Friday, June 13, 2008

How To Tell If Your Packaging Will Sell Your Product

Packaging News You Can Use
Tip Of The WeekIssue #1300 - June 13, 2008


According to top publicist Margie Zable Fisher, June is the month when you must begin “pitching” your products for December Holiday Gift roundups in top magazines like O Magazine, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, and more, as they have deadlines six months in advance of publication.

Just in time for all of you who’d like to do your own P.R. for Holiday Gift Guides is Margie’s new program, “29 Minutes to Free Publicity.” It’s a great program, and it’s easy and inexpensive -- two of my favorite things!

Here are some of the things that are included:

- Media contacts for product editors at O Magazine, Real Simple, InStyle, Elle, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Marie Claire and many more

- Media contacts from Margie and her team’s “house list,” including the Oprah Show, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Ellen, the Big Idea with Donny Deutsch and many more

- Top business media contacts at USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Inc., Fortune Small Business, Entrepreneur, the New York Times and more

- An actual successful phone and written media pitch that Margie used with one of her product clients, that you can use for your own publicity campaign

- Additional written pitches that you can use for your own publicity campaigns, for products including those in the following categories: baby, food, fashion, beauty and home

- Examples of great products included in gift guides and an explanation of what makes them winning products

- And, last but not least, a 15% discount on my favorite media contact database for consumer product companies, for new or existing subscribers (a minimum $75 value)

The program is only $49 through 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 -- a real deal, considering that just one publicity placement could lead to thousands of dollars in sales. You can get more information here:


Just because you have a great product doesn't mean its going to sell. Or even if you have it in the right retail environment that it’s going to fly off the shelf. Your consumer is a moving target.

Packaging a product the right way entails much more than just creating a box to put your product in. Sure, you are going to get it there in one piece, we hope but gone are the days of the box acting as only a protective shipping container. The box today is the "retail" salesperson. The box or package is expected to provide the necessary information to make an informed shoppers’ decision. You have to get your customer to pick up your product first before they will buy it.

Here are 5 questions you must answer that will help you determine whether your product packaging will sell.

1. Who is your core consumer?

You have market trends, demographics and market niches that are continually evolving at any point in time. If you are not staying on top of these trends, then your product isn't “connecting” to them with the right message. That core “message” or the mechanism to speak human is one of the most important attributes of your product packaging.

Your product packaging must connect with your core consumer on multiple levels. Before you can sell anything you need to understand who they are.

2. What is the competitive environment for your product packaging?

So start your analysis by viewing your package from the eyes of the consumer. If you are buying it, what's going to compel you to pick it up off the shelf? Or is it just sitting there lost amongst rows of competitive products? Think in terms your package calling out to you I'm here "buy me, buy me." Does your product do this? If not, your package isn't doing its job by persuading a consumer to purchase your product.

3. How does your consumer shop?

Do you know your customers current buying trends? Several years ago, we went through the supersized phase. There are still a lot of supersized packages; however, buying trends are changing to smaller sizes in general. To package smaller does not mean less profit, in many cases it means more. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for convenience, ease of use and a smaller quantity. Remember the three premium baking potatoes in a package cost almost the price of a 5 lb bag. If you live with just one other person, do you really need 5 lbs of potatoes?

Your package has to marry with your consumers lifestyles. If you don't know what that is then you can never develop the right product packaging that will appeal to them.

4. What is your packaging's USP- Unique Selling Proposition

70% of purchasing decisions are made in the store. And the decision whether to pick up your package or not is made in 2.6 seconds. That’s a few seconds of retail sensory overload that is going to determine whether or not your product will sell. So, your package better have the RIGHT message geared towards the RIGHT audience.

Convey the information about what is inside and how it’s going to help the consumer solve a problem. That's an important factor to remember. When someone looks at your product they are thinking, “What is this product going to do for me?” You know, WFFIM. That is the What’s in it for Me consumer?

If you don't know the answer then your product will never connect with your core consumer.

5. What are the consumer hot buttons that your packaging must reflect?

In addition to environmental concerns consumers are concerned about labeling and product security. People are reading labels AND scrutinizing them.

What it says on that label will influence whether they buy your product or not. The point being is that any high profile package or product will be looked at thoroughly by consumers. What you tell them better be the right message and true.Watchdog groups abound and they are on the lookout for your product to make a mistake. Whether they deem you are marketing to an inappropriate market (EX: Spykes marketing liquor to children) or that your packaging isn't telling the whole truth (Ex: McDonald's and all the other fast food companies and fat content), it's sure to become newsworthy and in the worst case scenario could seriously impact your business.

What about product security and integrity? Given the rash of recent product recalls (for a variety of reasons) product security has become paramount. States could enact legislation or at the very least mandate that your product packaging has a tracking device. Now this is not the same as RFID; similar but not the same. The latest devices allow you to track products all the way back to the field it was grown in and it provides a track back for every step along the way.

Could a product recall put your business in jeopardy?

All these questions need to be answered and not just with the initial package design, its an ongoing process. As I mentioned at the beginning the consumer is a moving target and your package has to move along with them in the right direction. Be sure the consumer you are trying to capture continually receives the right message.

Keeping updated on the latest packaging issues and trends is easy. That's what I do keep abreast of packaging trends technology and innovation so you don't have too. Its all in my weekly newsletter Packaging News You Can Use. You may get a complimentary subscription to Packaging News You Can Use at

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JoAnn Hines
Packaging Diva
All Packaging All Of The Time


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