Keep the important stuff in-house

‘The ban came after we displayed a tiny piece of unimportant but inaccurate information on our product page – we’d been using outsourced marketers. You’d struggle to find somebody who’s an expert marketer but also has a deep understanding of the differences between medicinal and supplement health language – you really need to be an expert in the field. When the production of the content is at arm’s length, you’re exposed to all kinds of problems. We still need to work with ad agencies but, in terms of product page copy, we handle all our content in-house now and keep control of all communications. We’re still willing to receive advice, but we have to be super tight with that stuff.’

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

‘When Amazon banned our listing, I couldn’t get anyone to hear me out or help rectify the situation. Other than our website, it’s our main marketplace – it’s where 25% of our sales come from. It was super frustrating because we put a lot of resources and energy towards building our account, and it had been growing so well. There are brands that are pure-play Amazon brands and I’d be very nervous about that situation. If you are a marketplace brand, then you really want to be on several marketplaces or something else, so that even if they don’t give you as good a return, you have some kind of backup.’

Prioritise expertise and advocates

‘Right since the beginning, we’ve worked with a world-leading neuroscientist as our product development consultant. He’s now our in-house science advisor and will be leading the messages around how we can really provide long-term changes. Now we can actually show we’re an authority and this is why. Over the years we’ve had great journalists, great people in the nutritional science and neuroscience world and customers on our side. That naturally built to a helpful pool of people who could speak on our behalf when we had to build our case. It’s a power and numbers game when someone is trying to damage your business. Building our community has definitely become more of a focus.’ 

Tidy your house

‘When something really bad goes wrong, it’s probably not going to be as bad as it looks in the long term. You have to take a step back and basically not freak out – something like an Amazon ban does happen to a lot of brands. To be able to do that, you need knowledge of all the things that are going on. Tidy your house. Have all of the things you need at hand, ready to go. It might seem like a bit of a waste of time, but when it came to needing it, having all the documents and certificates from our suppliers – all the things we needed to prove ourselves – made things a lot easier. Those major marketplaces will ask for these.’

‘It’s a power and numbers game when someone is trying to damage your business. Building our community has definitely become more of a focus.’
Add value elsewhere to beat copycats

‘We’ve worked on our sleep score survey for more than a year, and it’s been a really helpful tool in terms of acquisition. I think consumers understand that if they’re going to give us data, they’d better be getting something back for it. Now we’re really going to put the emphasis on turning that survey into a sleep tool with educational content that isn’t product led. When we position ourselves that way, we automatically establish a healthy relationship with our customers. That means when we introduce the product, the relationship is completely different to if they just log onto Amazon, find our product but then find a cheaper copycat.’

This article was first published in Courier issue 41, June/July 2021. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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