherited the Pug idea that he's a lap dog, though, even though he weighs 30 lbs.!  :)

Jun 01, 2013 12:26 AM