To Pivot or Not to Pivot

Here’s a free preview of content from my upcoming Nov. 8 paid training: Pivoting is a sexy Silicon Valley term pushed by venture capitalists who don’t want their ‘kids’ to languish too long in failure before making relatively cheap pivots to new audiences, features, etc.  But pivoting


If Gooder Foods has developed an innovation with scale potential, it will have to grow the category known as “dried dinner mixes” in a way that no one, not even Annie’s, has ever managed to achieve. Taking on Kraft-Heinz (or Annie’s) directly would be difficult

You’re a Geek. Your Consumers Aren’t.

Most CPG innovators and founders are geeks of some sort. It doesn't matter if the geekiness was professional or amateurish or a committee of both. The point is that you isolated a problem, a gap in your category, and you filled it. Or

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

The Key Question to Ask Your Fans

Understanding why your fans love your brand is essential to creating a quality playbook for exponential growth. Understanding who they are is less important but critical to critical aspects of execution. Founders new to consumer-packaged goods often focus only on who loves them and assume they understand why they do.   In CPG strategy, who is like the soil in your garden. Don’t think of who is like a giant mosh pit of disconnected individuals.

Mental Endurance Is Paramount

Premium CPG founders face serious headwinds trying to scale. Most never do. The ones who do scale take 7-10 years on average, though we all get distracted by a tiny group that does it in 2-3 years. This is why I always recommend that founders

An Open Letter to Informa on How to Replace Expo East

My first ever trade show visit was to Expo East in the Fall of 2012. Incidentally, this was the show where Rhythm Superfoods debuted their line of kale chips (not easy to manufacture, BTW). Their aisle was un-navigable most of the show. At the time,

The Single Biggest Marketing Mistake Founders Make

Spending a lot of money to use expensive tactics that don’t work in Phase 1 because absolutely no one knows who you are…at all. It may infuriate you to know, but traditional, highly efficient, big gun marketing tactics like advertising actually won’t work without a) decent

F*CK Brand Marketing – Early-Stage Brands Need Product Storytelling

You know your brand’s Instagram feed? Yeah, that digital stream full of all the cool, square, breezy lifestyle posts and overly clever but ultimately vague copy? Yeah, that’s what they call brand marketing.  Brand marketing is a ‘branch’ of marketing invented by established, leading brands to

Brag About Your Email List, Not Your Door Count

The following is a preview of Episode 53 of Startup Confidential, the fastest-growing podcast for founders of consumer brands. Yes, the chest-beating about door count continues unabated in the trade media. Must be proof of traction, eh?  Um, no.  So, there are 38,000 primary grocery points of