Friday, June 22, 2007

The Shift to Liquids

The Shift to Liquids

BK Boreyko, President and CEO of New Vision and Vemma, traces the nutrition industry's evolution toward more liquid products. "Technology in the 1980s was tableting; in the 90's it was capsules; and now we've moved into liquids," he explains. "People get pill fatigue. USA Today said that 85 percent of Americans supplement, but they get tired of swallowing all those pills. And liquids appeal to either end of the age spectrum. Their nutrients are easily absorbed by adults, and the good taste passes the kid test."

One of the early entrants into the nutritional beverage category was Tahitian Noni International (TNI), which offers Tahitian Noni® juice, based on a fruit native to the islands of Tahiti. The noni plant produces a greenish-gold fruit that reportedly supports the immune system, boosts energy levels and is rich in antioxidants. TNI has expanded to more than 70 countries with several product lines and even cafés, all based on noni. The company's first year's sales totaled well more than $6 million; sales in 2005 were $531 million.

Shon Whitney, TNI's Vice President of Marketing Communications, says the choice of a liquid form for Tahitian Noni® juice dates to when founder John Wadsworth sampled the noni fruit in Tahiti and was convinced that the incredible product should be offered to the world. "Juice is noni's traditional preparation but, on the business side, it's easily consumable," he says. "We found early on that people would buy it and use it very quickly. Then they wanted more."

For CyberWize, which markets Tunguska Blast, the decision to offer a liquid rather than a pill or capsule was based on nutritional effectiveness-what the industry calls efficacy. CyberWize's Vice President of International Development Mark Baker says the product's powerful antioxidants are most effectively delivered as a liquid.
"Short of injecting them into a vein, the best way to consume them is orally in liquid form," Baker says. "Pills and tablets are not fully digestible, especially by the mature population. It's estimated that in individuals over 50 years old, as much as 70 percent of pills pass through the digestive system intact. The body has to break down everything it consumes into a liquid, anyway. A tonic is a superior delivery system." Launched early this year, monthly sales of herb-based Tunguska Blast have grown 15 to 20 percent a month.

Pharmanex based its decision to add a liquid supplement to its already extensive product line on research. "We looked at the overall business opportunity, and the category itself is focusing on juices," explains Joe Chang, Ph.D., Executive Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President, Product Development at Pharmanex's parent company Nu Skin. "Whenever any company does a market survey, most consumers are more favorable to drinking something rather than swallowing something. When a person opens the bottle and drinks three or four ounces of the product every time they open the fridge, they take the daily dose easily. At the end of the day, we must make it easy for the consumer to take our product." Chang also notes the company felt that launching a liquid could be a risk. "We thought if we offered a liquid supplement that people would migrate from our capsules and pills over to the liquid," he says. "But we're finding that the liquid supplement actually adds to increased consumption of Life Pack, our best-selling product. It was an interesting, unexpected dynamic. There has been very little cannibalization of revenue." Pharmanex launched its liquid "superfruit" product, which it calls g3T, in the United States in 2005 and in early 2006 in its more than 40 other markets. G3 is now its No. 2 seller, globally.

The Limu Company took its sea-plant-based beverage, Original LimuT, into 20 countries in 12 months, doing $10 million in wholesale business in its first year. "That's unheard of for first-year companies in direct selling," says company President Gary Raser. Now 3 years old, the company continues to grow rapidly. "Every month for the last 12 months, we've had double-digit growth over the previous month," he says. Explaining the liquid form of his company's product, Raser says, "Our main product is a sea vegetable, and it's in its most efficacious form if kept liquid. We flavor it with all-natural, organic papaya and mango purée to give it a flavor that consumers enjoy. In bringing the product to market, we found that a liquid form is also easier to take than handfuls of pills. It doesn't replace them, it's just an easier, new form as opposed to pills. But for us, liquid is the only option, because it offers the most nutritional benefit."

Juice was a natural choice for XanGo's mangosteen-based beverage. "The average American consumer opens their fridge 34 times a day," says John Digles, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. "When they have a juice right there smiling at them and they like the taste, you can build brand loyalty. Taste is a significant factor in creating a premium brand so, because the mangosteen fruit is a gorgeous-tasting creation, juice seemed like the perfect delivery system to bring the whole fruit to the marketplace." Now offering a product in 14 countries, 4-year-old XanGo had triple-digit annual sales growth until 2005. The company expects 30 percent sales growth this year.

4Life Research wanted to reach an audience that had difficulty popping pills. So it put its primary product, Transfer Factor®, into a fruit-based beverage it calls RioVidaT. "Liquids cross barriers with children or others who have a hard time swallowing pills," says 4Life's Senior Vice President of Marketing Trent Tenney. "RioVida has enabled us to get Transfer Factor to many people around the world." After two years of research, in May 2005 4Life launched RioVida in 40 countries. It uses a blend of açai berry, pomegranate, blueberry, elderberry, grape and apple juices with Transfer Factor, which combines nutritional elements from cow colostrum and egg yolks.

Making Quality Consumable

As they manufacture and bottle their liquid supplements, direct sellers are committed to quality, sometimes owning their manufacturing facilities. Those who contract with manufacturers or bottlers go to great lengths to ensure that they deliver safe, consistent, fresh, high-quality products.

"We own our own manufacturing facility for liquid products," notes BK Boreyko of New Vision, which markets Forté Juice and other nutrition products. "From raw materials to the final product, every step of the way we have testing and checks put in place. And owning our own manufacturing facility lets us deliver more quickly. When a consumer's bottle of Forté Juice is delivered, they can be assured that it was manufactured just four to six weeks ago, on average."

CyberWize starts the Tunguska Blast manufacturing process in Siberia where the product's 10 herbs are harvested and blended. "The Russian company we work with has been doing this with the same herbs for years and worked out the bugs decades ago," CyberWize President Mark McCool says. "Then we bring it to the United States, where we work with a GMP-certified (good manufacturing process) bottling plant. We make regular visits to the plant to test and ensure that our product is of consistently high quality."

For XanGo, "It's a real process," Digles says. "The mangosteen is a fragile fruit, and we give it tender loving care to get it where it is. We have farms in Southeast Asia growing the best product; then we pick only the best fruit and purée it, so consumers are getting the whole fruit. Then it goes through rigorous, standardized testing to ensure that we're giving people a consistently high-quality product. One of our goals is sustained sales, and people won't come back if you're not giving them a consistently great product."

Tahitian Noni International harvests noni from 80 Polynesian islands and brings it to a central point in Tahiti for processing. From there, the process moves to various bottling plants around the world to satisfy the requirements of different regions. The process is complex-harvester certification of, quality control on the island before the product leaves Tahiti then more quality control during bottling. "The purée process alone is checked every four minutes," TNI's Whitney says. "Six times during processing the product is checked for quality and safety. It's a big deal to us to be sure that Tahitian Noni is safe and consistent."

The Limu Company has an independent third party check every batch of Original Limu. "That's important, because you stake your reputation on the integrity and quality of the product," Limu's Raser says. "We have to ensure that every bottle is consistent, safe and good-tasting. All those things are critically important to our continued success."

Pharmanex also follows GMP standards. "We employ six specific steps in our quality manufacturing process-selection of fruit; qualification of vendors and suppliers; standardization; identification and assurance of active ingredients; safety; and science and substantiation studies," Chang says. "If you don't make a good-quality product, someone will buy it once, but it's unlikely they'll come back again. Once we've captured a customer, we like the product itself to keep the customer in the family."

Rejecting Retail

Direct sellers know that their products' consumers roughly reflect the demographics of their distributors-above the age of 35 and usually female. They're often the family caregivers, and their families rely on them. To reach those consumers in a way that makes their nutrition beverages stand out from the crowded field of competitors, company executives feel that direct selling stands head-and-shoulders above any other sales and distribution method.

TNI's Whitney explained a line of reasoning echoed by others. "In a traditional product introduction, you would put the product on a store shelf and use advertising to explain to the public why they should purchase it," he says. "Just a few large companies hold sway about what is on the shelves and where it is displayed. With a product like ours, in the early years no one had heard the name noni, much less why they should buy. Direct selling was a perfect way to tell such a rich story, and we've found it to be very effective. In the last few years, several of our competitors have attempted to go retail, but no one is more than 10 percent of our size. We have repeat sales at the 90 percent rate. Direct selling is absolutely perfect for this kind of product."

XanGo's Digles agrees. "It comes down to more than 500,000 passionate advocates worldwide," he says. "Word-of-mouth on XanGo juice, its taste and brand cachet have been a key part of our business. Customers try it, like it and keep coming back. That lets our distributors build relationships, giving consumers a sense of personal service."

4Life's Tenney notes that his distributors' familiarity with the consumers they serve is a huge benefit. "The primary advantage with direct selling is that you know who you're speaking to," he says. "You have an audience who you've identified as a person who is interested in nutritional products, as opposed to putting the product on a shelf with an untrained clerk and not knowing the end user. We know the users of our products, what they're looking for and their aspirations."

Lasse Burholt

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Aktiespekulation vs. pyramidespil

"...og du siger folk taber penge på pyrademidespil?" - læs mere om hvilke områder der faktisk skaber større tab end pyramidespil vildleder deres brugere

Erhvervsbladet har rettet fokus på markedet for homeparty koncepter i artiklen: "Hjemmegående hverves med løfter om gode penge" (06.06.07) hvor bl.a. Louise Pagsbjerg fra deler af sine betragtninger og gode råd.

Louise nævner bl.a. "Jeg har indlæg fra kvinder, som ærgrer sig over at være faldet for det og også er lidt pinlige ved det" - hvilket jo i og for sig er fair nok - men nu er det oftest sådan at de mange portaler (Louises inklusiv) jo oftest har en overvægt at negative erfaringer i spil - det er jo meget sjældent at de mange gode historier og erfaringer bliver delt.

Umiddelbart finder jeg rådene fra Louise ret så ensidige - se blot her: (citat) "Hun fraråder generelt kvinder at investerer i networking marketing og homeparty- salg. Heller ikke en hjemmeside er altid sagen - Så start hellere med at sælge på loppemarkeder og lignende".

Sjældent skal man da finde et MINDRE brugbart råd at følge - først og fremmest modsiger hun sig selv i en grad så hendes manglende erfaringer på området skinner igennem - for med en holdning fortæller om hun om de mange der evt. investere i større varelager - og med en anden holdning fraråder hun folk at engagere sig i Network Marketing branchen - en branche, OG mulighed som NETOP giver muligheder for at starte i det små - og arbejde en forretning/indtjeningsmulighed op.

Nu pointeres der ganske vidst at nogle selskaber - ellere rettere: nogle forhandlere - arbejder ud fra koncepter hvor nye forhandlere eller homepartysælgere skal investere i ganske store varelager - det synes jeg principielt er unødvendigt set med rene "Network Marketing" briller - men Louise kan altså ikke fraråde folk at engagere sig i Network Marketing udfra at de i nogle tilfælde koster investering i varelager - når hun SAMTIDIG råder selvsamme persongruppe til istedet at blive "rigtige selvstændige" og istedet starte med at sælge varer på eks. loppemarkeder!

Netop det at starte fuldstændig for sig selv indebærer langt højere risici - og langt højere investeringer - ligesom det da om noget er dybt amatør-agtigt at sælge gode mærkevarer på loppemarkeder....! - Loppemarkeder er da indbegrebet af skrammel!

Network Marketing muligheden åbner jo netop op for, at man får et færdigt gennemprøvet koncept at arbejde med - man kan vel godt sammenligne med franchise - hvor alt er på plads; produkter, logistik, support, salgsmaterialer m.m - det eneste man tilfører er SIG SELV - holder man sig til de gængse selskaber - og muligheder - så vil man også se at det er begrænset hvilken investering man må op med upfront for at starte sin egen lille forretning.

Typisk nogle få hundrede kroner - herefter vælger man selv om man har brug for x antal produkter eller ej - nogle "teams" indenfor de forskellige selskaber vælger måske at køre efter deres eget koncept, hvor de eks. råder deres nye forhandlere til at købe et lille varelager, som oftes for mellem 1.500 og 3.500 - og så starte derfra.

Ganske vidst er der visse tøjfirmaer som - udover direkte salg - benytter sig at network marketing konceptet som salgsredskab - og hvor investeringen kan løbe op i både 20, 25 og 30.000 kroner - men er det nødvendigt? Umiddelbart kan argumentet være at man skal noget at vise frem - men jeg mener nu sagtens det kan gøres for mindre.

Skal man følge Louises råd, så skal man holde sig fra Network Marketing grundet investering i eks. varelager - men istedet sælge på loppemarked... men.. hvordan hulen kan man sælge på et loppemarked uden først at investere i VARER....!

Alle Network Marketing (med forbehold for at jeg ikke kender set-uppet i nogle af tøjfirmaerne) har jo netop fuld returret på købte varer - dermed løber man INGEN risiko, hvis man har investeret i et lager man evt. ikke kommer af med.

Tvivler da stærkt på at loppemarkedssælgerne bare sådan kan returnere usolgte varer til deres leverandører....!

Der generaliseres simpelthen for meget i artiklen - hvor flere selskaber nævnes - og jeg må simpelthen konstatere at rådene, som gives på simpelthen ikke er objektive nok. Kvindeguiden fraråder deres brugere i at involvere sig i en forretningstype hvor risikoen er minimal - men råder dem istedet til at løbe HØJERE risici ved at starte for sig selv som "rigtige selvstændige". Mage til talentløs sludder!

Det er en OM´er!

Flere network marketing firmaer har forskellige "homeparty" koncepter - i eks. Forever Living kaldes homeparties for "wellness-aftener" hvor værtinderne enten er forhandlere og via et lille udvalg fortæller om de produkter selskabet har - gæsterne kan så bestille ud fra en bestillingsliste og får efterfølgende varerne. Andre operere med at en ekstern forhandlere har produkter med og dermed demonstere whatever de nu demonstrere - værtinden vil så få en procentdel af salget.

Via disse homeparties eller wellnessaftener (alt afhængig af selskab) spotter man nu og da også nye potentielle forhandlere - og dermed tænker i "netværk af forhandlere".

Dermed begynder network marketing delen at vise sin styrke; at man over tid kan opbygge en forretning, hvor man opnår indtjening fra flere kanaler der skaber omsætning.

Lasse Burholt

Hemmeligt nummer er for latterligt

Kan overhovedet ikke se fornuften i at benytte sig af "hemmeligt nummer", "nummer ukendt" osv. når man ringer op til diverse folk - det irritere mig grænseløst når jeg har været optaget og kan se ubesvarede opkald på mobilen - fra hemmelige numre - og der så slet heller ikke ligger en besked på telefonsvareren.

Jeg besvarer konsekvent ikke opkald fra "hemmelige numre" - fordi det er tit er nogen der vil sælge et eller andet - min "protest" rammer derfor også de der - og jeg fatter det ikke - vælger at ringe fra hemmeligt nummer - og som ikke nødvendigvis ringer for at sælge noget.

Samtidig irritere det mig grænseløst at mange ikke lige lægger en besked og fortæller HVORFOR de ringede, såfremt jeg ikke lige har været i stand til at besvare kaldet... omvendt glæder det mig når de, der ikke lige lægger en besked, sender en SMS lige efter hvor der eks. kan stå: "Ring mig lige op, det drejer sig om...".

Det er god stil!

På min svarer opfordrer jeg alle til, at lægge en besked ELLER sende en sms - så ved man hvad det drejer sig om - og er forberedt eller har måske indhentet den information eller hvad det måtte være - inden man følger op på kaldet - det sparer tid.

Så... jeg fatter nada af logikken i at ringe fra "hemmeligt nummer" - endnu mindre fatter jeg af at folk ikke enten lægger en besked (eller sms) og fortæller HVORFOR de ringer!

Nogen gange kan der så ligge en besked med noget så tamt som "Hej Lasse, ring mig lige op!" --- Ja, fint nok - men HVORFOR?

Lasse Burholt

Lasse Burholt's Facebook profile

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Secret om Smagsdommerne (eller omvendt?)

Det er ikke så tit jeg når igennem hele udsendelsen når "Smagsdommerne" (på DR2) giver deres besyv med om - ofte - ligegyldige bøger, film, teater - men igår måtte jeg alligevel lytte med, da de havde "The Secret" på programmet... som selvfølgelig blev jordet fuldstændig; det er jo amerikansk - uha da da! - der var bestemt ikke sparet på fy-ordene i deres beskrivelse af såvel bogen som DVD´en.

Tja, det til trods for at The Secret er solgt i 4 millioner eksemplarer og for mange er en måde at "turbocharge" deres tankesæt omkring det at tænke positivt; nuvel er "The Secret" jo samtidig et udstyrstykke i genial markedsføring, men ikke desto mindre er det et redskab der i den grad understreger hvor meget kraft der ligger i det at tænke positivt.

Den ene af de stærkt "forargede" smagsdommere måtte da også gå til bekendelse: Hun havde faktisk to gange brugt teknikker fra The Secret - med resultat.

En anden af smagsdommerne - husker ikke hvem hun var (en ret ligegyldig kvinde) var endda så ligefrem og kalde folk for dumme hvis de købte "The Secret" (nærmere bestemt, mente hun karakteristikken på den gennemsnitlige læser måtte være tykke mennesker med lavt selvværd...).

Eén pointe er jeg dog enig i - hele settet i The Secret handler om at tænke positivt i forhold til "loven om tiltrækning" - det budskab har man forstået på de første sider i bogen - men det ændrer jo ikke det faktum, at det gør mange mere bevidste om noget de allerede ved, men ofte glemmer.

03 til smagsdommerne - de ville hellere have diskutere smalle film og bøger som de nok ikke helt selv forstår, men som er mere "smarte" at tale om.

Lasse Burholt