by Matt Weik
The dietary supplement industry is not going anywhere. In fact, it grows every year. More and more brands are coming to the market to build a booming business. Some brands merge with larger brands and take a fat check in their exit. And some brands appear to disappear overnight and close their doors, leaving employees unemployed and looking for their next paycheck.
It was definitely a wild ride last year. But one thing is certain, the supplement industry is damn exciting. With all the excitement, however, supplement companies have to think about the future and not just be in the moment. What can you do in 2020 to make it your best year yet? I have a few ideas.
Now I'm not an industry insider in the sense that I look at Supplement Brands' earnings reports – frankly, I find that boring. For me, you either grow or you die, and those who get along will soon be on the way out. Supplement companies and brands must continue to think outside the box, how they market, launch their new products, and understand the direction of the industry and consumer desires and needs as they navigate year after year. What worked in 2015 no longer works today. And the things that worked yesterday … well, they couldn't work tomorrow. However, here are a few points I think supplement companies need to focus on in 2020 to win.
Functional foods and beverages
Let's start where I see the biggest boom, and that's with the constant urge for functional foods and drinks in the room. This is THE hottest place you are right now as more and more people are entering and bringing new consumers to the market. People who have never taken supplements before open a little more and try supplements because they have been successful with various functional foods and beverages.
Due to functional foods and beverages, we saw some of the largest additions and acquisitions of supplement companies in 2019, with Quest Nutrition sold for $ 1 billion and ONE Brands for $ 397 million. This is the new wave and if you are not prepared you will miss it.
Work with brands that do not contain additions
They say who cannot … teach. In this case, companies that are unwilling to sell complement each other. Cooperation is about thinking outside the box. BSN did a great job buying Cold Stone Creamery and launching some delicious ice-flavored protein powders.
Here's what I want to see and if a brand does, you owe me royalties (I'm serious). Take a look at what's hot and trending for a while and use it. Let's take coffee as an example. It is the most consumed morning drink in America. Other drinks don't even come close. Pass Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and you'll see a line passing through, regardless of the time of day. Ding Ding ding. Do you see where I'm going with this?
Why haven't any supplement companies tried to work with these coffee giants to bring some kind of coffee with protein RTD to the market, a protein powder with caffeine added, but the taste of a cup of Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts coffee or a Dunkin Donuts chocolate glazed protein powder Donut flavor (or even bars)? Cooperations could give a brand an absolute win in 2020 with some unique flavor enhancements or even products that also fit in the area I mentioned in number 1 for functional foods and beverages.
Use social media
If supplement companies have not yet entered the social media area, they can just as easily kiss each other. You have to be everywhere! Supplement companies today cannot live from being an old brand. Or by placing ads in magazines (the less than a handful that still exist today). You need to be on social media and deal with your consumers.
It's not good enough to have only one brand page on social platforms. You must actively write posts and speak to followers. Ghost did a great job creating their brand as a “lifestyle” addition through the use of social media. They made the brand “cool” by building a community. If you want to win in 2020, you have to mirror your model and differentiate at the same time.
Produce MORE content
Do you think you produce enough content? Produce more. Are you not producing any content at all? What the hell are you waiting for The best brands around the world help their consumers by educating them and helping them achieve their goals. What do you do? Nothing? Shame on you. Now is the time to produce content on a large scale and to help your consumers.
Here's another addition that companies need to think about. If your brand is out of sight, you've lost your mind. Your competition will take over your business. If you sell products from your website and people have no reason to ever return unless they want to buy … you lose. Content directs traffic to your website where you can convert sales. Even if people are not interested in buying something at the moment, at least you have it in your mind. And with SEO, the content you produce or have produced can get tons of organic traffic on your way without spending a dime on marketing. The last thing you want is to be forgotten. You can also use the content as a social media post (teaser pointing to your website) to use both and increase your sales and traffic.