Why it’s important to get marketing help early on.

I get a lot of calls from potential clients who have gone pretty far down the path to failure. It's unfortunate. They have a great product with a weak brand and/or packaging. They've invested a significant amount in logo development, packaging creative and packaging inventory only to find out no one will buy it. You probably wouldn't rewire your house if you don't know anything about electrical work - you would hire an electrician, right? Unfortunately everyone is an armchair, kitchen table marketing person. Most people think marketing is common sense - and sometimes it is... However, believe it or not, marketing people do have training and experience with bringing new products to market that u may not. They may know more than you and can save you a ton of money and time!

Need help? Email: info@bulldogms.com.

My product is great! Why aren’t retailers banging down my door to carry it!?

I get this question a lot. There are many reasons why retailers aren't banging down your door to carry your product. Here are a few...

1. They have no idea who you are and what your product is. Low or no brand awareness is the number one killer of any brand or product. How can a retailer buyer know who you are much less carry your product if they don't know who you are or what your product is? The solution is to do some effective, targeted trade advertising and attend relevant trade shows. You don't need to break the bank to increase your awareness levels. Postcards are another inexpensive way to get the word out.

2. Your product is too innovative. I've covered this topic elsewhere but it warrants a repeat here. Innovative products are hated by retail buyers because they are risky. Risk = less buyer bonus. The buyer is not totally to blame here. Truly innovative products may require a shift in consumer behavior. If you don't have the money to get people to change their behavior your product will most likely fail.

3. A great product isn't enough. You created your product, the brand name and packaging... and they suck. However you don't want to hear it. You know better than the buyer, a marketing expert, etc. Too bad, you aren't getting in. Your product is great but it is presented poorly with a crappy brand name and package. Success chances = zero.

4. You don't have the right relationships. I covered this topic in more detail in my last post. Retail is all about the right relationships. If you don't have them, you need to get them. You can cold call a retail account all day and send endless samples but the phone never rings. You need the guy that was in the buyer's wedding party to get you the appointment.

5. You don't have a plan to support the product. The retailer isn't going to help you sell the product. They want u to do it? What is your plan to get consumers into the retailer to buy the product? Sales don't typically happen by osmosis.

Why They Have Distribution & You Don’t.

1. They have more SKUs (items) than you do. A lot of product businesses start out as a 1 SKU line. This is a formula for failure. You should never try to get retail distribution with a 1 SKU line. Create an infomercial and go direct instead - you'll have a better chance of success. It's not that hard to come up with more SKUs - different flavors, colors, sizes, scents. You get the picture.

2. They have the right reps. Retail sell-in is all about relationships. You can cold call retail accounts and send fancy sample packs all day and get nowhere. The guy who has product on the shelves has a rep that was in the buyer's wedding party and goes to his/her house for barb-e-ques. You don't have a chance against this relationship. Get the right rep and get a real appointment in front of a real retail buyer.

3. They can give the buyer the margin they require.
This comes down to price. Their price is better than yours. Most pet retailers require margins between 50-80%. Consumer electronics depending on the category is between 25-40%. Grocery is 5-8%. If you can't meat the retailers requirements - you don't have a chance. It's all about making money on the product.

Good luck & good selling. Need help? Contact us at info@bulldogms.com.

3 Key Questions to Ask a New Pet Sales Rep

1. What lines do you represent? Find out if they are competitive with your line. There has been a lot of consolidation in the pet rep business. There are only 2 full service rep firms that handle Petco, Petsmart and PSP. Yes, there are probably 100 other reps that call on them, but they don't have the resources to do the retail detailing you will need to be successful. Back to my point. It is rare that there is category exclusivity with reps anymore unless maybe you are a major food line.

2. How do you charge? This is important. Most reps will charge between 3 - 8% commission of your wholesale cost. The reputable reps will ONLY charge on what they sell. If a rep asks for a retainer - RUN, don't walk away. If a rep believes in your line they will do the upfront work to get the appointment and present your product on good faith.

3. What are your retail merchandising capabilities? This is also important. Petco & Petsmart have abysmal execution rates. Basically this means that your product has a 50% or less chance of being displayed properly on the store shelf if you rely on store staff. A good rep will have a "detailing" team that can go out and get your product from the back room and get it to the shelf. Sometimes this service will be included for the commission rate, sometimes it will be charged separately. It usually depends on the $$ size of your line.

Good luck and good selling!

If you need more info contact us at info@bulldogms.com.