Marketing Viewpoint by Ruth Winett
The Problem with Vegan Handbags: Four Marketing Best Practices That Spur Growth
Some consumers purchase alternative meat and dairy products to replace products that are responsible for 15% of global greenhouse gases. Besides sustainability, taste, nutrition (health), and price also affect these consumers’ choices. While sales of alternative dairy products grew 12% in 2022, sales of alternative meats declined by 0.4%. Four marketing best practices could boost sales of alternative proteins, reported the Boston Consulting Group.
The four common-sense marketing practices outlined by BCG apply to Business-to-Business and Business-to- Consumers companies in most industries:
Carefully segment your market to identify typical customers, and get to know them well. Then, look for the typical customers’ “demand drivers.” Identify when and where typical customers are using your offerings, what they were doing at the time, and with whom they were doing it.
To grow, innovate and improve your offerings. Producers of alternative meats should improve taste, texture, and prices to better meet consumers’ needs, reported BCG. Improve upon your products and services. Exceed customer’s expectations while also outperforming competitors.
Craft messages that appeal to typical customers, not just a narrow segment. Only 5% of the population are vegans or vegetarians. Thus, producers of alternative foods should avoid “vegan” and focus instead on the source of the proteins, their “sensory appeal,” and their “health benefits.” Use language in your messaging and packaging that will resonate with your core customers. Stress benefits over features.
Test and modify.Test in a real-world setting how customers behave when faced with your messaging and packaging. This also includes digital messaging. Through testing, a consulting firm will find that posting success stories is more effective than describing the firm's methodologies.
In 2022 alternative dairy sales outpaced alternative meat sales. However, alternative meat companies that followed the above “best practices” did six times better than their competitors. To market your products and services, first identify your typical customers, and then identify your customers’ demand drivers and their problems-to-be-solved. Then, stress benefits, not functions and not how the product works. Finally, use accurate, but relevant, language to describe benefits, rather than features. This also means not appropriating trendy or misleading terms, such as “vegan handbags” to describe handbags made of plastic.
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