Formulation and marketing strategies


In the following article, advice and recurring errors in conception and development of products and their distribution on the market will be exposed. 

Products range too large

One of the existing problems in many production realities is the presence of an enormous range of products, often designed to satisfy any customer request. Over time, excessive customization creates a list of products that is difficult to manage in all areas: catalogues, labelling, technical and safety documentation, price lists, confusion between departments, historical memory difficulties, too intermittent and varied productions and the relative increase in costs (production time, washing, waste creation, etc.), increase of counter-samples and checks to ensure quality. The only way to limit product customization is to create the most flexible and adaptable formulations.

Product names

In synergy with confusing product ranges, complicated and ill-thought-out names are often added. Inserting long numeric codes after the name, perhaps interspersed with letters or dashes, is never good marketing for the product, which will be unattractive and difficult to memorize or even pronounce, especially for the customer who will have to order the product. A further mistake made by companies is to use the year of development of the formulation for the product names (psychologically it could give the customer the impression of using old products), standard codes used by some raw materials or semi-finished products (they could suggest percentages and basic composition of the product) or even leave the names or endings of the resold products unchanged (giving the customer an easy opportunity to contact competitors directly).

Poor economic return

If a product is no longer profitable, it is wrong to continue to persist in selling it with minimal economic return, trying to balance the profit by focusing on large volumes. A recurring example in surface treatment are the products for the preliminary and coarse treatment of large ferrous products, where very diluted solutions of acids and a few additives of little economic value are used. This problem is also observed in water treatment, in which large volumes of bentonite dispersions are produced using expensive mixers (in terms of consumption) and sold at a barely acceptable price, without considering the costs of the packaging which also heavily affect them. To get back on costs, manufacturers try to further reduce the already low percentages of active substance in the formulation, thus offering increasingly poor quality products. It is possible to deal with this problem through a complete review of the formulas, if necessary it will also be necessary to change the raw materials assigned to the main functioning of the product. If it is not possible to substantially modify the formula, it will be necessary to intervene by adding an new technology or a different aesthetic impact that can influence the customer in accepting the increase in costs.

Products too diluted

Manufacturing too diluted products, the so-called "ready to use", does not always appear profitable. It is possible to use these formulations only in household and retail products, such as the classic trigger dispensers, but at an industrial level there is a low yield. A diluted product can contain even less than 5% of active substance, resulting in excessive handling of water which negatively affects the price of the volumes to be transported, as well as the use of bulky packaging and a consequent need for large warehouses. It is essential to change the approach, both for producers and for customers, by formulating concentrated products (single-component) that the customer can easily dilute without heavy plant modifications. In this way the producer will be able to supply products with a much higher cost/kg which will in any case also be advantageous for the customer.

Non-hazardous raw materials

The attitude of using dangerous raw materials to manufacture cheap products has unfortunately been increasingly important compared to the search for less polluting and sustainable products. Only in recent years are the first steps towards valid alternatives beginning to be taken. It must be said that, apart from a few exceptions, there were already less dangerous solutions than the "old" chemistry (the toxic xylene, for example, could be replaced in some cases by ketones or acetates) but the modification of historical and collaudated formulations has always been a risk and a laziness that companies hardly accept unless forced to due to force majeure. Following the new and restrictive regulations, including the urgent ecological transaction, there has been an increase in the supply of more innovative raw materials or of natural or partially natural origin, this has also allowed a reduction in the costs of the latter, which until a few years ago they weren't economically competitive. The use of dangerous chemicals, in addition to primarily having a negative impact on the health of operators, has the boomerang effect of a higher cost of disposal (waste,

industrial rinses and packaging) and an increase in corporate risk classification with related costs to contain and regulate their storage and use.

Ad hoc formulas

In order to face the market, it is necessary to have a captivating brand with high-performance and stable products over time. The formulations must have a structure, an appearance and a technology that differentiates them from the competitors. Mediocre products (tend to get out of phase, sediment, turn yellow, smell bad, generate gas, with poor safety classification and poor "intellectual" content) will have less and less chance of selling, however cheaper they may be. A well thought out formula will have to contain the minimum of useful ingredients, each of which will have its specific purpose and its perfect balance. In order to protect the formulation from copies by competitors, it will be possible to add different raw materials of the same chemical species to confuse the countertyping analyzes (for example, in an oily base product it may be useful to mix several types of oils). A further aid to the "industrial secret" is to exploit non-dangerous raw materials: since there is no obligation to include them in the safety data sheet, there will be no indications of composition useful to the competition.