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Is Premium CPG Growth Mostly Downmarket?

In 2020, I predicted in a public webinar that premium CPG growth would snap back to its pre-pandemic annual growth rate trend by 2021.  What am I talking about? I’m talking about the change in the Year-over-Year growth rate. This may sound super academic to a

Your Fans Will Get You Through Any Recession

Loyalty, defined as exclusive brand usage, may be a mirage in most categories (and in many premium segments within them). But this does not mean you can not retain fans for 2-3 years before the next modern thing catches their eye.  Retention is different from loyalty

Creating Enough Retail Opportunities So You Can Choose

I once got confronted by a Phase 2 founder with a great (but perhaps not wildly memorable) product that was chasing a not that interesting outcome in his category. Word-of-mouth was weak because a ‘great-tasting’ X isn’t culturally interesting in some categories. “James, I take any

Key Barriers to Premium Trial at Retail

I know “barriers” is a downer word, but it’s not just a marketing concept. It’s one of the more sobering realities entrepreneurs must face as they pursue growth. Deny barriers to trying your brand at your peril. Some premium innovations have few obstacles to uptake

Affirmative Action for End Caps

Later this week, my June 1 episode of Startup Confidential drops. Episode 71 is a doozy where I take on the need for affirmative action for end caps. One of the final corrupt frontiers of white privilege in retail is the paid display. This is

On Influencer Selling

On Influencer Selling

What is ‘influencer marketing anyways’? And is it dying of inauthenticity and rampant fraud? Is ‘marketing’ even the right descriptor here?  It’s well known that many ‘influencer’ campaigns fail to do anything other than build awareness in small lifestyle tribes. Not worthless by any means, but

Memorability: Does Your Brand Have It?

Memorability. It's the most critical growth pillar for premium CPG brands. Why? Because you don't have the cash, credibility, or sales network with which to leap to 80% ACV in mere months. So, how do you enhance it? Design a superbly positioned innovation at the head of

Why Your Sales Plan 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

Beware the Ego-Stroking Angel Fool

There are more wealthy angel investors than ever. This is a result of the US Dollar’s role in global finance. Most of these newly rich angels add no value beyond money. Suppose you are doing well and are an excellent networker of advice and talent.