Marketing Doesn’t Rescue Cr*p

I’ve been following a snack food company that simply refuses to accept that their product is a sensory hot mess. The product isn’t inedible like tempeh, but it’s messy and not tasty. Dry when it should be moist. You know what I mean. In the world of snacks, this is the kiss of death. Your consumers should be unable to stop eating your snack food if it’s going to scale. If they pause in restraint, it’s an issue. 

Frito-lay uses the science of sensory overwhelm in its eight brands. Each one is a bag emptier by design. 

There is no marketing consultant you can find that will solve what is a sensory problem.

Yet, I meet tons of folks who sign up to be their ‘marketing’ director.

In the case of this snack food company I’m cryptically referencing, they’ve burned through a bunch of folks. What amazes me is this: why do so many classically trained marketers think they can make anything grow?

Who are these people? 

Yes, it’s possible that anything could gain trial through an awareness-focused campaign, but this doesn’t guarantee repeat, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the growth is more than a single-digit above the baseline. 

But the same marketers for hire who seem willing to work for obviously inferior product lines are also the same kind who tend not to be concerned with marketing ROI (i.e., did the marketing campaign cost more than the long-term profit pool from the incremental sales?) Or with how much growth gets created.

Repeat purchase rates are notoriously bad in poorly designed snack foods. Still, if the solution keeps chasing new accounts to paper over the delistings, then founders can spend years avoiding the central issue. 

One primary reason founders in CPG fail is they avoid product issues stubbornly, AND the people they hire are also conspiring to keep this from for the sake of their income.

A strange form of parasitism, but many classically trained marketers got trained on brands that themselves are failing to grow faster than inflation. Think about that for a minute. 

OK, now scream!

Dr. James Richardson

[email protected]