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5 Tips to Create Effective Packaging

Posted by Joann Marks on Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

StIvesIt’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach consumers. More and more, people tune out product communication, particularly advertising, which is alternately perceived as invasive or thought of as entertainment. Product packaging has the potential to be one of the most effective means to communicate directly with consumers and drive bottom-line growth.

However, many brands lack a unique personality that creates an emotional connection with consumers. Many products are marketed according to functional benefits alone. Packaging can play anything from a minor role where it simply protects the product from damage, to a strategic role where it becomes part of the distinctive image of the product itself, such as the Coke bottle. In drug stores, the package must perform many of the sales tasks. It must demonstrate the product’s features, give the consumer confidence, and make a favorable overall impression. Here are 5 tips to package your product effectively.

1. Evoke emotion
The ability to evoke an emotional response is the hallmark of great brands and the characteristic that distinguishes them from commodities. The most successful brands start with a great concept and use packaging as a vehicle to transcend the product itself and evoke a positive emotional response. Emotion is the key element that can transform a rational choice into a brand experience. For example, buying milk versus buying the idea of health and quality embodied as milk. The difference is important because, fundamentally, consumers want to feel good about the products they buy and use.

2. Avoid following the herd with colors
It may be tempting to use a color for what it can symbolize, for example white for purity. However, it is important to look at your competitor’s packaging first. A good illustration is when low fat cookies were first introduced and a number of brands had a green color scheme with message saying ‘fat free’ and ‘organic’. The message worked, customers associated the color with the category, but the tactic dramatically reduces product differentiation amongst competitors. 60 to 70% of buying decisions are made at the point of purchase, so it is important that your product stand out.

3. Cut down on product, not price
At this point many companies feel the need to raise their prices to get more revenue. However, it is no secret that in this economy your customers are likely to balk. A great compromise is to keep the price and change the packaging to contain less product. You may wonder how this is going to work without the customer feeling cheated. Consumers are not good at judging the volume of product, and they often make erroneous inferences about how much a given product contains. For example, a well documented finding has shown that products packaged in long, tall containers are judged to contain more volume than those with equivalent amounts of products in shorter containers. It also has been found that unusual or unexpected packaging lead consumers to estimate the product has more volume than products with run of the mill packaging. So if you’re thinking about downsizing a product’s contents, try playing dress up and get a bold, unusual design.

4. Use eco-friendly packaging
If consumers are likely to have environmental concerns then the packaging attributes of being made from reused materials or being recyclable, can be emphasized. Green packaging is becoming mainstream as manufacturers come under pressure to go green. Various studies show that consumers would be willing to pay a little extra for packaging that is eco-friendly. Over 75% of the environmental impact that a product throws off during its lifetime is determined at the design stage, when, for instance, the materials are chosen, the recyclability of a product is determined, and the amount of toxic chemicals it makes use of is decided. So start going green from the beginning. For example, if you’re making a toothbrush, it could be made from recycled plastic and the packaging can be cut down by only covering the head, and the box made to be recyclable. Some of the more popular eco-friendly packaging methods and materials are biodegradable plastics, recycled paper, and metal. Bio-degradable packaging has actually become cost-efficient with new technology and greater demand, so it is possible that you will gain revenue by switching to biodegradable packaging.

USDA-Seal5. Label your organic product properly
Studies show that a majority of the world’s consumers rely heavily on the use of a certified-organic seal on a package to assure them about a product’s organic certification. The United States relies on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to certify organic products. USDA is the only U.S. federal government agency that standardizes and ensures the quality of organic products. Although there are a number of private groups attempting to define the term organic for the U.S. market, your product must comply with existing USDA regulations in order to display the USDA certified-organic seal on its packaging. This seal can only be used if products are certified as being made with 95-100% organic ingredients. The seal itself can be placed anywhere on the product label. ECOCERT is one of the most recognized independent cosmetic certifiers. Based in Europe, ECOCERT conducts inspections in more than 80 countries However, in the United States, ECOCERT’s certification cannot be substituted for the one from USDA.

Cosmetic Promotions offers graphic design services, and has experience designing custom product brochures, newsletters, and coupons as well as custom counter displays for product testers and samples. Check out our work here.

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5 Ways to Market in this Economy

Posted by Joann Marks on Friday, June 26th, 2015

Market in this economyThe current economy actually shows that people are increasing their spending in the health/beauty category. Smart brands should retain their marketing plans while improvising tactics, and only slightly adjust their marketing spending even when the economy isn’t great. If you have the resources, this is a real opportunity to grow market share as other companies are spending less on promotion. From 1980 to 1985 (mostly a time of recession), the companies that did NOT reduce their marketing budgets increased sales 16-80%. The Health and beauty category is getting higher amounts of customer’s discretionary income because this is a time where people want to feel good about themselves – lipstick sales went up after 9/11. This is your opportunity to show that your brand is the one that will make them feel confident. Here are 5 ways to market in this economy.

1. Great value for your customer doesn’t just mean lower prices
Obviously customers spend more carefully during a recession, but that does not always mean paying the absolute lowest price. Spending wisely means not wasting it on poor quality products. They want more value for their buck. When you are marketing your product, be sure to promote the value of your product, even while you are providing discounts. Uphold and defend your core positioning, and resist the temptation to sacrifice quality or reduce innovation efforts for the sake of cutting prices. This is especially important if you have a leading brand. Trusted brands and their appeal tend to transcend and outlast times of trouble. If your product is not a necessity, it needs to be marketed as important to your customer as possible. Point out that your product solves a problem, satisfies a need, or makes life easier.

2. Make people feel good
These economic times have shown major increase in families spending time together at local community events. Consider promoting your product or service at as many community events as you can. Consider hiring street teams to hand out samples and coupons to all the free family events in key demographic neighborhoods. Your marketing campaign should uplift customers. And make them feel valued when they do buy from you, step up your customer service and emphasize how your products are helpful or cost effective in your marketing campaign. Remember to appreciate your employees; they are your most important assets. Your employees can be extremely effective marketers when they are happy.

3. Use organic strategic search optimization (SEO)
Pay per click search engine advertising allows you to get top search engine placement by paying for keywords related to your product or service. Organic SEO can be done by optimizing your web pages and increasing link popularity (done by acquiring or paying for links that point to your site). This results in high rankings on the search engines for your search terms. Place greater emphasis on your organic SEO, don’t just throw all of your marketing money to GoogleAdWords. Not only is this method cheaper, but it’s more productive. Organic listings can attract 60-70% of clicks as opposed to 30-40% for paid listings. To go organic, make sure you optimize ALL keywords on your website, and don’t forget about your titles and meta descriptions (what search engines display as a description for your site).

4. Focus even more on your core customers
When the economy isn’t great, marketing budgets are cut down, which is a good time for marketers to invest more in their best customers. 20% of a company’s customers represent 80% of total sales. Any significant fallout with this core group could mean a serious hit to total sales volume. Use the money you can spend to target your best offers to your most loyal customers. Mass marketing efforts tend to ignore the groups that are already familiar with your company. But it’s your core customers that need a reminder of how much they enjoy your product to motivate a buy. Take this time to segment and test the customers you have. Focus your offer, messaging, and tactics and you may find that loyal regulars are ready to spend extra. Enhance your customer support. This means stepping up customer service and communicating regularly with customers through newsletters, emails, and mailings. More than ever you want to maintain your relationship with existing customers who will still be there when the economy takes an upturn.

5. Get the message out – get more for less
Instead of cutting marketing budgets (companies that cut brand advertising during a recession typically see sales and income fall 20-30% over the next two years as a result); look for different ways to spend your advertising money. With your competitor doing less marketing, it is easier for your brand to stand out in the marketplace. Consider radio vs TV, website and texting over direct mail and perhaps partnering with other brands/services to share the costs. Think about ways to touch the customer through in store sampling, community sampling or in store demonstrations. Did you know that Cosmetic Promotions has professional makeup artists who can perform makeovers at in store event? Or that we have effective community sampling programs targeted to certain demographics? And many times we help save money on marketing by matching you up with a non-competitive brand to share the costs. Don’t let a poor economy cause your sales to fall. Find more information on our Sampling Programs and In Store Demos.

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5 Ways to Market to Hispanics

Posted by Joann Marks on Thursday, June 25th, 2015

hispanic-samplingIn 2002, the US Hispanic population officially became the largest minority in the United States. Buying power among the Hispanic population in the US is also increasing rapidly. NOW is the time to market to Hispanics. It is estimated that by 2017, Hispanic consumers will have attained $1.7 trillion in buying power. Although states like Florida, California, Texas, and New York have been known for their significant Hispanic markets, now states like Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, and Minnesota are experiencing rapid growth.

In addition, the number of Hispanic households with more than $100,000 in annual earnings is growing at more than twice the rate of the general population’s. The youth segment of the Hispanic market also represents a large opportunity for companies to increase sales and build new customers; the average age of the Hispanic population is 26 years (the average is 37 years for the general population). Don’t miss out on this vital consumer segment, here are 5 ways to target market the Hispanic population.

1. Market online
Hispanics spend 55% of their online time connected to Spanish language sites. By not making your website available in Spanish, you may be missing 20% of all internet users. Despite the fact that many Hispanics speak English fluently, at least half prefer to read content in their native language. Hispanics welcome e-mail promotions more times per month than non-Hispanics (11 times vs. 7.4 times). There are relatively few bilingual advertisers right now (so keyword bids are still low) and there are a growing number of Hispanics online. Getting on board NOW allows marketers to capture a high ROI now and build competitive advantage. Find out which sites are popular with Hispanics, which search engines they use, and how they spend their time online to reach this market effectively. For example, Google and Yahoo have Hispanic-targeted syndication partners including Terra, Univision, Telemundo and AOL Latino.

2. Use family oriented marketing
Hispanics are extremely family-oriented, so any marketing strategies with family values themes have strong appeal. Hispanics have strong and close bonds that often extend outside the immediate family to extended family and non-family members. Hispanic families are very likely to be three-generational, with grandparents an integral part of the unit. A relevant advertisement for Hispanics depicting a family would include grandparents in the home. Keep in mind that Hispanics commonly group their family earnings to purchase a car, home, etc. so don’t underestimate their purchasing potential.

3. Use Spanish
If you want to fully reach the Hispanic community, communicate in Spanish. Avoid computer-generated translations, you’ll risk looking ridiculous to native speakers. Don’t just assign translation work to the bilingual people in your company; not everyone who speaks Spanish makes a good translator. It’s preferable to work with professional translators. An ideal professional translator should use native speakers and know your industry. Before advertising ensure that you’re actually ready for your new Hispanic customers. Put some thought into how to handle communications when your customers contact you with a question in Spanish, by email or phone. If you don’t have enough bilingual representatives on hand you may frustrate your customers with long hold times or response periods. Spanish plays a critical role in customer service since Hispanic brand loyalty is built on relationships. Since many Hispanics use both Spanish and English in the household, using “Spanglish” in your advertising can be very relevant as well.

4. Don’t lump all Hispanics together
Native born Hispanics who have lived exclusively in the US and immigrants are very different in their consumer behavior. Those who speak English fluently tend to be familiar with mainstream American culture and have buying habits similar to non-Hispanics. Meanwhile, the immigrant population often has shopping habits that reflect its natural heritage. They are more likely to use Spanish-language media and would prefer to shop where employees speak Spanish. The foreign-born Hispanic market segment who have been in the US for 5 years or less often have limited English skills and may not have learned American systems yet. Your marketing campaigns for these two groups should be reflective of these differences. Don’t forget that most Hispanics prefer to identify themselves by their country of origin rather than referring to themselves as “Latino” or “Hispanic.” They have strong identification with their country of origin and should be treated accordingly. The U.S. Hispanic population is about 67% Mexican, 14.3% Central and South American, 8.6% Puerto Rican and 6.5% from elsewhere.

5. Recognize that Hispanics are group oriented
Marketers should know that Hispanics are group oriented. Soccer games, street fairs and festivals are very popular. Don’t rely solely on the Internet or television to reach the Hispanic consumer. Outdoor ads with simple messages generate the biggest reach and frequency numbers at low cost. Culturally Hispanics are more social. They have strong ties to friends and family and have a powerful drive to stay connected. Consequently, Hispanics are turning to the social web to consume and create their own content. Marketing in social media is a good idea to reach Hispanics. Looking to build brand awareness in the Hispanic community? Find out about our sampling program that markets specifically to Hispanics.

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5 Ways to Increase Store Traffic

Posted by Joann Marks on Thursday, June 25th, 2015

increase-store-trafficIt is always important to think of ways to attract more traffic to your stores. Here are 5 ways to increase store traffic.

1. Create contests – everyone loves to win something. Pair it with an event where everyone is sure to receive something. When your store has its grand opening or a huge promotion are great times, as it builds a lot of excitement and interest. How do sweepstakes/contests affect the consumer’s likelihood to purchase a product? 39% are more likely to buy. However, when compared to other promotional techniques, sweepstakes/contests do not fare as well as coupons, gift with purchase, or samples so this is why pairing contests with something else can be the most effective.

2. Give the customer an incentive to come back sooner – A coupon good for the next purchase with an expiration date will help ensure the customer gets their product again from YOU! Do a special loyalty customer premium item or sale. 87% of all shoppers use coupons, and with the economy even more are expected to do so. Remember that couponing is the most measurable and accountable form of promotion, so you are able to see the direct results of your efforts. Discounts or coupons expand your market area as consumers will travel far to redeem a valuable coupon. They also entice your competitor’s shoppers and new residents in the area. Fortunately, the same customer will probably end up buying additional items that carry a full profit margin.

3. Have a consistent section in the store for bargains
– Put it deep in the store in a high traffic area so customers have to pass by your other merchandise. Keep the inventory full and fresh, so it’s worth the trip. Your heaviest traffic of course will be in the entry/exit areas and checkout counters. But keep in mind 80% of your retail customers will visit the photo, electronics, and snack areas of your store.

4. Make it easy to shop at your store – Your employees should be helpful and your checkout process efficient. Make sure you keep items in stock, customers won’t come back if the last trip was a waste of time. A Wharton study revealed that the customer’s perceived in stock is driven not only by actual in-stock but by how well the customer rates employee knowledge about the store and the products they are looking to purchase. When the researchers analyzed the impact of increasing staff they found in some stores they found that increasing associate payroll by $1 is associated with a sales lift between $4 to $28, a clear signal that adequate and knowledgeable staff drives customer satisfaction.

5. Have an in store demonstration – consider an in store demonstration but make sure that it is held at the right time of day. The highest traffic time for demos would be between the hours of 2 pm and 4 pm on Saturday or Sunday when 11.6% of Americans are out shopping. The second highest amount of traffic occurs during the weekend lunch rush from 12 to 2 pm – so a good demo time is from 12-4. Demonstrations build excitement and improve sales. A customer who has the product demonstrated on them is 3 times more likely to purchase it and make multiple purchases. In a survey of almost 2,000 people, 92% decided to buy a grocery, household, or health and beauty care product after trying a sample. Visit our In-Store Demos page to find out more!

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5 Secrets to Exit Sampling

Posted by Joann Marks on Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Group of three women laughing and looking at cameraWith ‘media clutter’ it’s difficult to get people’s attention these days. Product sampling forces consumer participation, is likely to make a lasting impression and generates the best type of advertising: worth of mouth. The health and beauty care category is packed with products that are conducive to sampling. In a survey of almost 2,000 people, 92% decided to buy a grocery, household, or health and beauty care product after trying a sample. 73% became aware of new products through samples, and 84% would consider switching products if they liked the free sample. What you want to do is interrupt the normal routine and get people to take a different action. Exit sampling at sporting events, concerts, or festivals reach thousands at one time. Here are 5 secrets to making exit sampling work for your product.

1. Work with the brand’s objective
The reality of game-day sampling is that you can’t sample to everyone at the event or guarantee one sample per person. When determining sample counts, decide whether you want more interaction between the event staff and the fans, or if the goal is simply to meet sample distribution goals. Hand-to-hand sampling at sports venues in particular provides the opportunity to connect fans (a demographic known for their allegiance) with a new brand experience.

2. Timing is everything
When it comes to exit sampling, the timing of distribution is critical. Decide on entrance or exit sampling based on your product. Product information is much more likely to be read by a captive audience waiting patiently for the event to start than when they are rushing to the exit. However, product launches from nationally established brands don’t require as much introduction because people are more willing to try something new from a recognized name.

3. Come up with a laser-focused message
With concerts, festivals, and sporting events tens of thousands of people enter and exit during the event, you simply can’t say everything about the product or brand to them while they’re going in and out. The solution is to agree on no more than three key product features and benefits to communicate to them during the event. An ACNielsen analysis of a health and beauty category sampling event showed an average 36% lift in sales!

4. Keep communications flowing smoothly
It is important to have a single point of contact on both the brand sponsor side as well as on the event management side. All aspects of the event must be discussed. And of course timelines and maps should be used to so that everyone knows exactly what is going to happen when and where, whether or not they will be attending the event. Of equal importance is carefully training the event personnel on the features and benefits of your product. You need brand ambassadors who can speak about how to use your product, when to use your product, other uses for your product, etc., not just people who just hand stuff out.

5. Don’t underestimate exit sampling at concerts
Have a product just for teens? Get the most return on your investment by giving samples to your target market only. With concerts catering to particular audiences, this is the perfect way to determine who will receive your samples. Cosmetic Promotions can make arrangements with the concerts and collate your samples. Find more information on our Teen & College Sampling Program.

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Cosmetic Promotions: Retail Beauty Marketing
Cosmetic Promotions, Inc.
2111 W Pine St. Orlando, FL 32805
Phone: 407-310-4839