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Creating and Communicating Unique Value in Supplement Products

Category: Educational Articles

With access to endless product options online and in-store, supplement marketers must utilize every advantage possible to gain the edge over their competition. To accomplish this goal, there are two factors that impact competition in today’s health industry market.

The first is based on price, with the lowest priced product beating competitors and receiving the bulk of sales. Whereas the second is based on value, with products of higher perceived value win regardless of differences in price. Holding to this theory, dietary supplement providers who don’t want to play the ever-diminishing price game must differentiate their products to increase the perceived value by target customers.

Obviously, marketing and consumer education is important in helping customers understand the unique value of any given product. However, competing in the supplement space doesn’t just have to be about packaging design, well-made videos, color choices and wordsmithing. After all, marketing works best when it has unique value to work with.

So how can a supplement provider create and communicate unique value in their products?

Here is a list of some of tactics that can help:

1. Know your target audience and develop products specific to their needs.

When a product tries to be all things to all people, it sometimes ends up being nothing to no one.  Every target audience has its own unique needs, and it pays to know — and fulfill — those desires.

In the supplement industry, you may consider specific functional benefits, efficacy, safety, certain ingredients, delivery formats, certifications, or taste.  Consumers are more likely to see value in a product they perceive as developed specifically for their situation versus one that is designed for much broader groups (i.e., adults vs. prenatal vitamins).

It may not be possible, however, to meet every customer requirement. Hence, formulators should realize the priorities of its target audience and focus on those functional benefits first.

2. Use ingredients that are known to be efficacious.

Ensuring your product will directly impact and fulfill the customer’s desire should be top of mind. While each person reacts to products differently, there is always some risk that consumers may not benefit from a product as advertised. That risk can be mitigated, however, by formulating products with ingredients that have proven efficacy via multiple high-quality clinical trials.

We get it, clinically studied ingredients likely come with a higher price tag. However, formulators shouldn’t fall into the trap of claiming the clinically proven benefits from studied ingredients for generic ingredients. Small ingredient differences can largely impact product characteristics and efficacy. Relatively recent scientific research, for example, is showing that closely related probiotic strains from the same species can have different stability and health benefit profiles.

The bottom line is: Using the ingredient and dose used in the clinical trial increases the likelihood that the consumer will receive those benefits and ensures support from the clinical trial.

3. Make your product convenient.

Consumers do not want products that require too much from them — too much effort to find or buy, too much change to their daily routines or too much upkeep to ensure its stability. Consumers expect supplements to fit easily into their busy lives and providers who keep that in mind can make their products stand out.

Delivery format makes a difference. For instance, looking at the tells us that consumers like formats that feel like a snack versus medicine. Consumers may also perceive products as more convenient if they only require a once-a-day dose; can be stored at room temperature; and are found on ecommerce channels and in popular stores like Target.

4. Make your product clean, natural and responsible.

Part of your goal should be to appeal to an audience that is invested in maintaining their health in the most natural, sustainable ways possible. Taking additional measures to ensure that every level of the product is environmentally friendly and clean will instill an automatic trust from a potential buyer. For instance, many consumers are moving to plastic-free packaging, such as laundry detergent sheets instead of jugs, glass cleaning containers that are refilled with tablets and water and even tablet toothpaste.

Clearly, there is a demand for and interest in sustainable packaging and a heightened concern for ingredients that are natural, non-GMO and plant based. However, without the proper marketing, consumers will remain unaware of your efforts and efforts put forth to enhance your product for the ultimate benefit of their health. Therefore, it’s important to spend the time and resources necessary to develop eye-catching, well-marketed advertisements and product packaging. 

5. Ensure that the experience is positive.

Some ingredients, while efficacious, can cause digestive discomfort or other undesirable side effects initially.  Consumers have some level of tolerance for these side effects but see more value in supplement solutions that avoid them. Similarly, many consumers understand that benefits from some supplements require prolonged use but, at the same time, crave fast acting. If possible, it’s helpful to formulate with ingredients that have a positive and fast-acting experiential effect along with ingredients that require more prolonged use.

At Deerland, we strive to ensure our customer’s success by adding value through science and technology, product innovation, customization, quality manufacturing and education. We work as a team with our customers, and we either win or lose together, and we look forward to providing more best practices so your supplement marketing is of equal value to your product. Contact us today to discuss starting your next partnership journey.


An educational enzyme and probiotic resource

Digestible is your go-to resource for learning about enzymes, probiotics and their impact on digestive health. Keep up with the latest trends in dietary supplements, learn why gut health is critical to overall wellness and immunity, and the science behind it all.

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