Marketing new products is an absolutely daunting task, so you’ve got to know how to take baby steps before going big. Otherwise, you risk jeopardizing not only your new product, but even your company and your own personal reputation as an entrepreneur. Tracy Hazzard is joined by Chef Marie-Dominique Rail, an acclaimed chef and founder of MCHEF®. Drawing on her experience of launching a whole new product, Chef Marie-Dominique shows you all the highs and lows. Together, Tracy and Chef Marie-Dominique show you what can and shouldn’t be done when you’re trying to build from the ground up.
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Marketing New Products: Whetting The Consumers’ Appetite With Chef Marie-Dominique Rail
I am excited to be here. It’s the first Marketing Monday Mixer of 2020 and I am doing it solo. Juliet is at a conference. January and February have got already booked up for the two of us. There’s going to be occasional back and forth between the two of us, where you are only going to get one, but we’re going to bring you a great guest. Do you know what dawned on me, Chef Marie? Do we have your new last name? Are you keeping your last name? You got married.
I keep for my last name, but I would add his last name.
You’re going to have a long name because it’s Chef Marie-Dominique Rail-Furlani, but you’re known as MChef. We have talked about you a lot on this show. We’re excited to have you and be our first guest of the season.
Happy New Year, Tracy, and Juliet as well. I wish you a prosperous year with a lot of success but most importantly, inside out, peace and love for the continuation.
Now you see why we love her food because it comes from the inside out. I’m telling you. We’ve been sharing your recipes and your drinks. We might’ve been drinking some on the show occasionally. I’m not starting out with that because it’s been a hectic and crazy already season.
I haven’t shared with you a recipe of White Russian. It is crazy good. It’s with vanilla and pepper.
We’ll put that in the future here. White Russian sounds really good.
It is my latest discovery and I can’t wait to share that with you.
That sounds so wintery too, doesn’t it?
You got it.
Normally, the way we work on this show, Marie, is we go back and forth. We pipe in and talk about different things and usually, it’s around a subject. I thought we’ll talk about product marketing and consumer brand marketing because you are a consumer brand and you have consumer products. That’s not always that, it doesn’t always translate from the way that we market ourselves in our services. Product sales are different. Have you found that?
It’s another game, another strategy and it’s an hour wait in communicating, passing on the message of the new product, of the new evolution of what we wanted to bring out on the market. That is the most challenging way to build up the strategy in marketing.
I’ve probably done consumer products longer than I’ve done service-based businesses. For me, it feels like the basis for everything and there is a lot of similarity in that. You’ve got to understand your audience. I think it all starts with that and with consumer products. It’s a lot easier to find your user base because they either use it or they return it.
Did you find that in your experience that you have to nail it and analyze it before starting the product instead of doing tests and errors?As entrepreneurs, you are supported by the community around you. Click To Tweet
You don’t always know. I talk about that on this show a lot. We talk about the hypothesis brand. We have a hypothesis that this is going to be our audience. Maybe your hypothesis might be that you’re going to get new cooks. Those that want to cook, but didn’t have great role models in their family. Maybe it didn’t come down from their mom how to cook. That might be your model. Wouldn’t that be great if you could identify them and say, “How do I find them?” I can exactly search on Facebook and say, “People whose moms don’t cook.” I don’t know if that would be the case. Imagine if we could do that? We can’t rule out an audience. We can’t say, “I think that my hypothesis is going to be correct. I need to push it out there.”
Maybe it’s like people who watch Worst Cooks in America, the TV show. Because they like this show, I think that might be the right people because they didn’t have a model. That gives you an indicator. They bought this book. I remember getting my very first cookbook. It was the Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. I got it at age twelve or something. My grandmother gave me that. Somebody who bought or own that, you’re thinking like, “You can’t go wrong with Betty Crocker.” Whatever that is, there might be a model for that.
What did you do? Did you build up different types of personas? They’re different types of clientele and then you do the test?
With consumer products, it’s hard because you are pushing it out there. You put it out on Amazon or you put it out on your website and you have to figure out how to dial it in. I always still come back to a content approach that helps. In other words, when you put out your recipes, your blogs, or your podcasts. You’ve got a podcast going and when you’re doing that, you’re attracting a certain type of person. You’re attracting them via your energy, your vibrancy, the way you talk about food, and the types of foods you’re talking about. You’re attracting them from those things, but you’re also attracting them in a way that you can start to have a conversation with them. Hopefully, they’re going to sign in and get your email address. If you can’t interact, if you can’t get them to join your Facebook page or do something, you can’t have the conversation to find out you were right. Did they have no role models or chefs in their family?
You nailed it. It is through interaction because what I found with them, it shifts the beauty of it. People were contacting me directly to ask a question about the project or how to use it, but wanted to get that extra satisfaction to speak to the owner or the chef. It depends on the title that they wanted to speak to, but you are right. It’s to create a personal relationship with the consumer.
That’s always hard when you’re starting out. It’s a lot easier when you’re established already and you’re about to bring out a new product. That’s where I think we bite off more than we can chew. Let’s use more food analogies. We go in and we get an entire giant line of products and sometimes we do it with our services too. We all have a course and a book and we have all this stuff going on. While we want that, eventually, if we dialed in our marketing with one thing first, it might be faster and easier.
It takes time. Be extremely patient. Entrepreneurs have got to know that you are supported. We are a big community and we have to stand up and help each other. The entrepreneur community, if we have that, it’s an extra because it takes time to have success.
We get impatient and we throw things out too quickly because we barely tried it and then we’re like, “That didn’t work.” We move on to the next thing instead of refining and doing things. I can’t imagine that’s how recipes work. I’ve been cooking for a long time, but you’re an expert at it. You refine and you remake it until you get it right, until you get the right mix of ingredients. Marketing is like that too. It gets refined over time.
It’s well said. We revisit always the same thing, “We’re going to add the little touch of this, a little sparkle of that. Let’s spice it up this time.” It’s tough.
I want to check in with you. You’ve got a new book. What’s it called?
It’s Chef Marie’s Lifestyle Food Guide. It has 100 recipes, a French cuisine but totally gluten-free, allergy-friendly and also with vegan alternatives. The main goal a bit is to bring a burst of flavors to everyone who wants to enjoy new flavors but at the same time, in a healthy way.
You may not have caught the show, but we’ve made a few of your recipes over time. I went to make your chewy, gooey chocolate chip cookies with my girls and they sounded great. I was thinking, “How wonderful. They sound so healthy even though they’re cookies.” My girls took one look at the recipe, they’re 5 and 10 years old and they said, “Where is the sugar, mom?” I went, “We’re not going to make them 100% like the recipes.” We did use the gluten-free flour and other stuff like that but we didn’t go all the way. I had to because these girls are going to reject everything. I was like, “That would be bad.” We take the time to make it and then they won’t eat it. We have to compromise sometimes when we’re doing things.
What did you do? Did you use Swerve or any other type of sugar?
I did end up using actual sugar. I swapped out that. That was it but it still came out soft. I was still surprised because I was worried they would get crunchier and they wouldn’t taste as good. I went light on the sugar, a small quantity.
One thing at a time.
I kept everything else the same and they didn’t notice. That was a good part. I moved a few ingredients on them at a time. The big mistake was cooking with them. If I had made it and given it to them, they would have eaten it, but I like to cook with my daughters because that’s great and traditional. It was like mom-girl time or sugar.
I tried to get drastic alternatives for the people who have food allergies and intolerances. It’s these varying flavors, but at the same time compromise them on these bad sweets. That is still good.
Have you gone out and marketed the book? Have you found the right audience yet?
Not yet because I am a small company. I hired some consultant, but it’s not the best way. I think that I have to dig into my way of working with maybe a part-time or somebody who’s going to be part of MChef. You will spend hours in the development of the business. Working with consultants, sometimes it’s good, sometimes you try and it doesn’t get along. We have to focus on the right strategy and within the time, I will nail the audience. I just need to find it.
What’s been your marketing strategy? Are you doing a Facebook strategy? Are you doing an Amazon strategy? What are you starting with for your book?
I was very short with my finance to be able to print this book and I went with Amazon. It allowed me to present a Kindle version and a hard copy version of the book. It is affordable for a small company like me. I did it and went on Canva.com to build up the PDF of the book. That’s how I could do it. I said, “Now that I’m on Kindle, what do I do?” Amazon proposed advertising so I went there. We put a few hundred dollars per month to be able to advertise on their platform, then use this to showcase the book on the website, linked to Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Pinterest is important.
It’s important, especially with food.
I think that you have been the one who talked to me about Pinterest when I met you the first time. Thank you for that.
There’s a good friend, a brand marketing person and her name is Karen Leland. She’s amazing. She’s a top-level. She does a lot of these big brands. I remember she did this presentation early on the first time I met her. It’s what caught my eye and it’s what I’ve always kept in the back of my mind is how valuable Pinterest can be. What she said was she had done this product, I don’t even remember what the product was. It was some women’s product, but it had gotten on the Today’s Show. She had helped get them to get on the Today Show, which was a big deal.
It was one of those featured products. Within a couple of weeks, it also went and trended on Pinterest. Somebody had re-pinned it and they sold more products because of the Pinterest pin than they did from the Today Show. I always think about that and say, “That costs them nothing, no time, no energy. It didn’t cost them a PR firm.” Pinterest was an inexpensive way for them to do that. With food products, with consumer products, Pinterest is an amazing place that overlooks. They even have viable pins and other things. They’ve made it even more streamlined now.
Always link to your website and your recipes with content always. There’s a commitment to put on social media every day.
I can imagine, Instagram is doing well for you too. That seems to do very well with your target audience. It should be going up.Early on in the life of a product, you have to build a relationship with your potential consumers. Click To Tweet
I have a lot of Indian partners too because I am in the spice business and most of the spices that I take, the traceability is coming from India. I have lots of big communities of Indian people on my Instagram. We didn’t talk about YouTube. What is it for you, with your business and consumer business?
What you’re doing is you’re demoing while you’re talking. You can’t get a better how-to than YouTube. I think that’s a great place for you. This is where you start to think about, “Where does someone want to learn that demographic that we were talking about?” Who is that target and if they want to learn? That’s the point where they’re going to find you. They want to learn, what they can do now that they’re on this diet or they’ve got these ingredients or this diagnosis, what are they going to do with it? “I’m going to start googling. I’m going to start YouTube-ing. I’m going to start asking my friends on Instagram. I’m going to start looking at pins for recipes. I’m going to start thinking about ingredients and about these things.” That’s the way that the brain process works. That is no different. It doesn’t matter whether you’re how-to or learning something. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a service business or a product business, that process is still the same.
How somebody goes about looking for something? How they start thinking about finding information? That’s still the same every which way, but we don’t think in the big brand and that’s where we make a mistake. Your MChef is a fantastic brand. I want it to be there because it needs credibility. It needs the beauty. Your packages are gorgeous. All of that is beautiful and your website, I love it. Go to her website, it’s MChef.com. It’s a burst of color. It has an animation on the front and it’s a lot of fun. It shows off your personality and it’s an eye-catching website. That in and of itself, all that’s important there. At the end of the day, if they’re not coming back to your website, they’re not finding you, then what’s the point? We’ve got to start where they are. Where are we going to find them? That is an important part of the product. Are you finding good Amazon sales of your spices and stuff or are you finding more people are buying straight over your website because you sent them there from your social media?
We have to do both. At this point, we do an Amazon advertising for the project itself, but you also have to create advertisements on social media. Even though it’s going to create traffic, but not necessarily conversions. It’s still good because people are curious and they’re going to see it and like what they see. They may buy or refer to a friend that may buy because it’s a niche product.
It’s harder because you’ve got one ingredient to the whole thing. It is true. What you’ve got going is a lot harder, but it’s also taste-based. This is another problem with the food. Food products, in general, are tough.
We have to run the knock at the door of people and we can’t give money or incentives. We have to try to have an honest way of getting a testimonial back. This is tough and this is a challenge for me to deal with.
In a way, that’s why it’s critical what you’re doing with your content creation, with your podcasts. Let’s talk about that. It’s called Burst of Flavors. I am proud of your podcast. What I love with what’s going on is you’re doing all the contents that you’re able to hit all of those social media. You’re able to hit YouTube and Instagram. You’re able to deliver all this content to all those places and have something to talk about each week. Every time you produce a new show and it gives you recipes and other things that you talk about, ingredients to talk about, you can talk about your spices, you can make them taste it and feel it. You’re building a relationship with them. Especially early on in product, if you’re not building a relationship, then they aren’t going to give you a chance. They don’t know, “Should I trust her? She might have different tastes than me. She doesn’t sound like she comes from Midwest America. Will I like it?”
There’s that doubt that goes off in people’s minds when they’re buying a consumer product. Granted, your spices are not expensive. Some people’s products are expensive and that makes it harder for them to try. You at least have a low cost buy where it doesn’t feel like it’s anything under $10. I was like, “It’s worth a try.” Most people will cave and do that. What they won’t necessarily do and that’s why I think it’s smart having it on Amazon and on your website as well. Sometimes I don’t want to enter in my credit card to a brand new website that I don’t know. I don’t trust this person yet, but I have a relationship with Amazon and mine is from 1998. I’ve been buying products from Amazon since 1998. When you look at how long I’ve been, I’m like,” I have a better relationship with Amazon than I do with most people.”
For me to buy something quickly for $10 or less there, it is much easier, simple and streamlined. Having that option, but having the credibility though, “She’s a big enough brand to be on Amazon.” Those two things go hand in hand. I think that’s where you’re helping yourself too. It’s tough when people can’t taste it so that the relationship of, “I get excited by you,” I’m more likely to really want to taste that. You’ve got me all salivating over White Russian. That sounds so good. If you can do that with a small conversation, that is going to make the difference in building your brand. It still takes time, though.
I have to say it’s been several years that I am on this mission. That’s why the price is low because I want to give the chance to people to enjoy the flavors back. My number one rule is no more plain food. That’s about time, even though you are allergic or having tolerances, please enjoy good spices because it’s the star of all recipes and it takes time. I’m on the mission and the Burst of Flavors, that podcast, what I wanted to do with it that was so important is to be able to put in front of the audience a person that will talk and relate to everyday lifestyle balance. We started the podcast this way to open up to our audience. In 2020, the goal with MChef Burst of Flavors podcast is going to go slowly and talk only about nutrition and healthy habits. Let’s do it with everyone.
It’s the perfect time of year. There isn’t a better time of a year than January to start talking about healthy habits. Here’s a time where you want to hit the ground running with good podcasts with promos, with good social posts. You want to hit people at the time at which they’re thinking about this the most. We’re all thinking about, “This is 2020, I want to get healthy. I want to get a vision. I want to get clarity. I want to cleanse my body.” I’ve heard that one already multiple times on Facebook.
It is the time of the year. Weight Watchers are rising on the stock market.
I was shocked at some of the ads that you’re coming out in the health industry. There was Rob Lowe, who did a whole series of ads for Atkins. He was talking about how everything is free on their website. He specifically said, “All this stuff is free, all this information.” You don’t have to buy Atkins products. I think most people didn’t realize that. I guarantee you they were like, “Weight Watchers has their new customizable app.” Everybody’s out there working on it. If you look closely, each one of those things is a content-generating piece. It’s constantly pushing information.
Let’s do it too.
You should be doing it too. You’ve been selling your spices for how long?
It’s been five years now.
Where have you found the most traction with selling spices?
I didn’t start retail. I started in the food service since I was working in the restaurant business. It was easier to get access to chefs and because the product is so different and unique. It’s allergy-free, filler-free and low in sodium. The product is really clean. I wanted to nail the market and the food service first because we were not necessarily ready to promote to retail with the marketing and with the trends. We have to wait a little bit. We were a little bit in advance in our time in this. It can cause issues because we have to wait to get into the flow and surf on the wave. It took us a little bit of time. This is the first year where I realized that dream of putting this product MChef on the retail market. It’s brand new. I have a little bit of difficulty to tell you who my clientele is yet. The only thing that I know is that families are buying it. Is it the mama or the papa who’s cooking? If the children are at home, are they cooking too? I don’t know yet. I’m still investigating the market.
I can tell you, here’s the one thing that I know from doing consumer products. Women control or buy all products at mass-market at consumer products. It’s 86% or more of retail is bought or controlled by women. Whether they’re buying because their kids need to be gluten-free or they had the celiac diagnosis, whatever it might be. It’s starting with the mom, the grandmother. It starts with the women in the family and it’s still that way. It’s crazy statistics, but there is very little of the market that has been eroded by the internet. It hasn’t changed since the internet came on and has changed our buying habits. It’s still the case. I joke about this, but it’s really not a joke. It’s actually serious scientific. Women are better at scoping out and searching for things. We are genetically encoded to be able to do that. Our brains work that way. Our eyes work that way. We filter an environment better than men do. It sounds sexist.
We are not really surprised.
As women, we go, “Of course, we’re better at that.” It has to do with a part of that. We’re always thinking we have that multilevel thing going on. We’re always searching for things. It will happen to me and be like, “I’ll sit down and I’ll place all my holiday orders the week before Thanksgiving or something. I’ll start to place all my orders on Amazon. I’ll do that.” My husband is like, “How do you know what to buy for everybody? Did you just think all of these up?” I go, “I’ve probably been thinking about it for nine months. I know in my head what I’m going to buy because I’ve been thinking about, ‘What does your mom want? What do our kids want?’ I have all of that and all I’m doing now is executing.”
We have a pattern. People have a pattern of shopping like that. We did studies of how women’s eyes searched through an entire retail store, how they look at the shelves, how they do all of these things. It’s fascinating how different it is from men to women. I’ve got some books that I have always relied on that I think are great books. I will pull their titles and I will also drop them on the Facebook page. For those of you who are following this or something like that, we have a Facebook page and group called Marketing Monday Mixer. Definitely join that.
It hasn’t changed since we’ve gone online, we still search and sort out the same way. We’ve been conditioned to learn to type in things like keywords and search in a different way from an analytical perspective. The way we view a page and the way we view things hasn’t changed at all. That, I think is interesting. At the end of the day, consumer products should be marketed to women first. You might as well not look at it like it’s a niche market. You might as well say, “I’m going for the moms in the family or the women in the family because you’re more likely to be right at that point.” While it might be a fun edge to get single dads, you might as well go for the bigger market initially out of the gate. If you find out that in your audience, single dads are buying it, then you go, “How did they find me? What do I do better to get those single dads going so they can look like the chef heroes in their family because they should be too?
The chef usually in the kitchen is the woman.
That’s funny though because I think about that and you worked in the food service industry. Many chefs out there are men like famous chefs. How did it happen that they’re the random ones that were cooking in their families or got the training?
This is another business, but there are more women in the kitchen. Back in 2000, I saw more women in the pastry divisions because I was in the kitchen. I was stuck and I was wanting to get to other higher positions. It took me ten years to become an Executive Chef. For men, it was 6 to 7 years, and we had to run a little bit more. Now, I see more women in the kitchen because I get to continue to sell to chefs and I am proud to see that we are there. We are in the big kitchen in five-star restaurants. Thank you, girls, who continue to work so hard because this is such a tough business.
You’re in a tough business selling products and selling something that has tastes. Something that has so many issues with different ingredients, different flavors and different tastes. This is a hard thing that you’re doing. This is not an easy thing to market. You’ve taken on a challenge, but you’ve taken it on with such energy and such excitement. That’s what I love. I want everyone to check out Burst of Flavors. Check out MChef.com. It’s so good and this comes across in your marketing. That’s what you have to do is find them on media, find a type of thing where that can come across because when you put a package together, it’s not going to come across. No matter how beautiful your boxes. No matter how beautiful your packages, it’s static. It doesn’t have the energy that you had. Make sure that you work all those modes of marketing together.
I get what you say. What I want to bring in MChef is the product inside that is extremely delicious. I have to bring it from inside this passion and joy so people can reflect on what they eat at the end of the day.Even though we are visionaries and want to succeed, we first have to start. Click To Tweet
It’s also education. You’re educating people. I didn’t know that before I met you that there were lots of fillers in spices. I was like, “No wonder. What should I buy? I’ve got to think about this.” It didn’t dawn on me, but that sounds about right. Compared to every other food product and every other beauty product, they’re all fillers. Beauty products are the worst and it doesn’t fill the gap. It is not filling in the lines, whatever it is. It’s not doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s not that type of filler. We look at that as you have an education and when you have to educate people, you’ve got to have a longer conversation. Do you go to Costco, Marie?
I love their meat department too. I love cold cuts.
When you go to Costco, there’s a reason that those people are doing demos because it works.
Do you eat?
I don’t personally but I do watch them. I’m a specific eater. I don’t like to eat between meals and stuff like that. That’s my thing. You should also eat before you go to the grocery store. I learned that from my mother early on, so I’m always like, “I’m not hungry because I’m full.” Eat something before you walk in there. I like to watch them. Don’t you like to watch them? That’s a point where something that they say in that fast amount of time that they’re talking and they talk fast. They are going to say something that is going to resonate with you. That’s the goal because whatever they’re selling has a difficult learning curve or a definite educational curve to understand why you should buy a Ninja Mixer versus whatever blender you already have. They are not just demoing it. That is the important part is that they’re saying stuff while you’re walking by that resonates with you. It’s a way of capturing attention.
The reason it works so well is because they know the Costco client-base because they’re narrow and specific. This is why I’ve been more successful in selling products into the consumer market because I don’t have to reinvent where they are. I know it’s going to be a Costco client who’s going to buy my chair or buy whatever I designed for them in Costco. They know who their members are. They know details about them. They know they shop together as a couple and they make decisions. They know a lot about how people shop through their stores. Costco is one of the very few places where you get couples shopping. It’s a perfect place for you. Thinking about that, like men’s razors, they sell a ton of men’s razors that they have through Costco as opposed to other outlets. That’s the one place where a guy will stop and then, whoever’s with him, his wife or his girlfriend, and they’ll have a chat about it. They’ll talk about it and then he’ll buy it. He won’t buy it without her say.
The woman has a say.
They have a lot of control. There’s a big difference in that. Costco is very different than other places because it’s not an in and out place. You go there, it’s an event. You’re going to be there for a couple of hours, you will spend a couple of hundred dollars. There’s a joke about New York City. A single in New York is a $20 bill. You will walk out and if you want to spend a dollar, it’s $20 in New York. I always joke that your minimum entry price for walking into Costco is $200. That’s your average. When you know that though, it makes it easier to be right about your audience because you know a lot about them. They’re slightly more affluent. They paid for a membership. They come in frequently. They shop at least once every 4 to 6 weeks. They buy in bulk. They come together. They fill an entire cart. They spend $200. There’s a whole bunch of pieces of information so that you can design a product that fits that model. You can bring products together that they’ll be more attracted to and you don’t have to educate them as much.
When we’ve met and we were talking about working together on a project, that’s why you came to talk to me about the gift package for a small company like me who have small projects. We can assemble and build up display and present that to Costco, one product itself. That’s what you are bringing here.
Our marketing products, you’ve got to market products as a group because anything under $10 is a great easy buy. If I want to try something, taste something, get a sense of how good your quality ingredients are and get a sense of you. I want to have the ability to test something. That’s why tester sizes do well in beauty products to test something and having a small price point for that. When you come to the end of the day, it’s either going to be something, “I want to group things together, and I want to give them as a gift and it’s usually $50 or below.” You want to be all in at $50 with tax. Right below that, you can get in at $50. I don’t spend more than $50 to give a nice gift. This isn’t like cheap cheesy gifts. That’s where I want to spend. That’s my sweet spot of gift-giving.
That’s for most products and most people, it’d be right around there. If I’m going to take it seriously, I need to buy because we had a change in diet. Everything happened in our family. I’m going to go through and buy a bunch of things. I’m going to go and buy them from the person I trust and the brand I trust the most. I’m going to start there. That takes a lot of time over time to build up that level where I’m going to be like, “I know I have an issue. I’m going straight to MChef.” I know where to go. That’s a little different level. You’ve got to come through that. We have to rely on Amazon, Costco, on those kinds of people to brand position us, as the people to go to as the brand that’s positioned there. That’s why we rely on those bigger boxes to get in there, but you have to walk before you run. You’ve got to be distributing.
You’ve got to build credibility first with specialty stores, small stores and then when we are in a better financial situation, we can now market. It takes time. You need brand recognition.
For anyone to think it is like Walmart, a Walmart sale of your product happens overnight. That’s ridiculous. First off, it will tank you. I’ve seen it happen. That is not the way to go. You want to take your baby steps, you want to walk before you run. You want to do all of that.
All these big chains, they want to work with small brands who are rising but at the same time, what do you think about that? They are taking so much margin.
If you don’t have 70% margins available. That means 70% for them to take an ad to it. lt’s 30% at the end of the day that you’ll make from it. If you don’t have that ability and flexibility in your costs, that is not the way to start. It’s definitely not the way to go. The other problem with starting with a big mass market is that it will crush you if you have a mistake. Let’s say you had a bad ingredient. If something went wrong, you will never get in again. You will be crushed out. It would never happen. No one will ever buy your product. You are done in business. You can’t make a mistake. My daughter’s sick, I was trying to open a packaging and it had safety seals and all kinds of stuff on some medicine here. It all happened because there was the Tylenol scare in the ‘80s or ‘90s. There was this big scare of contaminated Tylenol.
A brand like Tylenol can survive because they went through that either everywhere. They have a big brand. It was an isolated error. It was an isolated incident. It was also sabotaged, I believe. Something happened to them that was outside of their control. All of that and you look at that, they can survive that. You cannot, as a small brand. You will be out of business. I’d look at it as anyone who’s under $100 million in mass-market sales will be crushed. I’ve seen it happen. I know companies I’ve worked with. If you are under $100 million, in sales in the mass market and you have more than 30% of your sales at any one given store. If 50% of your sales were at Walmart, you’re in trouble because overnight, a buyer can change and they can decide, “I don’t like that product and you’re gone.”
It’s to lower expectations also as an entrepreneur, even though we are visionaries and we want to succeed. We have to start small.
You have to take your steps. You do because you’ve got to build up infrastructure. You’ve got to build up the systems. You’ve got to build up the product, brand acceptance in the marketplace. All of those reviews and ratings and all that stuff comes over time. The true organic ones, there are all these gimmicks and stuff, but they do not last. They get removed. They don’t help you. It’s not going to change anything. At the end of the day, it’s no different than the old style. We had to go from store to store and build relationships with each of the merchants. We’re building up relationships maybe with publications or those that control a Facebook group that is dealing with gluten-free. The relationship you need to start building in your marketing is building relationships with those that have the influence.
I will do that. I want to say something about the challenge of rising as a small business is watching out over the logistics in the supply chain. I went through a lot with this and the past several years and I needed to choose the partners with whom I was going to work for co-packing, storage and carrier. It’s a mine of gold if the team is set for success.
Often entrepreneurs are like, “We’ll figure out the stuff after we start selling.” With certain products, especially food and anything with chemicals in it, beauty products, you do need to figure those things out first.
I thank you, Tracy, for all the information. It’s going to take me some days to digest.
That’s why we have the video and the Facebook group. You could watch it again.
Thank you for the advice of gold that you are giving us and Juliet as well.
She’s got her own thing she’s working on, which is good because she’s got to keep her business going. She’s out there and marketing at an event, which is great. I’m going to pick quickly at the schedule because I’m forgetting who is next. Juliet is going to do that on her own because I am out of town and I’ve got to remember who our Marketing Monday Mixer is for the next show. I forgot Scott Carson is coming on. He is talking about mass media marketing.
We’ve been talking about mass-market products. He’s going to talk about mass media marketing on the next show. He’ll be back here talking with Juliet. We’ve got lots of exciting things. Jim Beach is going to come and talk to us about radio marketing. Juliet and I are going to finally get together because we missed talking about serving versus selling. We’re going to talk about that because we had a whole Facebook fiasco at some point in November. We’re going to do it at the end of January. We’ll finally be back together, Juliet and I, to talk about that.
We have to learn about this. I have a big question mark on this.
As you have pointed out so often, entrepreneurs need to start grouping together and start talking about this. There are some people out there telling you that you need to serve. You’re giving away everything for free and you’re never getting to the point of selling. We’ve got to find that balance between doing both because it’s okay to sell. We earn the right to sell.
We have to make a living. It’s bread and butter at the end of the day.
We have to earn the right, but once you’ve earned that right by giving away content, by doing some of the things that you’re doing, by being honest, authentic and everything. That’s what we’ll be talking about on the next show. We’ll look forward to touching base with you and we’ll get that White Russian recipe in. I can’t wait to try it so thank you for that.
It is like a dessert with a few chocolates on the side.
Chef Marie, MChef, thank you so much for being here. I am so glad we could do a Marketing Monday Mixer with you. We appreciate all you’ve done to help us. You gave us great recipes and stuff that we’ve been doing this. We’ll continue that up and bring more of your recipes forward.
Thank you for what you are bringing to all of us. We’re learning so much from you. You are beautiful inside out. I’m making a special mention. Thank you to Julianne, Eric and Christopher, because of them, I’ve met you. I’m so happy that you are part of my life, as a guide and a mentor. Thanks.
Thank you so much. Everyone, we’ll be back on our next episode.
- Chef Marie-Dominique Rail-Furlani
- Betty Crocker’s Cookbook
- Chef Marie’s Lifestyle Food Guide
- Burst of Flavors
- Marketing Monday Mixer – Facebook page
About Marie-Dominique Rail-Furlani
Chef Marie is a passionate entrepreneur, business owner since 2003, author, guest show, speaker and masterclass tutor for private events and team-building workshops.
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