HORN Animal Wellness

Our Strategies Solve Your Challenges


Outsourced Chief Marketing Executive: Repositions Best-in-Class Distributor, Drives Expansion into New Market

“Although our company has over a half-century of successful business experience, Susie Hays with Q2Mark helped us redefine our marketing strategy and take it to a completely new level. She helped us better understand where the opportunities were and how to reach our target audience through a truly integrated marketing approach.”

Lisa Alley-Zarkades
Vice President Commercial Development
HORN Animal Wellness

Objective: Growth from a New Division

Established in 1961 as the E.T. HORN Company, HORN is one of North America’s premier distributors of specialty ingredients, chemicals and raw materials. With representation in 11 western states and in the Southwest, its specialized market segments encompass five distinct distribution business units: Coatings and Building Materials, Advanced Materials, Nutraceuticals, Care Elements and FoodTech.


With a successful history of distribution, vast background in food science and love for animals, Lisa Alley-Zarkades seized an opportunity to expand into a new market – the pet food industry. Devoted to improving the overall health and quality of life for animals, Lisa brought together a technical sales force and application specialists to create a new division to assist customers with their ingredient and formulating needs called HORN Animal Wellness. 


The Challenge

Through the expertise and knowledge of their scientific advisors and regulatory managers, HORN Animal Wellness was committed from the beginning to also support customers with their regulatory and labeling requirements. The goal was for their services to go far beyond being an ingredient supplier, but they needed help reaching their audience and communicating their message.  


Meeting Client Needs

To grow their new division further, HORN Animal Wellness sponsored industry educational events and content. VP, Lisa AlleyZarkades sought outside expertise to develop and execute their marketing commitments. As an outsourced CMO, I was recommended by one of HORN’s valued principals and could work on a part-time basis to meet HORN AW’s business and financial goals.  


Our Strategies and Tactics

I quickly gained credibility and became an HORN Animal Wellness team member; I understood where opportunities were and how to hit target audiences through an integrated approach. I worked closely with Lisa to devise a new go-to-market strategy and brand, build a comprehensive marketing plan to broaden customer touch points, increase ROI, expand lead generation results and drive traffic to their website. My initiatives increased awareness in the new market, uniquely positioned HORN as the leader for animal wellness ingredients with a rich heritage of success, and helped secure new business development leads. 


Creating a Meaningful Branding

To begin, I rebuilt the newly minted animal wellness brand to make it more memorable and meaningful, and  I tied in the expertise and rich heritage that was HORN. Through graphics that incorporated historical company photos, candid shots of the HORN Animal Wellness team members with their pets, and creating content to educate the industry, Q2Mark demonstrated the fervent advocates the animal wellness team truly was. 


Dave Preszler and Susie Hays
Susie came to our HORN Animal Wellness Group highly recommended by one of our principal suppliers as having talented B2B marketing skill in human nutrition, but no background in the pet food & treat market. Well, I’m here to tell you that Susie is the proof in the pudding that a lack of industry background doesn’t mean a thing. Susie really did her research and applied her proven methodologies, strategies, tactics and creativity to bring about swift and immediate growth. She fundamentally changed the way we work both within and outside of HORN. Susie wasn’t just an investment she was instrumental in making HORN Animal Wellness what it is today.

Dave Preszler
Technical Director & Senior Account Manager
Animal Nutrition & FoodTech

A More Purposeful Website 

The HORN Animal Wellness website was basically a static online brochure with limited reason to revisit the site. With all of the educational resources HORN Animal Wellness was creating for the industry, I recommended a new strategy for the site to help drive traffic, engage their target audience, demonstrate their industry leadership with free content and improve their search engine optimization.


Using Social Media as a Year-Round Business Tool 

The idea of using social media as a business tool was new to HORN, but tactically a very important tool; this was where their audience was very active. I pitched, set-up, launched and trained the animal wellness team and other departments of HORN through webinars held at HORN’s corporate office. I crafted their social media policy and strategy, then moved on to develop each platform. For three years, I spearheaded the management of the HORN Animal Wellness Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube profiles, campaigns and communities. I also proposed, designed and managed an effective give-away contest with Informa to encourage the pet food industry crossover awareness via SupplySide West. Social media not only helped build awareness for HORN Animal Wellness, it also helped to demonstrate the team’s commitment to the industry and their pets with: industry and company news items; team member quotes and personal photos; company, product and event promotions; category educational content and humorous animal photos, videos and articles.




Making to Most Out of Tradeshows and Events 

Tradeshows and events are typically underutilized tactics for businesses, so I used them to increase ROI and maximize value.  Now HORN Animal Wellness attends all of the industry events each year and exhibits at the largest revenues like SuperZoo and PetFood Forum. To make the most of HORN Animal Wellness tradeshows, I dove into designing the booth and graphics from head to toe – down to the branded promotional prototypes, interactive handouts that drove audiences right back to the Animal Wellness website and in demand give aways were used to obtain business cards from leads. Every touch point was planned to build awareness, promote their products, demonstrate HORN AW’s expertise and commitments to

animals, educate and/or offer industry leadership. Our pre-show promotional strategies were used to bring traffic to HORN’s booth and their School of Animal Wellness educational sessions. Industry experts provided free presentations to SuperZoo attendees on the showroom floor, next to HORN’s booth. Event photos, videos and presentations were used for social media exposure, to encourage engagement, post-show email marketing, thank presenters, and bring event attendees back to HORN’s web site. I also launched PR campaigns to position HORN’s team and secure media opportunities at industry events.


Let’s Promote Products

While interviewing HORN Animal Wellness team, I realized attention needed to be spent on their product promotions, too. Since their ingredient portfolio consisted of evidence-based science, they needed help marketing their products for pet foods. To help solve this issue,  I first invented an application guide to show how the products could be used for specifically in each animal category, for nutritional and health support and ingredient functionality.  This tool was a huge success – making it easier to educate potential customers and engage product formulation discussions.  It was so successful, in fact, that it was adapted by other divisions to help their sales teams as well.

Infographics, collateral, presentations and ads were also developed for product promotions and repurposed for other platforms such as email marketing and website content to expand ROI.


Growth Results
Lisa Alley Zarkades + Susie Hays
“She communicated our expertise and values to the industry in a more unique and memorable way. It brought about an immediate and extraordinary increase in incremental sales. More importantly, her insight has fundamentally broadened the way we think about adding value, by better communicating with our principals, with our clients and throughout the industry. “Bottom line: The results speak for themselves and our investment in Susie and Q2Mark has been more than well worth it.”

Lisa Alley-Zarkades
Vice President Commercial Development
HORN Animal Wellness

Lasting Impact

HORN Animal Wellness is now positioned to tell its story with all of the pieces in place to grow exponentially. HORN Animal Wellness is the partner of choice to supply quality ingredients for animal food formulations. Their specialty team offers unmatched expertise in product formulation, supply chain and the delivery of best-in-class ingredients to the pet food industry.


Reaching Goals 

While the Animal Wellness division was the smallest, it without a doubt saw the most growth after partnering with me and Q2Mark.








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Q2Mark Implemented Overarching Marketing Strategies with Accomplished Results:
  • Increased awareness! No more time wasted on pitching credibility and historical business success. The branding tactics and SuperZoo event were SO successful that HORN Animal Wellness was the big buzz at the event; everyone knew who they were and what they did.
  • Positioned as lead industry educators.
  • Secured diverse new business leads within the Animal Wellness and Companion Pet industry.
  • Achieved consistency in design and voice across the Animal Wellness division.
  • Improved website search results and user experience:
    • Animal Wellness sponsorship marketing campaigns and content efforts, nonpaid, led to high-ranking referrals to the HORN corporate site. 6th place was generated from Petfood2.0 and 9th place was from SuperZoo efforts. HORN Animal Wellness = Top-Ranked Division.
    • There was a huge response to our email marketing efforts. HORN Animal Wellness leads the landing pages, across the board, for HORN email marketing to the site.
    • In terms of content, Animal Wellness SuperZoo content was listed 9th out of 65 ranked pages on the HORN corporate site. In other words, the site content and crossover marketing efforts we created helped keep the target audience on the HORN site longer and offered more opportunities to promote HORN Animal Wellness.
“I recommend Susie Hays to anyone who wants to standout amongst the crowd. I know of her successes in launching science-based products and businesses, but I didn’t realize just how great her work was until I got to work with her during a SuperZoo tradeshow and School of Animal Wellness event several years ago. Susie harnesses vision, dedication and drive to build comprehensive and integrative marketing communications. She demonstrated the ability to take my complex nutrition and food science source materials and transform them into easy to understand and utilize consumers campaigns – maximizing ROI at every turn. She is an amazing person and terrific professional.”

Chief Scientific Officer


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