Product Packaging: The Secret to
Selling a Commodity Product

by David Frey

In the world of marketing, perception is reality. You can use that to your advantage if you sell a commodity product. Here's a good example of how to package a commodity product for higher profits.

Last year I was asked to give a seminar to a group of prominent business executives in Nairobi, Kenya.

Seeing as how I'd never been to Kenya, or anywhere close to that part of the world, I agreed to give the seminar.

It was a great experience.

While I Was In Kenya I Was Asked a Great Question

A CEO of a soap manufacturing and distribution company attended my seminar. We landed on the subject of creating a Unique Selling Proposition.

This soap CEO asked me...

"David, we make soap. It's not fancy. They make bars of soap and cut them into small blocks that are sold in retail stores. What can I do to differentiate my product from the other soap that's being sold?"

He pulled out a bar of soap to show me.

Indeed, it was a simple, no frills bar of soap.

He mentioned that his competitors have continually undercut him in price, which frustrated him.

And he didn't know of any way to set his soap apart from the other brands and he asked me what he should do.

Here Was My Advice to the Soap Executive...

Simply package your soap in a bright fluorescent yellow wrapping with a picture of a sun and rays of sunshine on it and call it, "Sunny Fresh."

He was silent for a few moments and then it seemed as though a light bulb went on inside his head.

"Yes, that's it." he said.



Well, I don't know if he ever took my advice or not, but I DO know that packaging can certainly create a perception of difference in the mind of consumers.

A great example of that just popped up the other day.

How a Little-Known Fertilizer Became One of the Fastest Selling Plant Growth Supplements In the World

This week my wife planted three new trees in our backyard. She was looking for some soil fertilizer and was presented with a bunch of options down at the local nursery.

After scanning the shelves, one product jumped out at her like a sore thumb.

The packaging was so compelling that she immediately purchased several bottles of it.

The product is called "Superthrive."

Would you like to see what it looks like?

--> Here's the front of the package

 

--> Here's the back of the package

 

Here's What Makes This Product Packaging Stand Out

Notice on the front cover how the package uses the following techniques...

  1. 1. A very bold headline
       "#1 Extra Life"
  2. 2. Very powerful words
       "World Champion", "Greatest Guarantee", "Proof", "Vitamins-Hormones", "Science Miracle."
  3. 3. Bold colors
       Bright yellow, red, and green.
  4. 4. A variety of large fonts
  5. 5. Photos of healthy plants and trees

And Did You Take a Look at the Back of the Package?

If you examined the back of the Superthrive package you would have noticed that it's as compelling as the front of the package, but in a different way.

There's no bright colors or photos.

It's all text.

But the text is very compelling.

On most bottles of something, the back is filled with cautions, directions, and ingredients.

The back of Superthrive is filled with additional sales copy. Notice how the back says, "EXTRA LIFE for YOUR..." and it lists 10 different things to which Superthrive provides extra life.

Basically the front of this package gives you all the emotional reasons for buying and the back gives you a lot of logical reasons for buying.

It's no wonder that Superthrive has taken the fertilizer world by storm (even though they don't claim to be a fertilizer).

Could Your Packaging Sell Better?

Take a second look at how you package your products and services. Look at your...

  1. 1. Company vehicles
  2. 2. Uniforms
  3. 3. Website
  4. 4. Graphical depictions of your services
  5. 5. and especially your packaging if you sell hard products.

Ask yourself if your packaging is exciting and eye catching. Would it stop the eye if it was sitting on a shelf side-by-side with your competitor's products?

If not, do something about it.

About the Author:
David Frey is President of Marketing Best Practices Inc., a small business marketing consulting firm and the editor of the Marketing Best Practices Newsletter. 

 
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