Archive for month: July, 2012
Strong tasting mouthwash, mints, or mouthwashes that burn, might give you a false sense of security. In fact most other mouthwashes simply mask, or cover up, bad breath. And not for long. But Smart Mouth actually neutralizes bad breath. Read more
On May 31st David Biernbaum will be leading a seminar in St. Louis discussing topics such as strategic marketing plans and common mistakes of retailers.
St. Louis, Mo. (PRWEB) May 20, 2007 — For privately held, moderate-to-midsized consumer packaged goods companies, marketing and sales consultant David Biernbaum is their David vs. Goliath. For more than 27 years, Biernbaum has helped companies maneuver the sea of competition fighting for retail shelf space, helping brands carve out niches and position themselves to become some of the most beloved brands and sales super heroes of their categories.
On May 31st, Biernbaum, launches the first in his series of consultative “Coffee Talks”. Biernbaum will share the secrets that have made the difference for dozens of companies in their quest for regional, big box and global shelf space.
According to Biernbaum, “It’s easy for privately held CPG companies to make missteps. I talk to them like a friend in the business. It’s important that they know what they really need and want to know. That includes answers and practical knowledge about everything from the NACDS Marketplace, ECRM and all the major retail chains.”
The Coffee Talk series will take place in St. Louis, near the St. Louis Airport, making the summit easily accessible for entrepreneurs coming for all over the U.S, and Canada. Biernbaum, known as a hands-on senior marketing and sales VP for growing niche brand companies, holds the key to the Pandora’s Box of answers of what it takes to make it in today’s competitive consumer goods retail landscape.
A portion of the Coffee Talk will focus on retail. Topics and discussion points will include: What are the most practical ways to approach the mega-billion giant retailers who exert such enormous power and influence over which brands fly or flounder. What are the common mistakes and pitfalls for how these retailers are approached? What do they expect from you when you walk in the door? What types of meetings really work, and what types of meetings really do not? What are the real motivators? What are the real turn-off’s that you might not notice until several months later? What are the politics, the nuances, and infrastructures that drive decisions with each retailer, specifically? What are the real preparations needed for successful appointments? What is worthwhile, and what not? What is the real substance I need? How important is my product? What prevents many new innovative products from getting chosen, even with great pricing and good margins? What are the roles of the buyer, the category manager, and where does senior management come into play?
According to Biernbaum, a CPG’s relationship with its broker can be one of the primary cornerstones of its success. Most reputable brokers in each market are very knowledgeable and helpful, and have good relationships with retailers in their markets, and many retail buyers prefer that CPG’s use brokers for any number of reasons. However, it is absolutely essential and critical to your company’s health that you have a completely realistic understanding about brokers, and the entire broker process, immediately and upfront. At the Coffee Talk session, Biernbaum will have an in-depth discussion about brokers, covering topics ranging from hiring, reliance, expectations, appointment and door-opening, and the 6 common mistakes most companies make with brokers.
One of the biggest blunders Biernbaum has seen companies make is in their own planning. Biernbaum’s Coffee Talk will address critical elements for success including the real cost associated with launching new items; competing in categories dominated by giants; return on investment with trade advertising; and a crash course in key CPG industry terms.
In addition, Biernbaum will provide tips on activities and things to look out for before, during and after each tradeshow or conference to maximize each experience.
BUSINESS SESSION 1:
SAN DIEGO — “Niche manufacturers are an important part of NACDS Marketplace, but these smaller companies typically are new to the industry and have a great deal to learn when it comes to successfully bringing their products to market.
Looking to help inform these fledgling companies on the critical role of a sales and marketing consultant, a panel comprised of representatives, suppliers and one retailer gathered for an insightful discussion at NACDS Marketplace:”
“It is estimated that each year more than 30,000 new items are introduced into the packaged goods world. But the reality is that many of these items do not achieve success due to a lack of understanding of the commercialization process.”
“A manufacturer may come up with a great product, but if it’s not prepared and doesn’t have a sufficient marketing plan in place, the product is likely to never see the light of the shelf.”
“Smaller manufacturers aren’t the only ones facing hurdles. Fearful of being stuck with a surplus of product they can’t sell, retailers are growing increasingly cautious about whom they do business with and what they will demand of prospective clients.”
“We expect manufacturers to be involved every step of the way,” said panelist Tracy Blais, divisional merchandise manager of consumer health care for CVS Caremark. This is why it is becoming increasingly important that niche players work with a sales and marketing consultant.”
“Many small start-ups have an entrepreneurial spirit, but things may get harder and we are there to help you. Treat the consultant like a member of your team.”
David Biernbaum heading a Task Force Group to address retailer’s senior management about (SKU) over-rationalization.
All Clients, Associates and Industry Friends:
To help reverse the current retail trend for omitting small brands, licenses, specialties and niche products from retail POG’s, I am teaming up with four distinguished colleagues (other consultants and industry leaders) on addressing the topic of SKU “over-rationalization.” My colleagues have strong backgrounds in economics, consumer behavioral research and retail.
Great news! Firm appointments and meetings are now set with CEO’s, presidents and senior merchandising VP’s at five major national and two major regional retailers. These presentations and meetings will be held in privacy, in off-site locations May through August.
Some of the sub topics to be addressed include:
- Short and long-term economic implications likely to result from elimination of specialty brands and niche products.
- Predictable long-term impact on profits that can be anticipated from product assortment “sameness,” retailer to retailer.
- Consumer behavior and why SKU rationalization might be overlooking certain human elements.
- Alternative approaches within and outside the process (for consideration).
CM’s, buyers and senior buyers have encouraged me to pursue this process. Once we succeed in getting the message across at the senior level (I’m confident we will!), rest assured it will help to enable CM’s to re-open certain channels they already know are good for their business. In some key instances, buyers and CM’s have helped with suggestions on how to arrange for the senior level meetings.
The objective is to motivate the next level of thought and consideration with regards to SKU rationalization and how the process has already had some erroneous results for retailers, with regards to small brands, specialties and niches. This discussion doesn’t aim to address specific items; however, to help make the points, I do intend to site a few carefully selected examples beyond my client company’s brands.
Consumers want choices; retailers want destination. We are encouraging retailers to consider using a scalpel, instead of a sledge hammer, in applying the SKU rationalization process. We have a powerful presentation and we’re excited to advance this purpose to the benefit of retailers, consumers, small brands and our collective client companies.
DRUG STORE NEWS (DSN DAILY)
David Biernbaum & Associates /Australian Dream, TriCalm, and SmartMouth ad, Pg. 54 DSN
David Biernbaum & Associates / Australian Dream Ad, Page 54 DSN
David Biernbaum & Associates / TriCalm write up Page 50 DSN
David Biernbaum & Associates / TriCalm ad Pg. 54 DSN Daily
Australian Dream including Back Pain Cream write up. DSN Daily
Page 54 DB/Australian Dream ad – DSN Daily
In this age of SKU-rationalization, it’s critical your product has a defined market need, point of differentiation and good timing.
The Right People
The CPG retail industry is complex and unforgiving, with hundreds of hidden details and nuances. Experience PAYS!
The Right Appointments
Retailers operate with specific category planning calendars. It’s critical to know the proper timing for all the people in the room—on both sides of the table.
The Right Presentation
Making a comprehensive proposal, with all the key retail elements, is essential to get the desired results.
The Right Package/Design
This is not merely a graphic artist’s function. Consumer package design will make or break your results on the retail shelves. Poor velocity of sales is often attributed to the most “subtle” and minute detail.
The Right Marketing/Promotions and Ongoing Brand Management
Your product’s survival needs thoughtful planning, detailed attention and expert consultation. This is vital from day one. Slow movers are short lived in retail stores.
- If your broker can be at a meeting with an account he or she has a relationship with, take him or her with you!
- Don’t ask buyers, “Where are you located and how many stores do you have?” This indicates you have not done your homework and don’t know the industry. You lose credibility at the very start and buyers will have no confidence in you. Do your homework or check with me to know and understand who you’ll be meeting at the show.
- Be prepared for short 10-minute meetings and don’t be late. Waste no time with meaningless small talk. Introduce yourself, make a brief elevator pitch about your company and get right to your presentation. Be sure to include some visuals to show your understanding about the product category and business model. Know your costs, SRP’s, and all the basics. Retailers hate when new suppliers are not prepared for a meaningful discussion.
- Carry samples, but don’t be clumsy with too many. Walk the room with a few samples (for show and tell) and bring a simple, user-friendly, presentation. Discuss with me if you need suggestions.
- Take plenty of notes. Buyers appreciate you taking what they say seriously. When they offer criticism or suggestions, DO NOT interrupt them and become defensive! You can always offer more information when they are not talking! Listen carefully and actively!
- Most buyers do NOT want samples with them at Meet the Market. Get their business cards and offer to send samples after the show. People don’t like to travel with too many things.
- Have a productive meeting and ask the buyer to visit your booth. Write down your booth number on the back of your business card! (Do this before the event!)
- Don’t waste time during the meeting looking up prices or searching for details. Have it all on a nice summary you can refer to and leave behind. The summary should be professionally prepared.
- Sell your product, but be sure to also sell your company, team, capacity, capabilities and PLAN! (Sell your team! Buyers need to know it’s not just YOU! Buyers like to buy from companies not individuals.) Be cognizant not to say “I, me, my, etc.—say “We!”
- If you’re using a laptop, make sure you have plenty of battery power. There are no plugs in the middle of the floor.
- When your 10 minutes are over, be prepared to leave the table. Don’t hold up their next meeting and don’t be late to YOUR next meeting!
- Know the difference between wholesalers and retailers! Don’t talk to wholesalers about stores; they don’t have stores! Talk to them about their retail chain customers and know which ones they sell. If they sell independents, know they do not control the POG’s. In other words, know the business of the company you are talking to! Most will not do business with someone who doesn’t! It’s NOT their job to teach you!
- Your brand must sustain the company’s or store’s image. Store brands should be viewed as more than margin boosters and serve as reinstatement of the store’s identification. It’s important to note that true value-oriented brands build customer loyalty, even through economic downturns and recoveries. The quality of the merchandise should be communicated effectively—not understated nor overstated!
- Top management must be committed to supporting the brand’s strategy. Private label branding should not be a function of individual buyers within a category that are autonomous from each other. Top management needs to synergistically work with a skilled marketing team, inside and outside of the retailer infrastructure. Branding needs to be broader than any individual item or single category.
- Create your store brand cohesively. It’s not usually a good practice to blatantly imitate other brands; at least not if your purpose is to build store brand or company name equity. Don’t create category stand-alones that ignore the need to achieve a cohesive brand franchise.
- Define the company’s or store’s point of difference. Retailers need to know and understand their target consumers, and store brands should reflect the store-branding philosophy and image of the store.
- Be unique to generate curiosity. Invest in innovation to maintain the leading edge and reinforce brand equity. Refrain from “look-alike” marketing. Doing so will only breed confusion and fail to build brand equity. You need to build consumer confidence that your brand is either equal or better.
- Design and implement brand packaging continually. Always be aware of the quality-perception across an array of products and packages. Analyze each category, probing how best to present the products to the consumer and avoid the rubber-stamp approach. You want an overall consistent look that consolidates store brand imaging. The consumer visualizes the product through packaging, shapes, colors, symbols and words. Then he or she forms an opinion about value and performance. Every detail in your marketing, merchandising and planning needs to be thought through carefully and purposefully.
- Position the brand effectively in each product category. Niche designs are most effective. Retain your stylistic relationship to the overall private brand program.
- Reflect the price, quality and value strategy of the store. In other words, market from the position you’re in. Resist the temptation to make packages as alluring as possible. That always backfires! There is such a thing as over doing it and it will cost you consumer-credibility. If it looks expensive and it’s not, it’s misrepresenting the promise. Your products should not look cheap or inferior, but they should also not oversell. It must deliver the right promise or it will not be purchased again.
- Renew excitement with each new product line. New products deserve attention and fanfare. Retailers own the shelves and the ability to create and stimulate interest. Use media advertising, packaging, ads, promotions, shelf displays, points-of-purchase displays and signs to create the right attention.
- Monitor your brands constantly! Monitor packages that represent the store brand and use data to analyze consumer shopping habits and performance. Never become complacent. You should make modifications about once every 18 months. Keep it fresh!
- Failing to do proper due diligence on the viability of your business idea.
- Miscalculating market size, timing, ease of entry and potential market share.
- Underestimating financial requirements and timing.
- Hiring for convenience, rather than skill requirements. Caution: Friends and relatives might be less expensive, but they probably do not have the right expertise to help you in a very complex CPG environment.
- Hiring random brokers for accounts without a national plan. Use a master broker, hands-on consultant or experienced VP of Sales in the CPG industry.
- Over-projecting sales volume and timing.
- Starting out on your own, without a CPG retail expert. Relying strictly on your product knowledge and your other business experience is not going to work out well for most. This is a specialized field.
- Approaching the retailer without the ability to explain your research, marketing plan and business proposal. To do so is just asking for trouble (e.g., pay with scan.)
- Seeking confirmation of your actions, rather than seeking the truth.
- Underestimating (or not knowing) the true cost of doing business with chain retailers.
- Making your initial sales call without taking a retail expert or someone with extensive accounts knowledge with you.
- Lacking simplicity in your vision. What’s in it for the retailer and consumer? How is this new or different from existing products?
While these tips are great, this list is NOT exhaustive. Before using these tips call us for a consultation, which will provide the full picture and scope.
Special Note: It’s usually not a good practice to hire the first broker you meet. The interviewing process itself is a valuable learning experience for you and your business. Interview several and hone your skills.[/box]
The following questions and tips are a great starting point:
- Who will actually be making the sales calls on my behalf at the appointments?
- Important to get a bio and resume for each account representative, for each retailer to be covered. The proper follow up questions are crucial. Make sure you know what they are – let’s discuss.
- How do you go about setting up the appointments?
- What are your procedures and what should be my expectations?
- How much lead time will I typically receive if I need to attend?
- Keep in mind that in most cases, you will want to ensure you attend the appointment.
- What is your plan for introducing my products to retail accounts?
- Please explain the steps and procedures you will recommend and follow.
- What is your follow through strategy if my products are not accepted at the first meeting?
- Please give me examples of other real world scenarios when and where that happened.
- What are your philosophies about each of your retail chains, in regards to the infrastructure, systems, politics, decision-making process, etc?
- What other product lines do you currently represent, in which categories, and how will this impact the commitment, availability and time allotment to my product and brand?
- Will there be a conflict of interest in product lines, resources and time commitment?
- Do you have established relationships with category managers who buy my type of product line and brands?
- How large is your organization and who are the key players I will interact with during and after the process has begun?
- How do you communicate with your top clients, and how often?
- Do you prioritize by mid-size and small clients, and if so, what is that priority?
- Do you have any systems in place for rapid response?
- What is your turn-around time on responses to inquiries via telephone and e-mail?
- Do you do most of the retailer forms and paperwork for your clients, or do you ask the client to fill out the paperwork and send it all back to you, completed?
- What is your procedure to secure ads and promotions at retail accounts and how will I know that I’m never missing out on timely opportunities?
- What roles do you see your company performing, for which you are responsible?
- Which roles do you perceive we should be held responsible?
- What types of management and processes do you need from me and my company?
- What examples will you share with me and your other principals of partnerships that work well for you and your manufacturer?
- Can you give me examples of situations that do not work quite as well and explain why?
As I said – these are just the tips of the iceberg – let’s discuss!
“Driving consumer products to maximum success through increased market-share and continuous growth, while building value and equity for my clients’ brands, is my passion and expertise.” — David Biernbaum