B-to-B-to-C (Business-to-Business-to-Consumer) marketing is a complicated equation. Solving consumer wants and needs, anticipating the competition’s answers, and appealing to buyers managing thousands of SKUs are just part of the formula.
The metrics of value-add
Beyond offering quality product, compelling packaging and POP, helpful product information, competitive pricing, and timely delivery, you should provide more. This may be innovative merchandising and/or promotions, market trends information, etc., and service, service, service!
It’s that new math
Retail products are not being ‘sold,’ instead they are being ‘bought’ by consumers. Branding is a more efficient way of selling products. If brands are well-developed, selling can begin before the consumer even enters the store.
Regional ≥ national
Due to competition from national chains, regional retailers are putting more demands on suppliers. Smaller chains are asking suppliers to bid on shelf space. Product consignment is putting the burden of unsold product on the suppliers. To dissuade comparison shopping, unique quantities or combinations are packaged for the regional stores.
Share your formula
Buyers often appreciate receiving merchandising plans that are tailored to their respective geographic markets. Consider population, median age, culture, etc. Each region will likely require a unique variation of inventory. This equates to better turns and bottom lines.
Show your work
Present a product/package/POP prototype to the retail buyer. They can give you immediate feedback, “go back to the drawing board, make some tweaks, or I’ll take x-number of units.”
Good location on the shelf has gotten very expensive. This can become a major portion of a supplier’s marketing expense. Retailers can command considerable fees for prime shelf space. Be sure to include this in your budget.
Brand equity earns extra credit
If you own an established brand, other suppliers may want to license it. This allows you to extend your line without risk. Brand equity takes time to build, but the better it’s developed the sooner this type of opportunity will come. In addition, the stronger your brand is, the greater respect it will receive from buyers—making it less likely to be commoditized.
Let’s see, do I multiply or divide?
Say you market an established brand of mousetrap and you want to also market cheese. Do you extend the current line or create a new brand? In this case, instead of causing confusion (is this a brand of traps or snacks?) or missing market opportunities (pets like cheese too), create a new category and own the category by being first.
Borns provides tutoring
Provide category insight that positions your company as the leading supplier and keeps your brand in the front of the buyer’s mind. Borns offers brand development and tactics for smart marketing. If you want someone to help you study, contact Randy Borns at firstname.lastname@example.org
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B-to-B-to-C = tough equation
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