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Direct Marketing of Nutraceuticals
Dr. R. B. Smarta
Nutraceutical market is growing extensively in recent times. Some of the reasons for this market growth are
higher incomes, imperative use of health products technology, product development, science driven
formulations and heritage, increased consciousness about health, increasing competition etc.
Taking the rising competition into consideration, it is essential that the companies portray their products by
highlighting their best features in the best possible ways to consumers. Thus, the focus shifts to marketing.
The paramount for maximizing the profit through sales of nutraceuticals is marketing them correctly and to
appropriate target consumers. Companies need to develop and implement marketing strategies that best
suit their product. After implementation of the strategies, it needs to be continuously monitored and
analysed, making necessary changes that will ultimately support and strengthen their foothold within the
The first step in developing a successful marketing plan is to understand the market. Every marketing
decision made will directly affect the sales and your bottom line hinges on having a strong knowledge of
your specific target audience and current industry climate. The nutraceutical market is rapidly changing due
to constant advances in technology, clinical studies, changing regulations, and new ingredients. A focused
strategy will help to overcome the market volatility found within the supplement industry, as well as create
value for the customers.
Direct Marketing
The marketing strategy that has greatly evolved during the recent years is direct marketing. Direct
marketing is a channel which allows businesses to communicate directly to the customers, with various
advertising techniques. Direct marketing can be practiced by businesses of all sizes. The focus on
consumers, communication, data and accountability is emphasized in direct marketing. Therefore, besides
the actual communication, pre and post-campaign analytics and measurement of results, are the integral
part of any good Direct Marketing campaign.
Direct marketing is a low cost way of reaching to consumers with a message. Direct marketing can be one of
the most effective ways of getting leads and selling good prospects. It is also used to sell products without
direct human intervention. It is not only useful for marketing but also for retention of old customers &
maintaining a good relation with them.
Direct Marketing techniques for Nutraceuticals and nutritionals
Some of the direct marketing approaches for nutraceutical products are:
Retail OTC selling
Over the Counter marketing activities focus on consumers with minimum doctor’s involvement. It leads
to the availability of drugs at a cheaper rate with increased information of the products. OTC selling
encourages consumers to use these products as a first line of defence, thereby reducing the cost of
health management. Because of their easy availability and safety profile, these products are advertised
and marketed freely so that maximum consumers are educated and so as to treat minor ailments at
home using OTC products and nutraceuticals as first line of defence.
Specialized outlets
The Indian company Himalaya uses the specialized stores as one of its marketing strategy for its
supplements and other products. A company may have its own specialized retail outlet or there are
also stores specialized for nutraceuticals or supplements. Consumers perceive these specialized stores
positively and they tend to buy food and health supplements more from a specialized store than the
medical or other stores.
Direct to consumer selling and MLM (Multi-level marketing)
Direct to consumer selling and MLM are considered of being synonymous to direct selling.
Some companies like Amway and Herbalife combine two strategies of marketing like Direct-selling and
multi-level marketing. Independent Business Owners’ (IBOs) may market products directly to potential
customers and may also recruit (sponsor) and train other people to become IBOs. IBOs may earn
income both from the retail mark-up on any products they sell personally, plus a performance bonus
based on the sales volume they and their down-line (IBOs they have sponsored) have
generated. People may also register as IBOs to buy products at discounted prices. Amway provides
training to the IBOs on products and business skills through the sale of ‘business support materials’; for
example, DVDs, CDs, books, websites, seminars, and business conventions.
Digital marketing
Digital marketing extensively uses electronic media to engage consumers. It includes both Internet as well
as Non-Internet channels. While email marketing is the most widely used and also the most popular
methods of marketing because of inexpensiveness and ease of testing and tracking, the direct selling on
internet has also become one of the hottest sales channels in the nutrition and supplements market. E-retail
is another tool gaining popularity in today’s times. E-retail allows consumers to shop online over the
Internet. The varied options available under the aegis of e-retail make it the most viable option for
marketing by reaching out to huge number of consumers of all segments and categories. Online tools like
display ads and social media are also becoming increasingly popular providing several opportunities for
marketers to specifically target consumers. Mobile marketing is another means of marketing involving use
of cellphone, smartphone and tablet. Mobile applications are another way of directly reaching out to
consumers with smartphones.
Another way of reaching out to consumers is telemarketing and voicemail marketing which involves
contacting the consumers via the phone & business voicemail systems. The primary goal for telemarketing is
increasing lead generation for business whereas voicemail marketing is popular for business-to-business as
well as business-to-consumer applications. Marketing via television involves infomercials and commercials.
Marketing via television also includes home shop networks giving a consumer the ease of shopping via the
television. Direct response radio includes airing of ads on the radios with a ‘call-now’ prompt on a toll free
number. Another way of marketing prompting a measurable response from the consumer is marketing via
print media i.e magazines, newspapers, etc. through advertisements, redeemable coupons or a QR code.
Why choose direct marketing?
Direct marketing does not require substantial capital investments or additional business development. It fits
into the shifting consumer trends. Among the various marketing strategies employed direct marketing is
one of the cheapest ways to market one’s services and products. Direct marketing is easy to track and
specifically focuses on target consumers. Also, the positive results of digital marketing can be measured
directly. This metric is known as the 'response rate,' and it is one of many clearly quantifiable success
metrics employed by direct marketers. Measurement of results is a fundamental element in successful
direct marketing. The Internet has made it easier for marketing managers to measure the results of a
campaign. This is often achieved by using a specific website landing page directly relating to the
promotional material. A call to action will ask the customer to visit the landing page, and the effectiveness
of the campaign can be measured by taking the number of promotional messages distributed and dividing it
into the number of responses (people visiting the unique website page). Another way to measure the
results is to compare the projected sales or generated leads for a given term with the actual sales or leads
after a direct advertising campaign.
The Shift in Nutra Marketing
With the evolution of technology, changing perception of consumers, for the nutraceutical companies,
adapting to these changing times has become quite mandatory. These aspects are already leading to drastic
changes in the marketing world. The way to engage customers has changed in the recent years. The
evolution of digital technology is so vast that it is incomparable to any other means. Thus there is a need to
adapt to these new marketing strategies.
Digital Marketing for Nutraceuticals
Digital marketing is evolving as a powerful tool for marketing nutraceuticals and nutritionals as it enables
the marketer to target and track many aspects of marketing. Digital marketing has picked up a lot of pace in
the last few years. The trend in marketing has shifted from Traditional Marketing Tactics towards Digital
Channels. The digital marketing modes such as Email Marketing, Social Media, Mobile Apps, e-Marketing,
Website, Virtual Rep, and Closed Platforms are considered as field force independent modes.
It has been observed that the online supplement sales have increased in the recent times and are expected
to accelerate further. The reported that 44% of consumers purchased nutraceuticals
online in 2010. This indicates that customers are exploring non-traditional channels to obtain information
and purchase goods. The marketing channels used now-a-days clearly denote that the marketing tactics are
in favour of Digital marketing, websites, digital sales promotion and social media rather than printed sales
Way forward
Looking at these aspects, we can say that in marketing the focus of nutraceutical industry should be on
incorporating new and upcoming technologies such as e-marketing in order to develop business through
marketing. To exploit this trend, companies must incorporate digital marketing as a means to promote the
available products and establish a link with the tech savvy consumers.
Published in NuFFooDS Spectrum Magazine
 Digital Marketing Boosts Nutraceutical Market, By Brianne Vaskovardzic
 HBR, The New Basics of Marketing