Bedrock’s Key Takeaways
- When creating a holiday sales strategy, emerging CPG brands should focus on seasonal trends over general trends.
- Maximize the impact of holiday sales by targeting your most valuable consumer groups.
- Always remember to orient sales stories around retail partners, not customers.
Emerging Brands Need Data-Driven Strategies For The Holidays
For CPG startups, a data-backed long term strategy is key to growth, but so is the ability to quickly capitalize on seasonal opportunities to increase market share. Few seasonal opportunities are as ideal as holiday sales.
Market research suggests that digital advertising impressions, conversion rates and resulting sales increase dramatically during the holiday season, which contributes to many businesses earning peak revenue in a short timeframe. Unfortunately, emerging brands often have to work fast, with limited budgets and data resources to effectively utilize holiday seasonal benefits.
Here are a few ways CPG manufacturers can enhance the impact of a limited data set.
Focus on Seasonal Trends Over General Trends
Around the holidays, product categories will transform in ways that do not necessarily reflect trends from the rest of the year. Eggnog and candy cane sales, for example, spike during the holidays, but they’re practically non-existent during the rest of the year.
Analyzing seasonal metrics from previous years is a great place to start. Even brands that don’t offer specific seasonally-themed products can capitalize on certain types of sales are more common at various times of the year, for instance:
Prior to the winter holidays — or whichever event season you’re targeting for promotion — you should run an analysis of the previous year’s trends and category performance to make the most of your timing. If this data is not available, or you can’t afford to invest in the required data from a syndicator, try using data from individual retailer portals — it’ll be limited to your products (no competitor information), but it can give you a starting point for your holiday sales stories.
Find Your Holiday Market Segment
One key tactic of a successful holiday strategy is to find a market segment that represents an untapped vital growth opportunity. Who are your customers during the holiday season? What are their needs and interests? How much are they willing to pay for a quality product?
As we’ve noted in previous articles, targeting mainstream consumers and trying to sell against big brands can be risky for smaller companies. Household name brands in conventional channels have the marketing muscle and retail relationships that most emerging brands simply can’t compete with. Instead, target smaller regional, high-end or natural retail channels, presenting your wares as premium products to receptive audiences who are willing to pay for the higher value. At Bedrock, we’ve watched this strategy repeatedly succeed in natural and organic markets where customers are generally willing to spend more on untested brands that meet their needs.
Holiday sales are no different — in fact, your visibility and revenue can increase during high-volume seasons. For example, it’s no surprise that research from the National Retail Association found that most folks (88% of men and 93% of women to be exact) are planning holiday food purchases. With that in mind, it becomes a matter of targeting markets that fit your strategy, and positioning your product correctly — as an alternative to holiday classics, for example, or a new take on a festive side dish, or a drink to accompany holiday snacks, etc.
Pitch Your Brand to Retailers, Not Customers
The critical detail to remember is that, as an emerging brand, you’re not necessarily targeting customers — you’re targeting retailers.
Your holiday sales pitch is a data-backed argument for convincing retailers to grant premium shelf space for your product. Buyers will be far less interested in your brand story or the characteristics of your product than in sales velocity and dollar sales per point of distribution. When pitching a new account, take particular note of any distribution voids that would be a good fit for their customers.
Any sales strategy requires that CPG manufacturers keep retailers in mind, but this is even more critical during the holidays. Retail chains see their best sales windows during these periods, so keep in mind that they’ll be reluctant to risk shelf space on new products. That said, with the right data backing you up, there are still holiday opportunities to leverage with the right retailers, if you can draw the right insights and show them selling stories that make sense for the season.