Not Just New, Different

Point of differentiation, unique marketing paramount in new-product launches

DALLAS -- The challenge of bringing new product to market was among topics put under the microscope during CSP's Vault Beverage Category Review Meeting held in Dallas on Wednesday. While retailers agree new products can be the lifeblood of the beverage category, they also insist such products must have a well-communicated mark of differentiation to click with consumers.

College-aged consumers "don't want your father's CSD (carbonated soft drink). They're looking for something extra," said Rick Wilshe, who, as merchandise manager of convenience and café for Barnes & Noble College [image-nocss] Booksellers, knows a thing or two about teenagers' buying habits. "That's why they like enhanced drink and energy drinks.… They like to discover something that's different on their own."

That means traditional advertising avenues, such as TV and radio ads, no longer make the grade.

"Traditional marketing support really doesn't work so much anymore," said Phil Smallwood, senior category manager of packaged beverages for ampm. "What's influencing folks today is seeing [a product] in the hands of the people they're influenced by."

On the beer side, retailers said they like to know what the point of differentiation of the product is, how it will advertised, how well the product is doing on-premise and how the product has performed in test markets.

"It gets down to the marketing plan and how is this product different," Smallwood said. "If it's just two for $3, that's not going to cut it."

To read more from CSP's Vault Beverage Category Review Meeting, watch for the May issue of CSP magazine.

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