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Marketing Vitamin K2 in a Crowded Marketplace

One of the biggest vitamin, mineral and supplement (VMS) challenges is to offer a differentiated product that is relevant, educate consumers of brand promises and expected results, and create awareness for the product in a crowded marketplace.

The vitamin, mineral and supplement (VMS) market is strong. Recent research from Mintel showed current VMS market growth is driven by supplements, including melatonin and probiotics, which promise short- and/or long-term benefits such as sleep (melatonin) or digestive health (probiotics). The takeaway? Consumers want and expect notable results from taking VMS products, connecting promises to results. Effective marketers will be able to make such connections while educating consumers in order to set expectations between promises and results.

As new VMS users, including younger adults, continue to enter the category, it is important that brands develop a go-to-market strategy that engages those who have traditionally supported sales, such as older consumers, while also appealing to younger adults, who may be skeptical of efficacy. Younger consumers prefer products that demonstrate lifestyle benefits. They also demand more transparency with information, including substantiation for marketing claims.

The challenge moving forward in the VMS market will be to offer a differentiated product that is relevant, educate consumers of brand promises and expected results, and create awareness for the product in a crowded marketplace.

Let’s evaluate vitamin K2 against the VMS challenge points listed above:

1) Offer a differentiated product that is relevant: The body needs vitamin K2 for bone and heart health.

2) Educate consumers of brand promises and expected results: Vitamin K2 is not well known by the Western population, so there is much work to be done to educate the consumer of this vitamin’s benefits. Examples include bone and heart health, which are often key health concerns among consumers.

3) Creating awareness for the product in a crowded marketplace: This is the most important part. Unless Dr. Oz specifically references vitamin K2 on his show—and even then, the results can diminish in the long-term—a company will either be leading consumer education, or it will allow someone else to do it. It will need to effectively market K2 in a crowded marketplace alongside other products, including other K2 products.

The VMS marketplace is growing more crowded, and regulators and consumers are increasing their expectations for the industry. Now is the time to ensure a brand can tell a differentiating story.

A differentiating story is the essence of the world’s most successful brands, and in the VMS industry, these must be stories of transparency, including the ingredients, technologies, sourcing, processing methodologies and the people who make it all possible. A story like this should be at the heart of every brand.

The goal is to turn potential pain points into a promise of opportunity. A company doesn’t have to settle for mere survival in the ever-changing VMS industry; with a compelling brand story, it can thrive.

Looking for more insight around vitamin K2 and the current state of the science? Join us for the Understandings and Market Opportunities Around Vitamin K2 workshop on Saturday, Oct. 8, at SupplySide West 2016.

One of MarketPlace's founders, Tracy Landau is the company's marketing lead. With an extensive history in the ingredient and food industry and a gift for getting to the heart of what clients need to strengthen their brands, she has developed comprehensive, award-winning marketing plans for companies of all sorts and sizes for more than 20 years. Many of Landau's achievements can be attributed to her unique approach in applying tested consumer marketing principles to B2B programs, as well as in helping consumer goods companies strengthen their B2B programs for major food and ingredient manufacturers.

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