PODCAST: A Blueprint for Market Readiness with Eleni Shipp

Amanda Ashley
Post by Amanda Ashley
May 21, 2024
PODCAST: A Blueprint for Market Readiness with Eleni Shipp
There is no silver bullet to guarantee product adoption in the marketplace. However, businesses can implement strategies before launch to improve market readiness and increase the likelihood of securing a place in consumers' weekly dinners.

To explore these strategies more deeply, we’re joined by Eleni Shipp, a Partner at The Partnering Group. With over 40 years of experience in marketing and innovation strategy, Eleni shares insights into the 5C Analysis and 3D framework. These powerful methodologies help businesses truly understand a product's market readiness and, if it's not there yet, transform it into remarkable, profitable offerings.

Join us as we discuss:
  • Why large companies need to keep marketing and sales functions separate post-acquisition to propel innovation.
  • The shift towards launching products on a smaller scale is helping to manage risks and learn from market reactions.
  • Adjusted strategies for CPG products, focusing on digital marketing, influencers, retail media, and social media
  • Current dietary trends and psychological thought processes influencing consumer behaviors

The CPG Launch Leaders podcast is presented by Bold Strategies, Inc. Visit www.boldstrategies.com to learn more.

Find us on Spotify, Apple, and anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts, or click the player below to hear this episode now!


Listen to "A Blueprint for Market Readiness with Eleni Shipp" on Spreaker.



Eleni: As long as it's safe for the consumer and you have built in your superiority, get out into the market. You're going to learn more being in the market than you are in a little think tag back at the office. So you're going to learn who really likes it and who doesn't like it. What happened from a logistics standpoint? What happened from a supply chain standpoint?

Announcer: You're listening to CPG launch leaders, the show where we interview new product trailblazers. Get ready for inspiration and secrets from the front lines of CPG innovation. Now, here are our hosts, Darcy Ramler and Alan Peretz.

Allan: Welcome to CPG launch leaders. I'm Alan Peretz, and I'm here with my co host, Darcy Ramler. With us today is Eleni Shipp. Eleni is one of the smartest strategists I know and has nearly four decades of experience in marketing and innovation. At the partnering group where she works today, she helps clients achieve profitable business growth.

Eleni: Thank you for having me.

Darcy: Yes. I have to say, personally, I'm very excited for this episode. I'm a huge fan of you, Aline, a, uh, huge fan of women, business, and the power that you bring to CPG. So excited to talk about brand evolution and market leadership. Before we dive in, we love to start each episode with one particular question. Currently, what new product has caught your attention in the marketplace?

Eleni: My God, there are so many new products that have caught my attention. But I was thinking about this the other day. We were talking about it, and so many catch my attention, but not all that I buy and buy regularly. And Celsius has been around for a while now, but I'm still with it. I mean, I love the taste, I love the benefit. Um, so I would say the Celsius brand, they've done a great job since, you know, Pepsico. Bottom. Just getting distribution, getting awareness. Now you can find it everywhere and, um, a regular user so that one stands out.

Darcy: Do you feel it replaced something in your day to day routine, or do you feel like it was just in something that it added to that day to day routine?

Eleni: Um, it did both. It replaced diet coke for me, and it also, um, was an addition because I found myself drinking water more often, and that was one of my goals.

Allan: I had my first celsius about a month and a half ago, and that stuff is powerful.

Eleni: Yeah. Yeah, it's great right before a workout, too. Yeah, it's a little energy boost.

Allan: So, Eleni, we've known each other for a really long time. Uh, I'm not going to say how long, but it's a long time. And, uh, most people don't know this, but you're the person who got me into marketing. Uh, first of all, I want to thank you for that. It's been just a fabulous ride since then. Um, and much appreciated.

Eleni: You talk about strategy and talk about talent. I knew you did not belong in it. You were a natural brand marketer, so that was an easy push for me.

Allan: Well, I appreciate that, Lenny. You've worked with so many CPG brands, uh, over your career. How do you approach analysis and decision making when, uh, advising whether a product should go to the market or not go to the market?

Eleni: Okay. Uh, you know, this is a very disciplined thing for me. It's art and it's science, but the science part of it is what I call a five C's analysis. So it's looking at the category, is it growing? What are the factors for it? Most, um, important is the consumer, like, are the underlying consumer factors, needs, unmet needs that the consumer would get excited about this, what's going on with the competition? You know, can you create something that is distinctive and different and better than what the competition has capability, like can you actually do this? You know, can you create the capability to do it? And customers, you know, because so much now, it can't be unless you have your own DTC and you go directly to the consumer. You gotta care about the retailer and what the retailers needs are and can they make money and are you adding value to them? So that is, that is like one level of analysis I do. Um, of course, you look at white space, you look at the economics, you look at pricing. But that, I'd say in a nutshell is what I do.

Darcy: I have to say I have had the pleasure of being in a room with you, a whiteboard, where I have seen you do this and write down on pieces of paper and tear off and tape and then rewrite and go through it. And it is not only a skill that you have honed in on, but you have perfected. And I will say it's pretty awe taking when you watch it all play out and then the dots that start to get connected as you draw through those lines.

Eleni: Yeah, it's uh, a lot of times I talk about it being like a puzzle. You're putting the puzzle pieces together and then the patterns start to emerge. And sometimes when there is dichotomy, that's where you get the best innovation. And sometimes you get there in a very weird way. I mean, I had a, uh, one brain talking about brainstorming. I had a brainstorming session once, and the example was they were trying to figure out, it's not mine, it's something I learned about. They were trying to figure out how to get ice off of telephone poles. And someone said, well, you could have a bear shake the pole. And it wasn't the fact that the bear would shake the pole. They then thought about a helicopter coming in, and that would be a way to shake the line, and that's how they came up with it. So sometimes you get to those, you know, patterns in a weird way. But the discipline and the analysis is the five c's.

Darcy: I say there's always the AHA moments that come out of those that are just truly gold.

Eleni: And sometimes it's obvious. Like, I've had situations where I've gone into one on one interviews or done shop alongs with consumers, and they say something like, oh, my God, why didn't I think of that? Why didn't I think of that? It's so obvious once you hear the consumer say it. But there's true gold there, too. Sometimes it's not unusual. It's something obvious that just no one's done.

Allan: Like your bare example of Lenny. Because a lot of this really is bringing discipline to creativity. Right? Like, you have to be willing to put yourself out there and put those wild ideas out there, but then you've got to have a framework to really rein it back in and make sure that it's going to work.

Darcy: So as you're exploring new products and going through things, are there specific key factors that you look for that signal if a product is truly ready for the marketplace?

Eleni: Yeah, I've got, um. Well, there's three things we look at, and this comes from my partner, Jeff Stern. I love this simple framework. He has, um, he calls it the 3d framework. Is it desirable to the consumer, is it distinctive and is it deliverable? So if you want to just kind of those three things, you could look at that. Um, I think the other thing I look for, especially as an investor or helping my clients invest, um, is it profitable? Right? Like, can you make a profit at this, both your company and the retailer and others? So those are some of the things that I'll look at.

Allan: So, on that note, Eleni, when you talk to CPG brands, what are some of the misconceptions companies have about what makes a successful product launch?

Eleni: Uh, and it depends on if it's an emerging brand or if it's a large, large company. And I have clients that are the range. Right. Um, with the emerging brands, what they feel is success is getting lots and lots of distribution. And I tell them, do not do that. Start with a limited distribution, get your velocity, really get consumer traction there. And once you have that velocity, then move on to the next distribution. The brands that go out too wide then don't have enough money and support to really raise awareness and trial with the consumer. So that's a common misconception. With the emerging brands, with the large brands, a lot of times they don't think about cannibalizing their own business or they deliberately cannibalize their business, which is a good thing if they're already planning for it, and then the other is just not supporting it. After a year, they'll like, support it the first year and then let it die thinking, oh, whatever we did in the first year, that's enough. But you really do need to support the brand ongoing.

Darcy: Yeah, it was interesting. We were just having a conversation, um, the other day, and you talk about emerging brands. Really, truly. The advice was, own your region and region can mean a lot of different things. It can mean necessarily from a location standpoint, it can mean from a truly, who are you targeting as a consumer rather than going so broad, so fast with a mass reach. Right. Really, having emerging brands look at successes, these milestones of owning certain regions of business, helps in that scalability.

Eleni: Totally. It's so important. And a lot of times people will get the other group just by having so much depth with that first group, like you said, and people like me wanting to copy what the millennials are doing, right, but you got to capture the millennials first before you get someone older like me, wanting to be cool and doing what they're doing well.

Darcy: And there's so much opportunity to learn, right. If you're going at that, really at that pace of growth, it gives you the opportunity to optimize not only your product, your proposition, everything, in every stage gate, so that when you do finally hit that milestone to say, hey, we're ready to go mass from not only a branding standpoint, logistically, all of these things, you really have given your brand the opportunity to mature itself and optimize itself to be, to hedge your bets a little bit more in that success.

Eleni: Right? And you've built the foundation, right? You built the foundation for that trial and that repeat.

Allan: Yeah. Um, the founder that, uh, Darcy's talking about is the founder of Brooklyn Delhi. Um, and you know, the amazing thing in her case is she's been very disciplined about growth and she's given absolutely none of her company away. She's still 100% owner and she's nationally distributed. And maybe two, three years down the road she can seek investment, but her inventory investment is all, uh, bootstrapped.

Eleni: That's amazing. So she clearly had a very focused benefit and it's returning for her. Right. She's got her margin. She's able to continue to invest in her business. That's great.

Darcy: A little bit about emerging and what that looks like. And you also expanded on for larger companies, um, being involved in launches that are not only just about market success, but you've also been part of launches that are more defense for defensive reasons. Could you elaborate on a case where this was the strategy was employed and thought the process behind really what that looks like?

Eleni: Yeah, this happened early in my career. I was an assistant brand manager on Cascade and I was seeing what the competition was doing against us in terms of promotion. They were promoting heavily and we could not figure out how they were getting the money to do this right, because they would be losing money on their base brand if they were promoting as heavily as they were. And we figured out that, wait a minute, they have a rinse aid which is very high in margin, and they're using the margin dollars from the rinse aid against their base brand. And I went to the company and I said, I think we need to come up with a rinse aid. And at first it was like, that's a small category, we're not going to deal with that. And what I sold them on is, no, this is to protect the brand. Like, if we come out with a rinse aid, we're going to get part of their market share. They're not going to have as much money to support their base brand competing against us. And so, uh, finally we did it, convinced the company, we did it, we introduced it and it worked. I mean, it protected cascade in terms of margin. So, um, that helped a lot. And that was purely defensive, right? I mean, that was a small category back then, but they're still making great profit on that product now.

Allan: Great. As we talk about smaller brands, uh, funding, scaling, seeking investment, how do boards and private equity firms evaluate opportunities when it's a new product?

Eleni: So we, I worked with a private equity company since 2013 and still work with some CEO's, helping them, advising them on how to buy brands or invest in brands. First, um, off the five C's analysis that I talked about before, you know, we do that level of work as we're looking at brands. What's the category, if it's totally new category, are there consumer trends here that would make us believe that this would be sustainable? We look at if they are profitable, if they are growing, how sticky is the consumer? You know, are they buying the consumer or is there a repeat there? So those are a couple. And we look also at the economics broadly. And one, I'll tell you one thing. A couple of years ago we were evaluating a brand and it had a lot of those elements. And the other thing it had was a very honest CEO. So we look at the management team and that was a point we made. This CEO is being really honest. He's honest about the upsides, he's honest about the downsides. Not only does he have an excellent track record, but you can trust what he's saying. So management team and some of those intangibles are things you look at. I'll, um, give you an example of one that I just did a couple of weeks ago. It was a food product management team's really strong. Um, they just got distribution into two big retailers. So you could see that there's some traction going on over there. Um, but one of the things that's making me nervous is their pricing. Their pricing is really high versus the rest of the category. So my question is, is the consumer going to understand the benefits and be willing to pay that price? And if they're willing to do it once, is the product delicious enough that they're going to continue to buy at that price? So that was the one holdout that we talked about. We said, let's get it into market. Let's see what happens with these two retailers. And if we're seeing that repeat, let's go. Because everything else felt right. But that was that one. I don't know. You know, everything else in the category is at this price range and they're here and they don't necessarily have a super premium positioning. It's just they priced that high because they were trying to make money and they want the retailer to make money, but I'm not sure the consumer will do it.

Darcy: And like you said, it may be enough to get them curious and drive trial, but is it enough to add into their daily, their monthly, depending on what the product is, regimen that they're willing to pay that, you know, as, as everybody these days. And we were seeing this across the board with consumers. You know, they're analyzing what do those daily routines look like? What do those monthly, as inflation happens, cuts get made. So the investment by the consumer is changing. Especially, you know, in our current times.

Eleni: Darcy, it's so funny you said that because that's exactly the point we were talking about. We were like, is this good enough that it becomes a part of the weekly dinner? If it is part of the weekly dinner, it's going to be golden. If it feels so high end and expensive that it's an occasional thing, there won't be enough volume there. But that was the question we asked ourselves. Is this good enough that now someone says, this is part of my weekly dinner or my every two week dinner?

AD: Jesse: Hi, Jesse. What brings you to the airport, Mike?

AD: Jesse: I'm off to the headquarters to share an update on the big launch.

AD: Jesse: Oh, I've heard it's selling really well. Care to share your secret?

AD: Jesse: Well, just between us, it's all thanks to bull. Bold Labs, their exclusive digital test market research allows, um, you to optimize your product marketing and pricing before the big launch.

AD: Jesse: That sounds fantastic. How can I learn more?

AD: Jesse: Just visit www.boldlabs.com. it's all right there.

Darcy: This is the final call for flight 723 to Chicago.

AD: Jesse: Looks like we'd better go. Thanks for the tip, Jesse.

AD: Jesse: See you soon, Mike. And remember, um, bold Labs is ready to help your product soar well.

Darcy: And it's interesting, even in the food category, right. This is one of the things I find fascinating because you also have to pay attention to the trends that are happening now from a dietary standpoint as well. You know, we are in a phase. We've gone through the Atkins phase. We've gone through the keto phases. We've gone through now. We know there's a little bit of a craze with the Ozempic, and what that has done is changed. You know, instead of the five meals a day, there's a little bit more of a snacking principle that's going on. So also paying attention, especially depending on your categories, what are those trends? What's that? What are we seeing? I think you see a lot of it from m how, especially in the digital space, how the consumer searching these days, what are they looking for? What are we seeing? Spikes? Those are early indicators of where those trends are happening in those categories.

Eleni: It's so interesting that you talk about search. I'm m going back to one of the previous questions you asked about, which is, how do you understand a product is successful? Um, again, Vedran and I were talking about this, and he was like, talkability. Talkability is something you have to either design in or you have to see if the product has that. Because if it does, it has a higher likelihood of being successful. So are they searching for something like that? Right. The talkability of it, whether it's social or another area.

Darcy: And is it in discovering unmet needs from the consumer? You can find that in long tail search all day long. What are they thinking? It is literally a microscope into what that consumer's psychological thought is, into their needs. What's checking the box from a product standpoint? And then I have to say, I'm always a big geek on ratings and reviews, but being able to dig into competitors, not only what are they doing well that the consumers are loving, but what are those deficiencies? That you can create a product that can capitalize on that.

Eleni: Yeah. One of the first things I look at when I'm evaluating a brand is ratings and reviews. And you're right, you can look at occasions. You ah, learn a lot about a category by immersing yourself in that ecosystem. Whether it's the competition or, you know.

Darcy: The consumer is, I think what people need to understand is the consumer is speaking to us constantly, especially in the digital space. Whether it's through search, whether it's through ratings and reviews, whether it's through click through rate, what's grabbing their attention from a social standpoint, I mean, it's out there. It's harnessing that information to create the right products. So I know we've taken, uh, a tangent here, which I'm not surprised, Alenni, with us, because we always enjoy some really good conversation when we get into any type of consumer psychology. But going back a little bit more to the private equity side of things, I can only imagine that you've analyzed hundreds of companies over the years. What trends have you noticed, um, that makes a company stand out to investors in these recent years?

Eleni: Yeah, it used to be that if you were growing a lot, but you weren't making money, that that was okay. That is no longer okay. I mean, you have to have the discipline from an operation standpoint to grow your revenue and then also have profit and a path to even more profit. So I would say the focus on profitability has been a big trend recently in terms of brands, uh, that stand out. I met with a brand and not one that I was evaluating for investment. Although afterwards I did say to someone, we should look at this brand.

Darcy: How do I become a part of that situation?

Eleni: Yes, we should take a look at this brand. Um, oats overnight, impressive brand, impressive, um, growing really fast, profitable, uh, uh, path to even more profit. And what impressed me most is how they do everything by the consumer everything. They have a big consumer base and they research their consumer for every decision. Where should we be in the store? Research. And when they do a research, they get tens of thousands of people in their group to answer. Flavors, packaging, where to be with the consumer, where to be with retailers. Uh, they were impressive. They really stood out to me.

Darcy: And when you're looking at that and obviously their current portfolio, do you ever tap into the innovation pipeline? Do you want to see what is their, you know, great. They have, you know, they have overnight oats right now, and it's successful and they're doing it right. But as you said, longevity of a brand will always exist, but you have to continue to move the needle forward. So is looking at pipeline of innovation part of your process? Where do you see that fitting in?

Eleni: Yeah, um, uh, we always look at the pipeline. You want to look at the next year, you want to look at the next three years. And does it make sense strategically and the brand equity that they have as a company, does it extend into any category adjacencies that they could have and do the category adjacent? If they have gone into category adjacencies or they are thinking about it, does it make sense? Like, do I feel like the consumer will let them go there or the retailer will let them go there? So pipeline is really important because you're also looking at what kind of revenue they can get in the future, right? So revenue streams, you know, waterfalls of revenue streams, could be, um, new distribution that you get. It could be new innovation. I mean, looking at, you know, one of the other companies that I work with is rare beauty brands. They do a really good job of thinking about innovation and how to get incremental volume from innovation. That, that makes sense.

Darcy: Yeah, because it's not always about just the hero product, right? It's about what can, what are the add ons a that can help parallel path you into new categories? Or what are the add ons that complement some of your hero products? Incrementality is a, is a real conversation.

Allan: So, Aleni, I'm thinking way back to the days when, uh, you and me were working in cubicles at a big multinational. And, uh, what I found out in that time was that there were really no new ideas. Anytime you would come up with something, the R and D manager would say, oh, yeah, we tried that five years ago. It didn't work. Don't try it. It seemed like there was just this big pool of ideas sitting there that came up over and over again. In your experience today, when you work with a company that decides not to launch. What do you see happening to those ideas?

Eleni: It's so interesting. Sometimes the idea just dies. It's like, oh, uh, we learned that this is not a good idea. Um, other times, people get at it over and over and over again and then becomes a blockbuster. I'll give you an example. As a little brand assistant at Procter and Gamble, I remember looking at the cubicle next to me, and they were working on tide pods. This is in the late 1980s, okay. Tide pods did not come out until 2012. So you see right there, they kept trying it. It would not, it would fail. They'd try it. The consumer wasn't ready for it. They would try it. Technically, they had to improve it. But now it's a big part of the tide business. So sometimes you just have to understand why it didn't work and then go back at it again.

Allan: Do you think people are too hasty to, um, discard ideas?

Eleni: Yes and no. I think sometimes you have to discard and pivot so that you can get into the market quicker with what you've learned. Because, let's say an idea, it depends on why it failed, right. If it failed for something, for the consumer, if you can address that consumer need and get back out there, that's the best thing to do.

Allan: The one thing, um, we spend a lot of time with brands on is launching at small scale, which, uh, is something that didn't used to be possible for us back in the old days, if you will. Um, it seems like a great way to de risk, uh, a lot of these decisions.

Eleni: Yes. I love when it's important to come out to market fast. Right. So you have first mover advantage. And a lot of times, uh, especially at the larger companies, too much overthink. Right. Like, come up with the concept, as long as it's safe. Again, veteran and I were talking about this last week. As long as it's safe for the consumer and you have built in your superiority, get out into the market because you're going to learn more being in the market than you are in a little think tank back at the office. So you're going to learn who really likes it, who doesn't like it. Uh, what happened from a logistics standpoint, what happened from a supply chain standpoint. So getting into a small area where it doesn't cost you as much, or testing it online, which I know you guys do, some of that is a smart thing to do early on.

Darcy: Well, it's amazing because you can see sometimes the acquisition happens of some of these disruptive brands and then going into the larger CPG and you, one of the pain points always becomes, they're moving so fast when they're, uh, you know, a brand that's being disruptive in a space, but the red tape starts to slow them down very quickly as soon as they're acquired. So it is, I think they're learning. It's learning that fine balance, as you're saying, between how do we move fast, how do we make educated decisions within that, and then how are we continually learning so that when we do decide to scale, we're scaling at the right time and with the right, you know, value prop out there.

Eleni: I actually did, uh, an analysis for corporation, uh, large corporation about how to incorporate emerging brands into their business. And the thing I learned is that you have to keep the back, you have to integrate the back office, but marketing and sales needs to be separate, and you need to keep them focused on the brand and focused on the insights so that they can continue to move fast. Because if you incorporate it all into the broader, larger company, you will slow down.

Allan: Yeah, I was going to reaffirm what you said. There have been so many big company examples recently where they've had to divest brands that they bought at a very high price for pennies on the dollar. And, uh, a lot of that is they did try to scale some, uh, of their marketing and sales and other capabilities too fast and lost the uniqueness.

Darcy: I will say, um, there are several companies that we work with that I will commend. What I've seen recently is they are keeping these brands that are the disruptive brands that they're acquiring separate, almost in a unit together, which is making them very powerful because they are collaborating. They're pioneering, um, like you said, sales and marketing is staying not directly incorporated back offices, but it really is fueling this new, I would say a new era of innovation that could really be tapping into something, and then the broader.

Eleni: Corporation can learn from what they're doing so that they can go faster and change their processes.

Darcy: That's gonna be the key. If they can get the broader organization to listen to the smaller, disruptive brands and really utilize the lessons that are being learned over there, that will be, that will be the billion dollar moment.

Allan: I say, yeah, frankly, ego is a little bit of a barrier to that, though. Sometimes the big companies think they know how to do everything better, and when they bring in the smaller brands, they try to educate them, and it doesn't always work.

Darcy: So, Eleni, I know, and I'm sure you've seen massive changes in consumer behavior over the years. In your career, how do you see brands adjusting their launch strategies in this era of more one on one marketing?

Eleni: Oh, I, uh, mean, back when I was early in marketing, it was about tv and print and billboards and, um, now the consumer is more online, it's more digital, um, and the influence of influencers. So I see brands now adjusting to that, adjusting to that behavior. They're putting more and more of their dollars into digital marketing. They're putting more of their dollars into retail media because the retailer is commanding a lot of their attention in terms of apps for shopping, like the Walmart app or, um, digital couponing. So I see that as big differences and just focusing on social media, focusing on influencers, especially with the beauty brands that I've worked with, that has been key. But I'm seeing it now with other products as well.

Darcy: You know, it's interesting you brought up tv. We were having this conversation recently. The most coveted spot in commercials used to be during the Super bowl. And if you've actually watched over the years, what a change it has been. Like you, this Super bowl, there were only a handful of CPG companies, like, it used to be the Doritos and the Budweisers. And, you know, now you're having religious commercials, you're having companies that are, are stealing those spots. You can really see how, you know, companies are pivoting and where they're choosing to spend those marketing dollars.

Eleni: It's completely different now. And, uh, I'm learning a lot about this from my partner, Liz Mayor. She really understands this space. I I can't say that I'm as in depth an understander of the space, but she's been teaching me a lot on this, like the focus of retail media, how you get your digital shelf, right? Who, I mean, she talks about physical versus digital, and how do you make sure that from an omnichannel, they're connected? So I've learned a lot on that, and bold has taught me a lot about this as well, you know, as you guys have worked with me on some brands.

Darcy: Well, I think it's, it's what getting brands to understand. I always say there, there's a few points that you just have to speak to. It's that over 70% of consumers are engaging with new brands for the first time in the digital space. That's their first, that's the first entry point, right. You're usually touching a consumer three to four times before you're converting them, them. So let's just say, that's on social. Then you drive eventually to Amazon, your DVC. Making sure your consumer is getting that same experience with the brand across this omnichannel approach is highly important. Right. We know that the consumer, now more than ever after Covid is trained, you know, they will shop around too. They will find the best values or they'll find what's, you know, what is easily accessible to them. So it's just a, it's such a different environment now, like you said, is sometimes in that digital space, you got seven to 8 seconds to visually capture. You know, that digital shelf looks very different to make sure that it's conversion focused.

Allan: So, Eleni, I might be a little bit of a nerd, but back in my, uh, brand management days, I wanted to put a face on my competition. So I would actually try to find out who the person was, and I would imagine them, uh, plotting against me and maybe being upset about something that we did, uh, to overcome, uh, something that they were doing. How important is that competitive understanding today? What does it look like and, uh, what do you recommend that companies do to gain this understanding?

Eleni: I think you have to look at both. You have to look at consumer needs and you have to look at the competition. Um, I always like to really look at where the consumer is, because if you're meeting the consumer better than anybody else, that anybody else doesn't matter, right. If you're really addressing the consumer, but you have to look at competition too. I mean, I remember as a chief marketing officer, thinking about new brands, the first thing I would look at is what are the dynamics in the category and who's there and how much are they charging, and do I have a benefit that will be better and that I can make more money at? And if, you know, prices were really low and my benefit was just slightly better, it's like, I don't have a chance here. But if I had, wow, I've got a really good benefit. I can price in a way that's a good value for the consumer. We're going to make money. The retailer is going to make money. Then I had something that I could do. Um, where competition gets really important is on retail shelf. Because if after my first year, you know, a retailer will give you a shot if they really like your concept, right? Hey, let's put you on shelf. I like your concept. I like what you're trying to do. I like how you're trying to change the category. But if it's not incremental business and if you're in the bottom half of that category from a dollar per week, game over. Right. You lose distribution, and this is after you've spent money in slotting. So competition gets really important, then.

Darcy: Definitely. Well, I'd love for you to take a, uh, take a minute and catch us up on what you're up to today. Can you tell us about any brands or products or categories you're working with right now? I feel like every time I chat with you, you are on a plane or going to a board meeting or. You are one of the world's busiest women. We get five minutes sometimes to just connect, but love to hear what is going on in your world.

Eleni: Okay, so one of the companies that I'm on the board of is rare beauty, and I love this brand. Uh, they're doing such a good job with innovation, with products that actually work, with a consumer that loves the product. Um, so that's one that I'm working on that is just so much fun. Um, the other one, I'm learning a lot myself. Okay. So I'm on the board of a coconut company, and who knew all the health benefits of coconut? I had no idea. And I had already switched, for example, from m regular milk to almond milk. But then I started learning about the brown things on almond milk or lecithins. You shouldn't have that. So now I've switched to, you know, the MB coconut milk, and I'm putting that in my coffee, um, coconut sugar. I didn't know that it was lower glycemic. So the coconut benefits to brain health. So what I love about working with new brands is not only do I learn, you know, new ways to market or new ways to help them, new ways to get, uh, profitable growth, but then, as a consumer, I get something out of it, too. So those are two that, um, are especially fun right now.

Allan: What did you say the brand was?

Eleni: Coconut. So it's, uh, MB coconut milk and MB milk powder. They have distribution at Walmart, so in the baking aisle. Yeah, you got to try it. So good. Oh, if you take that MB milk and put it in your coffee in the morning, it's, like, creamy. It's really good.

Darcy: Well, Eleni, thank you so much for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with us. It is truly stories like yours that remind us to keep innovating, stay inspired, and let's continue to redefine the world of CPG innovation. We appreciate you.

Eleni: Thank you so much for having me. This was fun. I, um, enjoyed talking about this with you all.

Announcer: You've been listening to CPG launch leaders, a show from bold strategies Incorporated. Don't miss the next thrilling launch story. Follow the podcast on your podcast player now. Please give us a rating, leave a comment, and share episodes with your friends until next time.

Amanda Ashley
Post by Amanda Ashley
May 21, 2024
Marketing Director for BOLD