For international CPG manufacturers, success in the U.S. is not guaranteed – part three

June 17, 2015By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

By Angela Pinkstaff

This is the final post of a three-part blog series covering the critical steps to take when introducing an international product to the U.S. The first post was an introduction and focused on market research. The second post covered selling strategies and branding. This entry discusses marketing strategy and launch timing.

Marketing that matches the model

One common approach in a new-to-the-U.S. marketing approach is the “wait and see” method – meaning, “we’ll wait and see what accounts pick up the item before we develop a marketing plan.” This “wait and see” marketing strategy usually evokes a “wait and see” response from buyers: they want to wait to see that their customers are actively looking for such an item at shelf, rather than adding to a set and then hoping a marketing launch down the line will eventually push shoppers in the door. There’s simply no time to spare when every linear foot needs to produce strategies

The best marketing strategies are created to reach the target shopper where and when she likes to be reached, in her preferred medium. A product line must find its fan base (in the previously mentioned research phase) and hone in on it as part of the launch campaign, or else face a slow, difficult climb to shelf placement. If a long and graduated growth model isn’t part of the plan, then partnering with marketing experts who understand both the shopper and the shoppers’ influencers is critical.

Timing is everything

Once all these pieces are in place, launching into the market needs to be a well-planned and orchestrated series of events. Wait too long to utilize the research and brand development, and the market trends will have changed. Jump too quickly, and consumer perception may not be strong enough to generate demand. The balance lies in executing all aspects using a model that has staying power and goes beyond year one. Create a launch that anticipates what consumers want but can’t get and need but don’t have. Get one step ahead of the U.S. shopper, and then be there when she’s ready to buy.

Angela Pinkstaff

Angela leads the business development team in their efforts to build relationships with manufacturer clients across the health, beauty and wellness categories. In addition, she develops and implements strategic partnerships with clients to create growth and revenue in the retail and wholesale channels.

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