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Steve Jobs

Few months ago, a large famous Vietnamese feed manufacturer launched a new feed containing a Bio-Zeem complex. Through the packaging and all communication tools, they strongly emphasized that their feed was performing better because it contains Bio-Zeem. This campaign has been very successful both in term of attention from feed customers and gain of market share.

biozeem pig

I am surprised that we do not see more similar campaigns on our market.

Feed manufacturers should do a much better job in term of segmentation, positioning and education, which are the 3 major steps of any successful marketing process. Segmentation: it is important to clearly define whom we want to speak to. We need to define the customer segment before we start working on the message.

Positioning: we only remember the first. If you are only the second, you do not offer any reason for the customer

consummers mind

to convert to your products. If you cannot be the first on the segment you are, create a segment where you can be the first. The positioning is what you want your customer to remember about your product. The positioning statement must start with a superlative. It has to be the best or the fatest or the cheapest or the longest…It has to be the best at doing something...

Product A is the most effective Zinc Oxide to prevent diarrheas in piglet feeds…

The positioning should support your product differentiation by listing features. The positioning should not be an empty promise but should be scientifically sound and well supported. You cannot claim that you offer the faster growth if you cannot explain it with a good technical story

Product A is the most effective Zinc Oxide to prevent diarrheas in piglet feeds as it offers 10 times larger contact surface than standard Zinc Oxide to interact with bacteria and can therefore work a lower dosage without creating anti-nutritional effects as standard Zinc Oxide does at high dosage. Education: once we have been able to get our positioning accepted by our prospects thanks to effective communication, we need to educate them on the importance of our positioning. If our positioning says that we are the safest, the fastest or the most effective …we need to explain to our prospect why it is so important to be safe, fast or effective to help performance. During the education step, we need to explain what the prospect will gain from using the product by connecting the feature described in the positioning to the benefits expected by the customer segment we selected (growth, cost, safety, mortality, etc...). The expected benefits are often the same but the stories to get there needs to be different if you want your prospects to remember about you. During the education process, we do not need to speak about the product. We are educating our prospect on the importance of a specific mechanism of animal physiology. The prospect tends to be more opened to our message, as it does not sound commercial. But if we did a good job on the positioning, our product will be the first one to benefit from the education process, as it is perceived as the best for this mechanism. A positioning is not a slogan. It is an internal statement in order to get everybody in your organization to agree on the message to deliver to the prospects. But it must not be communicated as such to your prospects. It must be transformed into visuals, slogan, stories, testimonials or any other tools that will convey that message.

think out of the box

Similar approach applies to animal feed. Manufacturers should stress the uniqueness of their product proposal (USP – unique selling points). Marketing is based on differences. Without being different, we do not convince. We often expect our sales team to create these differences through their personal connection with the buyers. But feed marketers should help their sales colleagues by creating points of differentiation versus competitors. They should collaborate with nutritionists to identify some differences in their formula or even ask nutritionists to adjust the formula in order to create these differences. Formulation should not only be about building the best formulas but it should take into account competition formulas and create purposely some points of differences to enable the marketing team to build their communication around.

Feeds are too often sold as commodities. All feed manufacturers promises the same benefits as better growth, feed conversion, lower mortality and nicer piglets but we do not communicate much on the elements of differentiation. I am sure that formulas and performance differs a lot between feed manufacturers but the marketing communication is often similar without much emphasis on tangible points of differentiation. However, there are many formulation or manufacturing strategies that could support product differentiation. Some innovative feed additives on the market would help marketers to tell beautiful stories about their feed. Together with marketing department, the nutritionist should ask to their feed additives suppliers to provide such stories with the objective both to improve feed performance and to support a nice differentiation positioning. As I often says, as providers of additives of feed manufacturer, our job is not only to improve feed performance but to provide feed manufacturers differentiating positioning. I have plenty of ideas of differentiation stories. If you are interested by some of them, we will be happy to work with you at building your product positioning and education plan.

Related tags: Marketing

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