November 11, 2009
LAS VEGASCompanies looking to build sales must reach out to both retailers and consumers to build the supply chain, while answering the question, Why should I buy this product? The answer varies between retailer and consumer, but a critical part of the equation is education. Gerard McIntee, vice president of marketing integration at NBTY Inc., spoke at SupplySide West on Nov. 11, urging marketers of natural products to develop ways to track return on investment (ROI) in educational outreach throughout the supply chain, and offered ideas on how to target an audience with relevant information that can build business in the long-term.
On the retail side, educational offerings might include product information sheets, a Web site, seminars and staff training opportunities. Another option is newsletters, which McIntee described as a powerful tool for positioning and loyalty building; the NBTY Healthy Profits newsletter for its customers brings in-depth information that a retailer can use to optimize sales. To illustrate the point, McIntee walked through the various parts of the newsletter concept, including concepts, positioning, relationships, entertainment and closing. For example, the entertainment portion might include puzzles, highlights about nutrition in mainstream media articles, or blurbs about celebrities who use natural products.
McIntee also expounded on the type of ROI NBTY has seen with education.
From a consumer perspective, the education equation involves interconnected areas including labeling, Web sites, third-party literature, books and magazines. McIntee shared insights from the launch of Energy Times magazine, and how the distribution through health food stores helped build customer loyalty to the store and the products covered in the pages of the magazine. A case study using a book about phosphatidylserine (PS), and how promotion and education increased product sales further illustrated McIntees point that education and satisfied customers build long-term sales growth.
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