The PGS Blog

The Two Marketings Explained

You’re forgiven if you get confused by how business folks use the word ‘marketing.’ It seems to stretch far in scope of meaning.  Most of the time, it gets used in the little ‘m’ sense: marketing as a set of communication activities serving a larger business

Key Components of a CPG Strategic Plan

You may have heard the phrase “strategic plan” before. I talk about it a lot. Because it’s the front half of any good business plan, but it is the most poorly thought-out part of most business plans among CPG startups. The ones I’ve looked at seem

What Founders Need to Learn, If They Didn’t Go to B-School

Here’s a clip of my podcast interview with Prof. Tom Eisenmann of Harvard Business School’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, author of Why Startups Fail. Aired in June on Startup Confidential – the interview is available on all major podcast platforms. Believe it or not, founders with prior business operating experience

Three Ways to Optimize Sampling – Your Secret Weapon

The goal of sampling is not just a trial. It’s about extending household reach strategically so you can efficiently create fans in tight geographies that are easy to service. In the world of premium CPG, this is done most efficiently (i.e., at low absolute costs)

Good Strategic Plans Are Short – Real Short

I launched my current business in 2017 with a series of LinkedIn videos, including why you need a strategic plan. Keeping you and your team accountable is the most important reason to write a straightforward plan consisting of three things: your revenue targets for 2-3 years maxyour 1-line competitive

Risks of Raising Too Much Money Too Early

Up until the pandemic, I saw lots of strange over-investment in emerging concepts in CPG. ZX ventures invested $1.5M in a brand new Switchel brand as they began building investments in a non-alcoholic portfolio. $1.5M for a brand that has sold less than $500,000 is

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

Why a Sales Strategy is NOT a Growth Strategy

The vast majority of CPG startups operate as B2B businesses. They don’t interact with their consumers. They aren’t curious about how they receive and use their products. As long as case volumes grow, they’re happy. As long as their wholesale price can float operations and

Why Walking Away is the Founder’s Most Critical Leverage

The experience of approaching co-mans for your CPG business is when most founders realize the meaning of ‘zero leverage’ business conversations. Ouch. Co-mans are notorious for ‘using’ startups to plug small holes in their production capacity without caring about the end product quality. You are

Why John Mackey Was the Most Over-Rated CEO in Retail History

The keyword here is: over-rated. What I’m about to say stems from internal and external sources gathered over the years but primarily emerges from my interpretation of Whole Foods’ fundamental role in modern food culture and modern retail. As many of you know already, I’m not a