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Source Volume From Outside Your Category to Win

It's a law of marketing seldom discussed, but first popularized by Byron Sharp many years ago. What's the gist? Well, the evidence shows that consumers with a robust set of brands they're content within a category are much harder to distract with a new brand

The Problem with Growing Too Slowly

Although I caution against chasing unicorns, this is not meant to validate any brand's growth rate in the single digits YoY. This slow growth rate may be in line with the premium CPG sector overall, and it may be much faster than commodity brands in most

Top Three Tips for Effective Consumer Marketing

You may have missed Friday’s PGS webinar. You can still register and watch it on demand. But you can also look at this very short list sans any detailed explanation! Consumer Marketing = Consumer Marketing is any branded communication aimed at real humans before they enter

How and How NOT to Use a Celebrity Investor

I think Leonard DiCaprio has invested in upwards of 10 consumer startups alone. Don’t quote me on that. However, his funding of Grizzly Man’s suicidal misadventures (Timothy Treadwell) should give you some pause for reflection.   What is the most influential role a celebrity can play in

The Quietly Amazing Case of Butcherbox

Growing 500-600% annually off a small base is the bleeding edge of exponential growth. And ButcherBox quietly did it. It pulled a Chobani as the meat industry incumbents slept.  Fresh meat, as insiders know, is primarily an unbranded space in grocery retail. Most Americans buy unpackaged

The Early-Stage Leadership Curve is Steep

Most fast-growing CPG founders get replaced by the time the brand exits. This is mainly because the amount raised involves so much founder equity dilution deliberately intended by the lead investment firm. They want to take control. Even when they ‘trust’ the founder/CEO, they still

Your Sales Strategy Is Not Enough To Win

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

Upskilling Challenge for Founders in the 2020s

Most of my clients are founders new to the CPG space, regardless of their dominant sales channel (DTC or brick). Most high-growth companies raise money from investors at some point to keep growing quickly.  And once you have a board that has a vote on what

Emotions are NOT a Strategic Outcome

When folks take my Riding the Ramp training each quarter, I ask them to do a live, rough draft of a competitive strategy statement using the theory in my book. Then, they send it to me for critique.  I regularly get folks who write down emotional

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