Of all the business ventures out there, a new drink is, in many ways, the most lucrative and the very least lucrative. After all, drinks are a commodity that we buy into, something as basic as water is sold off by the truckload for a hefty profit. And when you are in the business of soft drinks or food, trying to corner a certain market, or capturing the imagination of the general public can be a minor choking hazard. After all, so many startups fail after their first year, and when you are in the business of food or drink, what’s the best way to ensure that, not only the startup is successful, but the drink itself is palatable, literally and figuratively, with your buying public?
Know Your Audience
One of the fundamental tenets; you need to know your audience, and whether this is in relation to keeping customers on side that you’ve already snagged from other businesses, or you are trying to capture the imagination of a new group of people, you need to know your audience. It’s something that’s been said countless times before, but if you’ve got no clue where to begin, understanding the audience’s impulses, and how they consume information, especially when it comes to building your brand, you have to appeal to a certain target market. And when building up your brand, you need to work directly towards the retailers that may want your product. If the retailers want to buy your product, they will. It may sound completely obvious, but you need to know, not just your audience, but you need to know that your product is quality enough to be purchased by the relevant parties.
Outsourcing May Be Necessary
So many view outsourcing as a dirty word, but at the very outset, when you are trying to piece everything together, you are working at making a drink that is marketable but is also delivering what it promises, you may need so many different resources to pool together. Something as simple as bottle molding is an aspect isn’t considered at the very inception of the idea, but as time wears on, you have to begin thinking about the practicalities of the product. The bottle itself, whether it’s thin plastic, thick plastic, or glass, throws up so many different environmental questions. And if you are a small startup, with a skeleton staff, do you have the time to answer all these questions yourself? This is one of the clearest ways to utilize other resources. Not only this, but outsourcing is one of the best ways to get good quality workers for cheap, whether this is your administrative procedures, or it’s actually transporting the products to the retailers.
Pepsi, Coca-Cola, San Pellegrino, and so on. These brands are all forward thinking and international in scope. When we are working at making a name for ourselves, the temptation is to go small. Conversely, when you think of the costs associated with the drinks business, the amount of tax levied on certain products, especially alcohol, the sensible option is to go big. International business dealings can increase your customer base, but can also increase your risk. And while it is a leap into the unknown, if you capture the imagination of a specific market, the higher margins you get as a result means you can plow the money back into the company, and develop yourselves further. The temptation is to stay close to home, but there are so many companies out there that exported themselves successfully, and making more of a profit from overseas markets than in their own country. This does mean an investment up front but it could prove to be the making of your company.
As if it doesn’t need saying, the more creative you are in every aspect, the more attention you will gain. When you are starting out, the best way to get the attention of the big retailers is to be as creative in your approach to that, but without being annoying. Trade shows, presentations, or even just sending samples to the key retailers in your country, can be a great way to make a name for yourself. On the topic of trade shows, it’s a great way to highlight your brand, in a personal sense. Many businesses set up stalls at a trade show, and if you are following a specific retailer that you are trying to capture the imagination of, the trade shows they are attending will potentially make or break your business. There are numerous guides online on how to make a positive impact at a trade show, but it’s always important to remember that when you are eyeing up a specific retailer, while they may represent a certain target market, no retailer is psychic, or has the foresight of what the next big product is going to be. And in the business of drinks making, it’s nigh on impossible for you to tailor your drink for a specific market. You hit upon a specific recipe, and all you can do is to refine it until it’s palatable.
Use Other Brands As A Benchmark
One of the downfalls when it comes to any startup business is that they don’t have experience on their side. Depending on your own tenacity as an entrepreneur, you could use this to your advantage, by pushing forward into the unknown, and operating with a considerable sense of bravery. But on the other hand, if you have no experience, and you are pushing forward blindly into the unknown, you could very easily trip up. So, if you are stuck for inspiration, it’s always worth looking to other, more established brands, either for inspiration as far as the marketing is concerned, or you can examine their trajectory. You may consider it to be a foolish idea, but many startups reach out to other, more established ones, purely for some advice. Just because you are operating in the same industry as another startup, doesn’t mean you need to be constantly on guard. Ask, get some inspiration, or look to getting a mentor. Companies that have acquired a specific target market in another country, or sell a different type of drink completely could help you to figure out where you’ve been going wrong.
What’s The Best Marketing Method?
This goes back to the target market. But when you are endeavoring to find the best approach to captivate your audience, a lot of modern drinks companies go for social media. It seems to be a very obvious solution now, but, a social media tool like Facebook is one of the most beneficial ways to have direct contact with the customer. On the other hand, Twitter appears to be better for communicating with bloggers as well as the key influencers. This will help you no end when it comes to launching a new product, but also working at sharing factual information about the product within certain circles. Marketing a drink has long been about the experience had while consuming the drink. You can easily burrow to the back of your mind and remember an age-old soft drink commercial that involved skydiving or skateboarding, or an alcoholic product that showed everybody having a good time in a bar. This is something that’s been done countless times before, and while old habits die hard, it’s certainly a way for you to provide some inspiration when it comes to your marketing tactics. While commercials are vivid and colorful affairs, you may want to go down a less obvious route. Podcasts, for example, are one of the most popular ways we consume information now, and this could be a unique way to communicate with a different audience. Of course, if your drink has numerous health benefits, such as vitamins and minerals, heading onto a health-related podcast is one of the many options you have.
If you are struggling to get into bed with the retailers, don’t be afraid to ask why they aren’t on board with your drink. They may provide a very simple, but enlightening reason. For example, the price, the packaging, or even the shelf life, can be a minor quibble that causes major dissatisfaction with retailers and customers. But, when you are getting feedback, either from retailers or customers, the temptation can be to change every little thing about the product to ensure that they will be happier next time round, but this can be a lot of work for minimal result. Feedback is essential to ensure that your product gains traction, but there is only so much one can take on board without completely altering their brand.
The drinks industry can be incredibly difficult to break into, but as with any industry, a lot of the early years involve knocking on doors, and getting distributors and retailers. When it comes to selling a new drink and making it successful, this is only half of the battle. Creating a drink that is able to go the distance is always going to be a momentous task, especially in this overcrowded market, but it’s, to paraphrase an old soft drinks slogan, the choice of a new generation.
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