1. Change the packaging

Sometimes the simplest of changes makes the biggest impact. In 2002, American paint company, Dutch Boy introduced a revolutionary, all plastic, twist and pour paint container that featured a twist off lid, side handle and pouring spout. By changing their packaging from the traditional paint can they were able to change consumer’s perceptions about paint. Dutch Boy eliminated the need for screwdrivers or other tools used to open traditional paint cans, reduced drips and spills typically associated with traditional paint cans and gave consumers a more remarkable painting experience. It was perfect for the vast majority of DIY users and aspiring interior designers. And what tradesman would say no to less mess at the end of a job? More importantly, consumers noticed the product on the shelves. Everywhere that consumers saw Dutch Boy, they saw it surrounded by outdated and boring competitors who didn’t understand what they wanted. Did this change work? Definitely – the design allowed an eight percent increase in shelf space by accommodating more products in the same area and it tripled Dutch Boy’s sales in just six months.  

2. Sell more

If only it was that easy. Well sometimes it is. One of my clients operates in the animal health care industry, and recently changed the formula to one of their products. Unfortunately the new formula didn’t quite have the effect on sales that they’d hoped for and no one seemed to know why. The new formula was far more effective than anything else on the market; the product was competitively priced and came in a smaller 750ml bottle. The product in question is a production stimulant that is given to dairy calves that are afflicted with scours (diarrhea in livestock).

Dairy farming is the biggest industry in New Zealand and the average dairy farm has 376 head of cattle on it. So the likelihood of a farmer only needing one bottle of drench seems unlikely. Yet many manufacturers of oral drenches, including my client, have always sold their smaller oral drenches through vet clinics in inconvenient single units and this is a huge problem because farmers never buy just one. The reason for this is that they often have a few calves afflicted by scours and this means they have to buy quite a few bottles at the same time. Now imagine you had to carry two dozen 750ml bottles from a vet clinic to your ute and then from your ute into your home, and after all of that you’d have to pack them away in the fridge. I’m certain that this is the purest definition of inconvenient. So why not make it more convenient to buy the product?

In fact, why not make buying a scours treatment as easy as buying beer? Not many people buy beers in singles from their supermarket or bottle store. They usually buy a six-pack or a bigger box of 15, and the concept of convenience doesn’t factor into the decision on which brand to buy because convenience has always been there when it comes to buying beers. But in the animal health care industry, particularly with scours treatments, convenience is never high on the agenda.

So based on this insight we went ahead and designed a container that could hold four 750mL bottles of scours treatment. With a well crafted design that re-established familiar and relevant touch points similar to a six-pack of beer, such as an ergonomic carry handle and a strong focus on New Zealand patriotism, we created a cost effective and convenient package that positioned our client’s starter drench at the top of every farmer’s list. The truth was that no matter how ingenious the formula in the product, it was the added convenience of being able to effectively carry the bottles that made this product fly off the shelves. The results? A 200% sales increase in two months.

 

3. Build better relationships

The definition that marketing is about promoting and selling products and services applies to a very antiquated business model. Marketing is now all about building and maintaining relationships. And who is best suited to build relationships? People are.

People are your most powerful marketing tool. People decide the fate of every marketing message and, most importantly, people don’t do business with businesses, we do business with people. Relationships are simple - just look after the customer and really (no really!) try to give them what they want. The companies that understand this will reap the rewards.