SKU View: Marketing on a shoestring budget

In our month-to-month “SKU View” collection, Meals Entrepreneur is tapping the experience of mentors and startup founders at SKU, a client merchandise accelerator primarily based in Austin, Texas, to ship well timed insights on points that have an effect on early-stage meals and beverage manufacturers.

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Restricted-time choices, model collaborations and compelling packaging design are all efficient methods to construct model consciousness, stated Paul Voge, co-founder of Aura Bora, a San Francisco-based beverage startup.

A couple of months previous to the pandemic, he and his spouse, Madeleine, launched Aura Bora, a line of glowing water flavored with herbs, fruits and flowers and that includes whimsical can branding. The pair navigated quite a few challenges within the early days of the enterprise as sampling alternatives had been suspended.

An look on the tv present “Shark Tank” final 12 months helped the model acquire visibility. Immediately, the merchandise can be found in 4,000 shops nationwide.

Mr. Voge, who participated within the SKU accelerator program two years in the past, shared advertising and marketing recommendation for bootstrapped manufacturers.

Meals Entrepreneur: Earlier than you had a advertising and marketing funds, what kind of issues did you do to let the world find out about Aura Bora?

Paul Voge: The perfect advertising and marketing is a powerful salesperson. The following greatest advertising and marketing is your packaging. Design a compelling providing, and also you’ve carried out half the work. The remainder is execution.

How can bootstrapped manufacturers get the eye of their goal shoppers?

Mr. Voge: One of the best ways to construct a CPG model is in retailer. Promote into one small chain in your goal market, and simply fear about these few cabinets for a very long time. In the event you don’t know the names of five-plus workers in every retailer, you’re not doing this proper. In the event you persistently pattern, coupon, and merchandise your product, the shop gives you secondary shows. Then tertiary shows. Then a free finish cap. There’s no higher solution to seize the eye of your goal client than by adorning a retailer along with your product.

In the event you should construct on-line, plan a strong content material technique. Natural social media is just not useless; it’s simply crowded. Say one thing distinctive, movie one thing peculiar, or put up one thing refreshing to seize the eye of your client. And keep in mind that you’re not promoting to them. Counterintuitively, the worst solution to construct a powerful group on-line is to promote. In the event you can construct a group of like-minded folks and provides them constant worth, quickly sufficient you’ll promote to them.

Are there stuff you did that didn’t provide you with bang for the buck?

Mr. Voge: Most positively. Within the early days pre-COVID, we wished a university ambassador program to drive gross sales. I don’t know why I assumed faculty college students had been the goal marketplace for premium non-alcoholic drinks, however I promise I’ve discovered.

What are among the challenges of digital advertising and marketing immediately?

Mr. Voge: Buyer acquisition prices, transport charges, and company charges are all prohibitively costly for younger manufacturers. Prime-of-funnel advertising and marketing on paid social is a very robust solution to acquire consciousness and drive trial.

What are artistic, cost-effective methods manufacturers can drive trial of their merchandise?

Mr. Voge: Pattern proper outdoors the shops you promote in. You possibly can keep away from any demo payment the shop might need, and you may direct pedestrians in to purchase the full-size product instantly. Any advertising and marketing that results in an instantaneous velocity-driving sale is a large win.

Alternatively, you may draft off bigger manufacturers. In the event you promote a salsa and also you’re new, see if the shop will will let you merchandise subsequent to a preferred tortilla chip. Or higher but, see if that tortilla chip model will collaborate.

Greater than ever, small manufacturers are doing an incredible job collaborating with each other. Two of my favorites from the summer season had been Fishwife x Graza and Lesser Evil x Rind. Each manufacturers win, they share like-minded shoppers, and generate a ton of buzz on the retail (or digital) shelf.

How has your advertising and marketing technique modified over the previous two years as Aura Bora has grown and gotten into extra shops?

Mr. Voge: Gosh, it feels prefer it adjustments each month.

As our retailer rely has grown, there are extra locations for our shoppers to purchase our product. We wish to proceed to construct our model on-line, however we now want extra purpose for our shoppers to care about our web site. Equally, our “progressive flavors” are actually two-plus years outdated. Our resolution to each issues was limited-time choices (LTOs). LTOs are a good way to maintain your hardcore shoppers engaged, they usually function an incredible middle for R&D.

Final summer season, we launched elderflower grapefruit on-line solely. This summer season, the flavour is in each Sprouts within the nation. We wish to proceed to drive omnichannel gross sales with our shoppers from on-line to retail and vice versa. Plus, as we develop into extra channels (standard, foodservice, and so forth.), it helps to have completely different pack sizes, taste choices and promotions.  Source

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