The PGS Blog

You’re Doing Your Topline Analysis All Wrong

For the world of early-stage consumer brands selling in retail, I fervently hope that 2021 will be the decade of scanner-led growth. I don’t want anyone to enslave themselves to data, but fast-growing companies need to get smarter earlier about growth. And part of this is

Why Startups Fail – False Starts

Some of you may have already caught June's 1st episode of Startup Confidential. For the rest of you, here's an excerpt from my recent interview with Prof. Tom Eisenmenn, author of Why Startups Fail. ME: “ One of the sources of False Starts you talk

Sales Strategy is NOT a Business 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

Building a Brand is a Social Process, not a Financial One

Yeah, this bro greeting may not return in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but social excitement sure will in many forms. And the surefire way to accelerate same-store velocities or online sales is to insert your new brand into high-intensity social events as a

Why You Need a Strategic Review, Not a Re-Brand

When early-stage businesses struggle in the premium end of consumer-packaged goods, a shocking number of founders and operators leap to the conclusion that they need a “brand refresh” or a “re-brand.” Look, branding agencies are numerous, and they network heavily at Expo West. They sponsor

How NOT to Make Use of a Paid Advisor

I’ve discussed before how to filter advice on your business. Today I’d like to hone in on a pet peeve related to paying for expert advice.  Let me start with an analogy. In corporate America, when a senior executive wants an external consultant to coach one of

Mind the Gap Between Aspiration and Behavior

If you don't know the behavior driving your brand velocity, you can't optimize marketing, promotions, channel strategy, or much of your 4P playbook.  As I write in Ramping Your Brand, most of your revenue as a CPG brand, especially as an early-stage one, comes from a

Target Takes on Drizly

Target has had an incredible year. The pandemic ended up becoming a huge accelerant for a retailer already doing pretty well in 2019. This week, though, it decided to take on a curious foe: Drizly.  You may have forgotten all about the new up-front alcohol sections

Your Thing Can Work, But Maybe Not the Way You Started

Kara Goldin loves to recount her tale of being laughed at and mocked by ex-Pepsi executives when she discussed selling non-carbonated flavored water. "That'll never work. No one will ever make it for you. Not scalable." These were the knee-jerk operational objections she heard from a mansplaining

Negotiating With Buyers Like a Pro

You probably think the photo here must surely be an exaggerated analogy. But this is only because your physical life is not really at stake when a retailer takes advantage of you. It’s just a business, after all. Yet, I continue to work with clients