Before advertising any nutritional ingredient, consider your target market and their focus on cutting-edge quality. Oh, and taking note of the year, heck, even the decade, helps too.
This Q.P. Corporation brochure (offering nutritional supplement raw materials like lecithin, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin) was printed in 2010. But upon seeing it, my reaction was to call the 1970s and ask if they wanted their brochure back.
The American natural health industry sources raw materials from China and Japan. But clearly, these eastern suppliers often fall short on marketing. Q.P. (a Japanese company) cannot penetrate the American market using promotional materials that feel synthetic and outdated — especially in an industry that values natural origins and nutritional innovation.
The Lesson: Retro is fashion-cool, but it has no place in nutrition marketing… nor does the word “chemical.” Our industry seeks natural, safe, quality ingredients that help people. Q.P. ignores these factors and promotes a ’70s sci-fi nightmare of chemical toxic green. This is not how natural health looks!
So, we’ve established that generic is a term you would rather not have associated with your supplement marketing strategy. Generic isn’t sellable. Consumers don’t trust it.Generic is lazy.
Vitamin Code sits on the better end of that spectrum, with marketing that is alluring and sellable. It taps into consumer emotions by invoking a sense of mystery. We’re curious creatures; we can’t help wondering what the CODE actually means. We observe the CODE’s pyramids, wondering if these supplements will reveal their secrets to us.
Of course, this sort of marketing isn’t always appropriate, especially in health sectors. You wouldn’t take a pill blindly just to reveal its mysteries (at least, I hope you wouldn’t!) – which is why Vitamin Code scores again. They market mystery until they capture consumer attention, and then they back it up with vital, accurate health information and strong research-backed substantiation.
When I published Rx Complement magazine, I knew that drug-induced nutrient depletion was a topic I wanted to publicize immediately.
For the first issue, I wrote an article and created a pullout chart which shows which classes of drugs are associated with nutrient depletions. Of great assistance was Dr. Ross Pelton, a true leader in the nutrient depletion field. Download the chart below, print it and use it as you see fit.
Education is the key to supplement marketing. Consumers need to know all factors that will diminish their nutritional status: Stress, drugs, aging and a modern “factory farming” agriculture that yields nutritionally-deficient frankenfoods.
The Lesson: Third-party publications like my Rx Complement can be phenomenally effective sales-boosting educational tools. Consumers who read about nutrient depletion make smarter (and more numerous) supplement choices.
A few years ago, a company (which shall remain nameless) hired me to create new product marketing direction for a whole-food multivitamin supplement. I did market research, evaluated the competition, brainstormed product names, taglines and angles. I picked the strongest and created a brochure and box copy that told a story about the supplement. I billed for ten hours. The client nixed my copy.
Recalling the project, I decided to look it up today and see what kind of copy they ended up using. Here it is — in its entirety — believe it or not:
“This product features a wide array of vitamins, minerals, herbs and other nutrients – including vegetable, fruit and mushroom complexes – to give you the well-rounded nutrition you crave.“
Good god, where to start? The writing is bad, nobody “craves” nutrition, and there is no effort to brand or differentiate this product from the scores of similar competitors. If you want to sell your nutritional supplement, you need to do better.
The Lesson: Make sure your company has a real marketing person in place. With the right marketing direction, storytelling and design work, you can offer your nutritional supplement at a premium price… that consumers will be happy to pay. Make it sexy. Our industry is far too dynamic to settle for generic marketing.
I created this ad early in my career as a nutritional supplement marketing writer. The challenge: taking a rather plain protein shake and differentiating it. Designer Chad Renfroe and I came up with this ad, and while it was never used, I was always proud of the marketing instinct behind it. It romanticizes an ordinary supplement with language that resonates with women. You are Woman. I hear you roar.