Nicole Cooper, managing director of Fitz All Media Events, organiser of DogFest, VetFest and the Great Dog Walk, talks of data, the importance of listening and an expanding portfolio

Fitz All Media recently announced huge successes and continued growth within the business – what’s the story behind this growth? 

We have been focused on the pet market for many years now. We organise 11 annual events attracting more than 120,000 visitors, 750 brands and partners – and the pet care market is one of the fastest growing areas of the retail sector. Globally it’s a £100 billion market, with the UK petcare sector now valued at close to £6 billion. Pets are an integral part of the family so we have continued to see growth in our events as people have an increasing desire to treat their pets and enjoy experiences together. More than half of UK shoppers would rather cut back spending money on themselves than their pets, whilst consumers continue to spend on experiences. This is reflected in our visitor ticket sales from the National Pet Show in November last year when we saw a 25 per cent increase in visitors.

The growth of the sector has seen the emergence of brands wanting to get in front of pet owners and committed to producing experiences with depth and the brands are seeing huge benefits.

You are expanding your event portfolio this year – tell us more about the expansion

We are a creative company and continue to launch new properties. Our most notable achievement last year was the launch of the Great Dog Walk series in the autumn, which drew huge support and visitors were attracted by the sense of community, fundraising opportunities and health benefits. We are now rolling out six events across the UK this year as well as the launch of the Great Dog Run series.

What do you think will be the big challenges you will face this year? 

The biggest challenge is continuing and retaining quality data by ensuring we are targeting our core demographic through their most engaged channels.

What is the biggest business lesson you have learned?

Recognising and developing a multi-disciplinary team.

Most memorable event moment?

Michaela Strachan’s impromptu sheep herding at the Great Dog Walk when a herd of sheep decided they wanted to join thousands of dog walkers and dogs!

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

From so many areas including talking to people in the pet industry from vets to the brands as well as event specialists. You hear so much from just listening as well as just seeing how people react to different experiences and listening and following innovation in the creative industries.

Plans for the future?

We would like to be everything pet across the UK! We are ambitious and experienced at launching properties so the next step is to work with technology and content providers to continue to grow our network and reach.