How to use Mission Marketing to grow your Pet Business

On September 9th I’m heading off on a 4 day bike ride that will see me cover 200 miles and visit over a dozen dog rescue centres in Northumberland, Teeside, Derbyshire and North Wales. I’ve called it the ‘Tour de Rescue’.

There are number of reasons why I’m doing this event, but the main one is to help shine a light on the fantastic work that local rescues do to help the most neglected dogs (with very little resources), and to help more dog owners actually stay with their dogs, so they never get into a situation where they feel they need to give the dog up.

Me in training for the Tour de Rescue. Pre-lycra. Phew

I genuinely think most people adopt a dog or buy a puppy fully intending to keep that dog forever, but for one reason or another the dog becomes too difficult to look after, and so is given up. This results in a revolving door where dogs go in and out of rescues.  Many of these dogs would make wonderful family pets, if only the owners knew how to give the dogs the structure they need to be happy, healthy and easy to control.

Now, I’ve worked in the pet industry for 8 years and I know it’s not just bad  owners who are to blame here. Yes, there are horror stories and cases of cruelty to animals in the media all the time, but those are a tiny percentage of cases. Most owners love their dogs dearly, they just don’t know how to control them, and I think a lot of pet professionals make this worse by offering bad advice. I’m not going into a big dog training diatribe here (phew!) instead I’ll share what I’ hoping to achieve with the event, and how you can do something similar which will create an impact in your community, and have added benefits for your business too.

So, how did the Tour de Rescue come about? Great question!

I’ve always been passionate about helping rescue dogs, and it’s no exaggeration to say that rescue dogs really did change my life. I’ve adopted 3 rescues, and it was while I was helping out at my own local rescue back in 2011 that I had the idea to start a dog adventure business. Since then, I’ve become a dog trainer, and my training philosophy is all about making dog training simple and easy to action so it benefits the people who need the most help.

I’ve also always loved cycling, and I’m a big Tour de France fan. Years ago I read a book by Tim Moore called French Revolutions. In it he tells the funny story of how he rode the Tour de France following the actual route the professionals do, a few weeks before the main event. This really appealed to my sense of adventure, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to swing 3 weeks away from Beth and the kids, so I came up with my own smaller version which also allows me to support a cause that is dear to my heart.

And so the Tour de Rescue was born. At the time of writing this I have no idea how successfully the event is going to be, but I’m confident it’s going to be pretty awesome. To increase my chances of success I’m pulling in all the contacts I’ve built over the last 8 years in business. That’s the first thing I’ve learned about doing an event like this, there are always loads of people ready and willing to step up and help you out when they believe in the cause.

So, I’ve got a main contact for each leg of the TDR, they have helped me co-ordinate with the local rescues who have agreed to a short interview with me so they can tell the story of what they do. (Hopefully they won’t be too put off when sweaty lycra clad Dom pedals up…) There are around 15 rescues involved so far, and I simply couldn’t have organised it all on my own. And it isn’t just the rescues who are involved, because on the evening of each leg we are doing a charity seminar where a load of dog trainers, rescue volunteer and dog wardens are coming along to share their best advice about rescue dogs. I’ve got 20 dog trainer friends involved and this in particular makes me really proud.

And all of this is going to be filmed, so at the end of it we will have an amazing resource that dogs (and their owners) will benefit from for years to come.

Me and my latest rescue dog, Derek the Dogue de Bordeaux

Telling the story of the dogs and the rescues is a big part of what I’m doing. I know some people are put off from rescuing dogs because they worry they may be damaged goods, and ‘they must be in a rescue for a reason’. The truth is though, most rescue dogs would make amazing pets, and through the many stories that we tell along the way, I’m hoping that repeated exposure will help break down mistaken beliefs, and make rescue dogs more appealing.

Another thing this event has allowed me to do it pull together a lot of my business contacts. My website designer Ben Waters has contributed a website so supporters can follow along with my progress as a blog about the event (check it out at My book illustrator Julia Brown has donated a fantastic ‘Tour de Rescue’ logo, and I’ve even roped in my good friend and fellow Connections B2B expert, Vicky Fraser. On the evening of the last leg of ‘the tour’ Vicky will be delivering a short presentation about how rescue centres can better market and promote the dogs in their care.

This week I’m writing press releases and finalising the route, and continuing with my cycling training, of course. I need to be fit enough to get round everywhere I promised I’ll visit.

So, there you go, a very quick rundown of what my next three weeks look like in the lead up to what feels like the most exciting thing I’ve done for years.

That’s one of the ancillary benefits of doing an event like this; As well as the main rescue dog charities who will benefit, it also gives me lots of content ideas and opportunities to talk about my mission, which in turn will bring more people into my world, some of whom will want to do business with me in the future. There’s a long tail to this event and I always have the long game in mind.

So, your mission today, should you choose to accept it, is to think of a way to bring together all the people and businesses in your world, to do some good for a cause which is close to your heart.

I’ve managed to combine my love of cycling, adventure, travel and all things dog, and wrap it up in an event which brings my community closer together, AND will (hopefully) leave a lasting legacy that will help rescue dogs for a long time.

What can you do to help a charity and grow your reputation as an industry leader?

If you want to discover how to successfully market your pet businesses so you can make more money with less stress and fewer headaches, then there are a number of ways I can help you…

Next you can grab a FREE copy of the pet business Audiobook ‘The Ultimate Pet Business Plan’ from me by clicking here.

In 2011 Dom Hodgson revolutionised the pet service industry with his first business Pack Leader Dog Adventures, the UK’s first, award winning ‘dog adventure’ company. Now a respected dog trainer, author, speaker and mentor to pet business owners, Dom’s calling is to help dog walkers, trainers and groomers to excel with their marketing, so they can help change the lives of more dog owners with their amazing skills.

Take that leap today. You won’t regret it.