Zoetis PetsResearch • UX • Interaction Design
Zoetis is the world's leading animal health company operating in over 100 markets. Their core business targets veterinary professionals and farmers. In 2021 the global rise in pet ownership drove the inception of Zoetis Pets. This direct-to-consumer digital eco-system aims to build brand awareness and increase revenue from the pet-focused products manufactured by the brand.
Zoetis came to us with the request to build out a new digital offering that targeted pet owners, offering them trusted advice and solutions for their pet care concerns.
While the team knew they wanted to connect with pet owners and share their knowledge about keeping pets happy and healthy, they did not know what an excellent digital experience should be. An already saturated market of pet advice sites and apps meant they were keen to find the right balance to keep people engaged.
A critical success indicator for this project was to increase customer awareness and market share of the brand's pet focused medication. Zoetis recorded a 15% revenue growth in 2021 bringing total revenue to $7.7 billion for the year driven by the Companion Animal segment. The leading product Simparica Trio increased sales by 82%.
When I joined the project, a marketing campaign for a product treating dermatitis was about to launch; The request was to use much of the same functionality and interface as possible to save development effort and maintain a consistent experience across the campaigns.
Upon evaluation of the site experience, it didn't offer much user value. It asked the user to select answers to questions and then input their email address to receive a chosen answer list. Over the next few months, the campaign would collect usage data to identify the critical drop-off points and inputs.
Due to launch in 2021, three campaigns: the imminent dermatitis medication, a parasiticide preventative, followed by a treatment that relieved the symptoms of osteoarthritis. These campaigns looked at a rollout across more than 15 locations globally and needed to be suitable for dog and cat owners. Regulation prevents the direct sale or advertisement of medicines to consumers in specific markets but allows direct sales in others. The marketing material was to sit on a site together that would ultimately create a destination support site for pet owners for which we were to form the strategy and experience. The first market rollout was the UK; this would become the primary site for all others to follow.
Pet owner interviews
Speaking with pet owners from various key locations worldwide, we encountered many different attitudes to pets and their care. Perhaps not surprisingly for pet parents, very different perspectives on cats' and dogs' health and wellness care. While people were keen to look online for health information about dogs, they commented that they would prefer to seek an opinion from a medical professional for cat health concerns. People, especially new dog owners, searched online regularly. Many mentioned cross-referencing sources and ultimately seeking the advice of a trusted contact or vet. We also encountered different levels of awareness of preventative treatments and pharmaceuticals. Participants from locations such as the USA and UK placed high importance on ensuring their pet gets the best they can afford. In other places, people had minimal awareness of the need to treat their pets with medication or felt that the cost was prohibitively high for regular dosing.
- When it comes to medication and treatment, people trust the vet and are aware they lack knowledge and expertise.
- Participants browsed multiple sources and cross-referenced.
- Diet is seen as part of preventative care.
- Trusted word of mouth recommendations featured highly in our conversations.
- Big brand names such as the Kennel Club and PetMD recieved a mixed response of trust and sceptism.
To create a unified experience for the proposition in all markets, we spoke with the stakeholders and sales team leads in the markets to understand their current local websites' successes and frustrations. We heard that they struggled to write and publish new content to keep the website up to date and give users a reason to return but appreciated the flexibility to follow their local pharmaceutical regulations and offer products relevant to their market at appropriate times.
The biggest technical constraint we faced was the company's recent move to a new Content Management System (CMS), which held various restrictions and lack of access to the source code. The 3rd party company handling the development had architected a system to allow increased flexibility to tack on additional pages written from scratch. This workaround came with the downside of having very few template blocks to work with the main site pages.
Diverging the experience into two streams
After discussing the realization of the longer-term vision vs. the best possible view of what would be achievable for the marketing campaigns launching in 2 months, we decided to focus on meeting the immediate deadline while providing a view of scalability and improvements that could be made as the functionality can be added into the CMS.
A site map showing the three campaigns due to roll out in 2021 sitting longside article content that allows users to explore the site and have a reason to return after inital engagement.
Our initial priority was the parasiticides prevention campaign due to an upcoming product launch in several markets. To address the issues of speed and flexibility in future campaign creation, we proposed a template that would reduce the need for additional development resources. The decision to re-use much of the dermatitis campaign led us to interrogate the quiz format and whether we could ask people to answer questions and assess their pet's need for preventative treatments. A key selling point of the company's parasiticides medication is its ability to treat a broad spectrum of parasites in one tablet that needs to be administered less frequently than competitors.
After speaking with the company's veterinary expert and key contact person for veterinary clients in the USA, we began to formulate a few design concepts that may be able to inform about the risks to their pet's health and point them in the direction of the product in question.
- What happens to your pet if it gets these parasites...
- You think your pet is protected, but it isn't.
- You are protecting your beloved pet, but is it fully covered?
We were looking to balance motivating action and being too aggressive. Feeling that the first concept was trying to elicit a fear response in our pet owners, this one was easy to discount. The site did not intend to drive negative emotions such as panic or disgust that may accompany the condition's side effects. However, this concept did tick some boxes when it comes to driving user interest in how they may be able to fix a problem they identified.
The second concept had legs and won over the majority of stakeholders. The message we had been getting from talking to our experts was that the medication should cover as many parasites as possible, and owners should not miss or delay a dose to ensure maximum protection.
The third concept hit the notes that we had identified as important to our pet owners during discovery. In many of our conversations, people had spoken of their pets as part of the family and saw maintaining their health as highly important. One of our participants had said, "I eat hamburgers, but I would never feed that to my dog." The tone of this concept was to say you are doing a great job and your pet is living its best life but is it fully covered in all situations?
The team decided on two concepts to explore further by focusing on the quiz experience, which also allowed the visual branding team to go ahead and start creating ideas for advertising. A very tight timeline on the project meant some quick wireframes to put in front of stakeholders as quickly as possible.
I created a user journey for the happy path and identified some needs at each point, referencing whether the previous campaign had met these needs. This helped guide a fellow designer to create initial wireframes that heavily re-used the components and styling from that campaign. This ticked the box of repeatable templates and lower development requirements; however, it still felt that the value offered in exchange for the user's time was lacking.
With some stakeholders looking for a more hard-hitting message and others concerned about whether the email address capture was compelling enough, I went back to the concepts to ideate without the existing template as a constraint.
Re-thinking the user value
Throughout the stakeholder interviews and interactions with our vet experts I learned a lot about parasites, the issues they cause and how to prevent them. I wanted to explore the concept of using the quiz format to teach pet owners the same so that they felt empowered to take the best care of their furry friend.
I explored using the user's interactions to give them either instant or delayed feedback on the types of parasites their pet encountered through usual activities. The interface displays associated parasites on selection or allows multiple selections or questions before a result is shown.
This solution explores the pet owner selecting their pets daily activities and collects different types of parasites that they may come into contact with in that location. They are then given the information about the different parasites they should consider protecting against and how many of the activities they selected have a risk of each parasite type.
This idea built on top of the branding teams work on the marketing direction that suggested pets were happy in their daily activities but also at risk. The key stakeholders were onboard with the new direction but wanted to explore the addtion of some questions that prompt pet owners to medicate more regularly.
I was keen to ensure the site worked for all markets and had the flexibility to show products for sale where possible or lead the user to a solution for the lack of comprehensive protection they may have uncovered.
On the outcome screen I ideated on the onward journeys after completing the quiz. With goals around capturing email addresses for marketing purposes, I wanted to intergrate this in a compelling way and provide the user with additional benefit.
This led to a few versions showing different ammounts of information before an email is needed to unlock the the remaining information. This felt like a healthy balance between providing some value upfront and pushing to input an email address.
Working with the copywriting team I proposed the user should be informed from the begining that they would have a report emailed to them that could support them when they visit the vet.
Shortly after working with the development team to start the build of the new template, the Zoetis team came to us with the news of a re-prioritization in the marketing department. The Parasiticides Campaign was de-scoped from launch on the UK site due to summer nearing its end and a decision to launch the build in the Latin American market instead for the start of their summer season.
This meant we needed to address local market translations into Spanish (LatAm) and ensure all quiz questions were appropriate for the locations. Each regional market had a lengthy approval process with many stakeholders to provide sign-off. While they were quickly on board with the site, legal processes and wording needed further discussion.
An additional issue was the availability of the Simparica Trio medication in all the Latin American countries. The build supported one site for all LatAm countries, but a few were not yet ready to launch the product but wanted to use the site to advertise the Simparica product they had available. The difference was that it treated fewer parasites and required different branding and color treatments. I needed to re-think the quiz's logic and how the answers provided a breakdown of the parasite risk. The re-work saw the parasites collected in relation to the medication available.
After discussions with the team about the educational value of only showing the parasite risk through the lens of the medication available, we decided that this was the best course of action dues to the site's goals of directly selling the product to consumers in Latin America. This was mainly influenced by competitor products providing a similar level of protection as the Simparica Trio product and may cause consumers to be driven toward those products instead.
With the build already in progress, changes needed to be made in development with as little impact on the deadline as possible. I worked with the development team to clarify the design changes and help them understand which conditions would result in different branding and customer experience.
Zoetis launched their parasiticides campaign in Latin America in time for their summer season to begin and was followed by other key markets and campaigns. Zoetis recorded a 15% revenue growth in 2021 bringing total revenue to $7.7 billion for the year driven by the Companion Animal segment. The leading product Simparica Trio increased sales by 82%.
This project taught me a lot about the value of structured ways of working and transparency across functions. The key issues we met as a team were centered around ambitious project goals under very tight deadlines. The team worked with positivity and agility through the problems we encountered; however, with more insight into the business decisions and their backgrounds and a collaborative role in the development phase, we may have been able to shorten our delivery times and consider more factors before they became blockers.