Don’t be better, be different.

Better doesn’t cut it against the big health and beauty brands – the key is …

In our role as Australian pharmacy distributors, we get a lot of enquiries from brands that have a new health and beauty product or range they want to sell in the Australian market. When we ask these brands to tell us about the uniqueness of their product, they usually say it is ’better’.

Playing devil’s advocate, we follow with, ‘better than what and according to whom?’. Their answer is usually the name of a product or brand that is the current market leader.

Brands often perceive the market leader as inferior and their product may very well be better than the market leaders. However, in most cases, consumers don’t need or care about better.

This has been proven time and time again by the fact that consumers have accepted the market leader’s product regardless of all the better products that continually enter the space.

‘It’s not enough for a new product simply to be better. Unless the gains far outweigh the losses, consumers will not adopt it.’

John T Gourville, Eager Sellers and Stony Buyers: Understanding the Psychology of New-Product Adoption.

The world is filled with products that failed even though they were better. Remember Sony Betamax?

What the market wants, or needs is Different.

It may seem easier to focus on how your product “improves” upon the offer of existing health and beauty brands in the market. Many times, we hear the phrase “it’s like product ABC…” or “I know there are other XYZ products out there but our product is amazing…”

From our experience, it is very hard to sell “amazing” new versions of an existing product, no matter how improved it might be.

You are likely to be playing in a very crowded market of existing, established players with big marketing budgets. Consequently, only a huge amount of advertising and marketing over a long period of time can crack the market, if at all.

Don’t be better, be different

1. What do your customers really want?

Walk-in your customers’ shoes, and carefully analyse what your customers really want. They are interested in a product that solves their problem or addresses a need or want that is not currently being addressed by the products currently available.

Beauty brands, for example, don’t sell make-up – they sell lifestyle ideals; glamour, confidence, and style. Health companies don’t just sell health products, they sell youthfulness, wellness, and lifestyle. People who want these attributes will buy these products. They will buy these products based on their desires, not on their needs. What desire is your product or brand trying to sell?

2. Compare your product to the market leaders.

In the health and beauty industry, most products and brands are similar; very few are one-of-a-kind. Before you can begin to sell your product, it is important to compare your product to the market leaders. How do you distinguish your brand from your competitors?

Be honest. If this is hard for you, it will be harder for customers to see the difference and find a compelling reason to buy your brand over a tried and proven market leader.

“Amazing” as a concept is almost impossible to sell but is a word we hear frequently when we ask brands to describe the features and benefits of their products or USP.

Heard of the marketing term USP – unique selling proposition? As health and beauty pharmacy brokers, we find a strong USP (‘amazing’ is not a USP) is what makes your brand and product stand out on the pharmacy shelf.

Your USP could be a new ingredient (that no other brand uses), or a mess-free application, whatever makes your product unique in the world of homogeneous competitors, could be a winner.

Find your USP and now you can target your sales efforts successfully

3. Develop a brand story

It’s not good enough to just connect with customers, your product must connect with the right customers with the right expectations.

Consumers are overwhelmed with messages. A brands unique message needs to break through this clutter and be communicated very quickly and succinctly. It needs to capture a consumer’s attention, so they want to learn more about the brand. Remember, health and beauty customers are some of the most educated customers. 

How do you do this?

With a well-developed brand story that follows the entire customer experience into a satisfying emotional journey. This is where trust is formed. And trust is what 80 per cent of a customer is choosing between two products of the same quality and price will choose – the product by the more trusted brand. Be willing to develop your unique product story and to let it evolve over time to gain a following and engagement with your market. Go slowly to go fast. In our experience, there are no “overnight successes”.

What might seem initially as the harder road to success might, in the long run, be the easier and more fruitful road and it won’t require a massive advertising budget.

Don’t create or try to sell your product as better than anything else. Solve a new problem, address a need that hasn’t been met. Create something different. The world doesn’t need better products in a crowded marketplace. It needs different products in new markets.

As wholesale distributors of health and beauty products, we know these products are the kind of products that get our attention. If you have different, contact us now.

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