Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bottled Water Tip #6

Bottled Water Tip #6

 
Marketing strategies for a start-up bottled water business.

The key to a successful bottled water business - as it is to any business - is on-target strategic marketing. You can have the best water sources and state-of-the-art bottling equipment, but if you don't know to whom you are trying to sell, you are unlikely to succeed.

Your first decision is who your markets are. You can choose:

1. to sell retail, or directly to consumers of the water;
2. to sell to wholesale distributors, who will in turn sell your product to retail outlets such as supermarkets and convenience stores; or
3. Sell to a combination of retail and wholesale markets.

You must get to know your target market or markets. If you don't know much about your prospective customers - what they want, how they perceive bottled water, are they happy with the water they get now - you won't know how to communicate your sales message to them.

Marketing survey

Get to know your target markets. You will want to learn the following:

1. The market limits (trading area) of your service. In other words, how much territory can you realistically expect to serve?
2. Look closely at the population figures and characteristics (demographics) to determine potential spending levels.
3. Determine the sales volume of competing bottled water companies in your territory.

Market research can be divided into two categories: primary and secondary.

Primary market research generally involves conducting or hiring a specialist to conduct door-to-door surveys in your territory.

Information you gather will give you an idea about attitudes toward bottled water, as well as other lifestyle-type information that will tell you what makes your potential customers tick.

Secondary market research involves finding government and trade organizations that compile information such as:

• Census data, which details population density, income levels and family size in your territory. Government offices and websites can provide this information.
• Maps that show where the majority of businesses are located in the area and reflect the population's spending habits. Chambers of commerce, industrial development boards, trade associations and the like will have these available.
• Media sources, such as sales reps for radio and TV stations and newspapers, can provide audience profiles. If they believe they can sell you advertising, then they'll provide this information free.

Community organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce or other business development groups can help you find information on population trends, community income characteristics, payrolls, industrial development and the like.

Development

Once you've gathered as much information as possible about your market area, you're ready to develop a marketing plan. Your marketing plan should describe:

• The product and service you're providing;
• The segment of the bottled water business you are targeting;
• Your strategic plan for communicating your product's message to prospective customers and positioning the product within each market.
• Product differentiation, creating a personality for your water, branding.

Norland International designs and manufactures a complete line of turnkey bottling plants for the PET market, equipment for bottling 3- to 5-gallon bottles, as well as pretreatment systems, ozone systems, and commercial distillers.

Norland also offers a comprehensive "how-to" guide for a successful bottling operation, which contains extensive information of FDA regulations, testing parameters and other information pertaining to the FDA's general food Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP