Trade Marketing Insights

How To Develop An Irresistible Product Offering

Posted by Callum Hornigold on 13-Jun-2018 12:56:28
Callum Hornigold
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What Is Your Product Offering?

A product offering is everything you offer your customer that is connected to your product. This includes the product itself, but can also include elements such as its USP, benefits, price, and any associated services or support. A product offering takes a holistic approach to help you understand and communicate to retailers exactly what you’re going to provide the consumer.

How To Develop A Product Offering

Developing a product offering takes a lot of thought.
Have you found yourself in this position: 

You may have some information from R&D.
You may know some of the features and benefits.
You may even have a good idea about your target market.
But now it's time to succinctly collate all of this into a show-stopping presentation...
…because as a trade marketing manager you absolutely must secure sell-in to retailers.
We’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest manufacturers from LG to Pyrex and helped them get their latest products into retailers.
So I’ll share some simple steps to enable you to do the same.
Let’s get to it.

Step 1: Analyse Your Research


what is a product offering

To develop a successful product offering that both retailers and consumers are going to get excited about, you need to understand your marketplace.
First, look at your market research.
Look at the qualitative data your R&D (research & development) team may have conducted, from focus groups and individual interviews.
What can you deduce? What hypothesis can you make?
Equally, analyse the quantitative data-based research such as surveys and questionnaires, then crunch the numbers.
This will help you understand the underlying reasons and motivations behind consumer behaviour.
It will also provide a clearer focus later, when developing your buyer persona(s).
Develop Your Product Offering, Step 1: Look at your market research, qualitative and quantitative data from R&D and conduct a SWOT analysis on your own product and your competitors'.
You’re going to need to understand your competitors.
Depending on the information provided by your R&D team, you can analyse their competitor information or conduct your own research.
Conduct a competitor analysis, and also a SWOT analysis of your own company.

The idea is to find a gap in the market that you can capitalise on within your marketing messaging.
Are there any glaring consumer pain points you can address?
What is your product’s unique selling proposition? 
What’s the one reason your product is positively different to your competitors'?
Think about it.
Note: this can be hard work. It can be tempting to race ahead and skip this step, but don’t succumb to this temptation, if you don’t get the foundations right now, you won't reap the benefits later.
Once you’ve nailed step one, it’s time to move on and develop your buyer persona in detail…

Step 2: Understand Your Audience


buyer-personas Different buyer persona examples we created for a range of Jawbone bluetooth headsets.

The next step is to consider your target audience, use this information to create distinct buyer personas.
This will enable you to really understand what you’re offering and how it benefits the consumer.
Think about the following factors:

Gender: Male or female
Age group: 12-24, 25-32 etc.
Income level: Below £20k per annum, £21-£30k per annum, etc.
Usage (if applicable): Business, leisure
Purchase influencers: Online shopping, social media, friend recommendations etc.
Attitude: What’s their attitude towards your product? How do they like to use it? For example, “I like to use my phone for taking high-quality videos at gigs, so having a good camera with low-light recording is essential.”
Hobbies: What do they do for fun? Where do they socialise? For example, a person who’s into extreme sports may want a phone with good image stabilisation so they can capture the action.
Pain points: What are their problems? What issues do they need to solve?
Buying motivations: How does your product solve their issues? What’s the benefit for your ideal buyer?
Buying concerns: What could potentially stop them from buying the product? For example, price or durability.
For some manufacturers, their product may appeal to a broad range of audiences.
This is often the case with phone manufacturers who have a large range of products or FMCG who target a very general consumer.
Here you can have multiple target audiences.
Here’s an example from a large multinational phone manufacturer we’ve worked with…
product offering
Next, drill further into your target audience. Come up with a statement and some key points that summarise how they will use your product.
Here’s an example from one of our clients, another leading phone manufacturer…
Target audience example
Finally, bring your target audience to life with a pen portrait which digs deeper into their character, highlighting their pain points, buying motivations, lifestyle and goals.
product offering
Develop Your Product Offering, Step 2: Develop your buyer persona(s), considering factors such as gender, age, income level, usage, purchase influences, attitude, hobbies, pain points, buying motivations and concerns. 

Step 3: Bring Your Product To Life

It’s time to inject some life into your product.
You need to really paint a picture of it, not only for the benefit of your consumers, but also for your retailers.
After all, you need to get it ranged.
So, where do you start?
First, look back and consider your USP.
Why would a consumer decide to buy your product over your competition?
You need to communicate this in your marketing messaging.
Now  make a list of your product’s features and benefits (FAB). 
product features and benefits product offering
And that’s not all.
You also need to consider why a retailer would want to stock your product. You want them to feel as though they will be missing out if they don’t sell it.
What’s in it for the retailer? What are your sales projections? What is your marketing spend going to be to support the product? How about your sales promotion support? 
And perhaps most importantly…
…what margin will a retailer make?
The retailer will want to know how much money they can make.
They’ll want to know if you can offer high profit margins. For example, if you have a low manufacturing cost but a premium price.
When considering your pricing there are numerous variables.
Look at your market research again. Consider the following:
  • What is the general market condition and industry health?
  • Does your pricing reflect the quality of your product?
  • Is there a high demand for your product with little competition, or are you in a saturated market?
  • What are your competitors’ prices?
  • Can your USP justify a higher price?
  • Can your buyer personas afford it?
Once you've nailed your buyer persona(s) and pricing, you’ll need to consider branding.

Let the creative process begin…

Let’s talk about branding.
You want to utilise product branding techniques that will get you noticed. 
You may have a prototype design that dictates how you’re going to brand it.
For example, a sleek black design with premium materials hints at high-end branding.
Your product branding will need to relate to your product pricing.

Download our Product Branding Checklist to create an unforgettable brand, step-by-step.

Take note:
Branding isn’t just your logo.
It reaches far beyond that. Branding is about design and messaging. 
When branding, you should communicate the benefits of your product.
Start with why the consumer wants your product.
It has to appeal to them on an emotional level.
Let’s rewind for a second and I’ll explain in more detail.
You’ve already developed your USP.
It’s what sets you apart from your competitors.
Your branding must now communicate that.
A great example of product branding is Absolut.
With a strong product line of different flavoured vodkas, it clearly communicates the taste and exclusivity of each one.
Think about your USP and the benefits it provides.
Say your buyer persona is a business man in his fifties who loves golf and you’ve designed a phone that can prioritise emails.
Feature: Smart email prioritisation technology
Benefit: Saves up to 30 minutes per day
Branding and messaging: 
[Picture of a middle-aged man, smiling as he swings his golf club on the green]
‘Mail shot!
Save 30 minutes a day with automated email prioritisation.
Keep your business on course.’
See how simple it is?
Highlight your USP, paint a picture of the benefits and talk to your buyer persona.
Here's an example of how we brought a USP to life for LG Mobile. The new phone was the first to include a button placed conveniently on the back of the handset, making it effortless to use.
Effortless button position
The more vivid a picture you can paint for your retailer, the more likely it's going to hit the shelves and make it into the hands of the consumer.
Take for example this sell-in presentation we created for LG's Optimus Vu² phablet (a hybrid phone/tablet).
We wanted to communicate how portable and light the tablet was, emphasising that the screen had the same ratio as your favourite magazine format.
Perfect for the jet-setting gentleman, or trend-setting fashionistas. (Note the use of the buyer personas!)
product offering lg sell in presentation
Enabling your prospective retailers to see your product in all its campaign glory significantly increases the chance of getting it ranged.
Or better yet, bring your product to life using a promotional sell-in product video like this one that we produced for Pyrex.
The key to this video was to communicate a whole list of features and benefits in a fun, engaging and succinct form.
Pyrex were so impressed they used it for consumer advertising too.
It's been translated into more than 17 languages worldwide and is their “most successful campaign to date”.
It just goes to show the power of bringing your product to life before it hits the shelves.
We’re nearly there.
You’ve painted a picture of your product that’s ready to be shown to retailers.
But there’s one final thing missing…
What’s it going to look like on the shelves, on POS (Point Of Sale) material and what will a promotion look like?

Download our Merchandising Master Guide to increase your products' sales in retailers, step-by-step

This takes things one step further and really helps retailers conceptualise your product.
Here’s another campaign we did for LG that shows how a 'gift-with-purchase' promotion might look, mocked up to resemble the retailers' branding.
This retailer personalisation seriously increases your chances of sell-in. They don't need to fill in the blanks themselves: they can see how it will look.
develop product offering
Your logo and packaging need to reflect your branding and product positioning.
This takes careful consideration. Think about the shape of the packaging. Think about the colours you'll use  these play a big part in the message you're trying to convey.
For example, blue is seen as trustworthy and dependable. Orange is seen as cheerful and confident.
A final consideration is the customer service you offer.
Consider your USPs that will differentiate yourself from others.
For example, will you offer 24-hour support?
Dominos set the bar with their customer service USP, stating that if its pizzas don’t reach you within 30 minutes, they’re free.
How are you going to go above and beyond the customer’s expectations and set your brand apart from your competitors?
Develop Your Product Offering, Step 3: Write down your USP, features and benefits. Brand your product and create a short video and dummy marketing campaign incorporating these elements. This will enable retailers to remember your product over competitors and increase your chances of sell-in.

Next Steps…

So you’ve got your material.
You’ve set up a campaign.
Now it’s time to start thinking about how you're going to communicate it all in your product presentation for that all important sell-in opportunity.
Check out the next part of this series where I explain how to communicate your product offering to the retailer and increase sell-in success.

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Topics: product marketing, trade marketing, product offering

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