A tale of two products: part one

January 16, 2015By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

by Dave Wendland

During the 2014 National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) Annual Convention I had a wonderful opportunity to meet with two start-up health, beauty, and wellness product manufacturers. Both had identified independent pharmacy as the ideal segment for their launch, and both had prototypes available to share with attendees. However, the similarities stop there.

In the next two posts, I’ll point out differences between solid preparedness versus “see if it sticks” approaches and offer a letter grade to each product’s efforts. This post looks at market research and packaging. My next post will examine assortment planning and marketing.

Dave Wendland
Dave Wendland

Although I’m only discussing two examples, I’ve seen thousands of examples of good, bad, and ugly in my 23 years with HRG. I’d be happy to share more with you…or perhaps add your success story to my repertoire. Either way, I wish you success on your product development journey and I’m hopeful you are choosing the correct path forward.

Market Research

Manufacturer One armed themselves with terrific anecdotal feedback from consumers eager to share what the product may have done for themselves or someone they knew. And, they discovered that their miracle product was actually being used in ways they had never dreamt possible. A good thing, right? Well, kind of. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) have specific guidelines that must be followed. Off-label, anecdotal usages don’t fly. Nor do buyers want to simply rely on one-off stories, they prefer clinical information and proven product efficacy.


Manufacturer Two not only conducted significant clinical trials with their product, but they also performed their own usage studies with local physicians who became familiar with their item. To go one step further, this product had already aligned itself with a respected and certified production facility that could accommodate initial orders.


Packaging & Messaging

Manufacturer One had done no consumer messaging testing – outside of family and friends. And, sadly, they had not yet reviewed competitive products to identify how their new entry would bring any point of difference. Their major claim seemed to be, “It works.” This message alone will not attract consumers in droves.


Manufacturer Two had not only concept-tested messages in an online focus group format, they also had ensured consistency across all of their platforms: packaging, website, Facebook, and selling material. Well done!


There you have it. The first glimpse into the tales of two very different products. One has a much better chance of succeeding – however, there are no guarantees and launching a new product is a very difficult task. Nearly 9 in 10 products will simply not survive.

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