Rover Analysis - Marketing
While there are some indications that Rover organizes by product line for internal purposes, ultimately their primary product is the app itself. Rather, the customer-facing targeting is focused on geographic areas (usually cities). While
PRODUCT LINE ORGANIZATION
- Until very recently, Rover had only two product "lines" to speak of, dog sitting and dog walking.
- Starting April 25, 2019, they expanded their services to include cat-sitting following a three-month beta period (December 2018 to February 2019).
- The dog-care lines are expected to reach nearly $500 million in bookings in 2019, while the cat care line achieved $4 million in bookings and deployed 15,000 cat-sitters (compared to Rover's 300,000+ dog sitters and walkers) just during its beta period, suggesting that it will be a significant, if smaller, line of business.
- In late 2018, Rover also launched a new service called Rover Now in select cities, including San Diego, Boston, Austin, and San Fransisco. This service simplifies the process of finding a dog-walker and can usually provide one within the hour.
- However, given that Rover ultimately provides all of these services through a single app, it's not entirely certain to what extent the product lines are or will be a focus of the company's internal organization going forward.
Rover's strategy targets geographic areas more than product lines:
- Their About Us page highlights that they deploy over 200,000 sitters in over 14,000 cities, with a more recent piece indicating that the number of sitters has grown to over 300,000.
- Rover's strategy has been to focus primarily on urban areas where the density of prospective sitters and customers is the greatest.
- Their website focuses on listing "Top Rover Cities" over specific product offerings.
- Rover entered the UK market in July 2018, followed by expanding into the rest of Western Europe with the acquisition of "Europe’s leading dog boarding, doggy day care, and dog walking platform, DogBuddy."
Rover makes extensive use of content marketing through their blogs and social media channels, indicating at least a strong multi-channel marketing strategy:
- Their blog has an extensive number of articles on a wide array of pet topics (primarily, though not completely, focused on dogs) which is updated often (though due to a lack of article dates, it is uncertain exactly how often).
- The site also provides a Q&A Community page which enables pet owners to ask and answer questions, generating still more searchable content for the company page.
- Rover has also released at least two major research reports, "The Real Power of Dog Love," which they published to coincide with Valentine's Day, and the "Dog People Walking Report" to coincide with the service's launch in New York City in March 2018.
- Their Facebook page, which updates with articles from the main website every few days, has nearly 925,000 followers and 932,000 likes.
- Their Instagram and Pinterest accounts are also popular, with the former having 139,000 followers and the latter seeing 1.9 million monthly visitors.
- Rover's Twitter page, which largely mirrors their Facebook page, is far less popular, with only 16,600 followers despite 42,000 tweets.
Despite a long-standing social media and online presence, it wasn't until recently that Rover began advertising through conventional channels.
- From April 2017 to August 2018, Rover ran its "The Dog People" marketing campaign.
- Halle Hutchison, Rover's VP of marketing said that the purpose of the campaign was to raise awareness of the brand.
However, while Rover's marketing strategy certainly falls within the definition of a multichannel strategy, we find no evidence of an omnichannel strategy in which the customer finds a "completely consistent, unified experience at every touch point."