Products containing natural ingredients are increasingly in demand by consumers. With research from Euromonitor International stating the natural ingredients industry will continue to grow over the next five years, marketers need effective plans to promote the branded ingredients that make nutraceuticals, cosmetics and functional foods and beverages sell.
Typically, ingredient manufacturers invest and ultimately spend the majority of their budgets on scientific research, clinical studies, materials and production. Aside from manufacturing and testing the ingredients, producers also need to actively promote to the trade using resources such as websites, videos, social media and productive public relations strategies to educate consumers on their ingredients. There are several considerations for producers when marketing branded ingredients.
Allocation of Resources
To develop their products, premium branded ingredient suppliers spend vast amounts of money on detailed research and raw product materials. Costs of natural ingredients often exceed those of synthetics, and extensive testing must be done to determine any toxicological issues and identify potential allergens.
Consequently, producers can face the issue of not allocating sufficient funds toward marketing materials that are crucial to selling branded ingredients. Materials such as informational graphics and educational assets, including videos or animation, play a vital role in positioning an ingredient as high-quality, particularly when selling to the consumer. Sophisticated production values are also required to tell the story behind clinical studies, and a cheaply constructed marketing plan can damage credibility, potentially stopping products from ever reaching the market.
From the outset, it’s important that ingredient producers focus on the customer and consider their needs with three specific and detailed questions:
· What will your manufacturer need to target and educate consumers who buy the product?
· How will you assist your customer to tell the story behind your premium branded ingredient in a retail meeting?
· How are you working with your customers to ensure they have included a worthwhile dose of the premium ingredient in the finished product?
With these goals in mind, manufacturers can then turn to implementing the marketing strategy for their branded ingredients.
Marketing Premium Ingredients
To successfully market premium ingredients, manufacturers should consider having two versions of their materials—one for the formulator and one for the customer.
A version specifically targeted toward the customer will be vital in the re-purposing process, ultimately providing educational information about the branded ingredients in the finished products. Both of these materials require a strong visual identity, helping to build trust and inform consumers of why the branded ingredients are both effective and worth purchasing.
The efficiency of the science or the mechanism behind the ingredients can be strongly described using a persuasive video or a striking animation. For example, video footage shot in a laboratory demonstrating usage of the formula or the research process behind it is an effective way to share the story of the ingredient with industry partners and members of the media. This video can also be used in other branding and marketing tools, making it a worthwhile investment.
To ensure an effective marketing strategy, content must be fresh and relevant. Regular updates on published clinical studies, presentations at trade shows and press clippings all help to strengthen the credibility of a manufacturer, as does the effective usage of social media to disseminate message. For customers, a media section is a great way for them to access the latest information. Companies such as Greenleaf Medical and Innovative Skincare have created a dedicated partner log-in, enabling users to download relevant information or other visual assets any time, any place.
Similarly, using the power of collaboration and industry leaders is an effective way to market premium ingredients and the detailed research process. For example, P&G recently announced a partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, investing in research and development to advance skin care formulations that can tackle pollution damage. Strategies like these are a “good news" story and play a positive role in strengthening brand reputation.
Share the Work
An effective marketing and communications strategy will be dedicated to sharing the message at its core.
Manufacturers need to be diligent about sharing a new study or an important breakthrough, ensuring press releases are sent to relevant media and industry partners. At the same time, it will need to be uploaded to the website, and shared on the appropriate social media channels. Target those who you really want to reach and have a strategy in place.
Keeping your customers updated and aware of the announcement ahead of time enables them to efficiently communicate with their consumers. As a consequence, this can increase the possibility of a spike in purchases, ultimately raising your bottom line as a premium branded ingredient supplier.
Managing Market Expectations
It’s important to manage market expectations and highlight that a quality branded ingredient most likely won't be an overnight sensation. If it is, it’s important that a “staying power" strategy is in place, ensuring the branded ingredient can remain in-demand and in-supply for a sustained duration of time.
It’s All about Message
The marketing strategy of a premium product is an important factor in its lifespan. By dedicating resources to the promotion of a branded ingredient at the outset, products will have a better chance of success. When supported by research findings and the science behind the claims, branded ingredients have a chance to transform the industry.
Lindsey Carnett is CEO and president of Marketing Maven, an integrated marketing and PR firm ranked nationally in the health, beauty, food and beverage categories by third-party ranking company O’Dwyer’s PR. She is a FOLIO Magazine 2015 Top Women in Media Honoree and is noted for helping companies with clinically tested and substantiated ingredients launch in the U.S. market.