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Marketing Vitamins and Supplements: Why thinking of yourself as a B2B company is a mistake

Natural health manufacturers and distributors have heavily been focusing on both brick and mortar and online pharmacies and retailers in their marketing strategies, and understandably so.

Indeed, pharmacies and retailers are often their direct and most significant customers.

Last year, as much as 58% of all vitamins, supplements and probiotics sales in Sweden have been made through pharmacies and specialized retailers. (Svensk Egenvård, 2018).

Another factor explaining this focus is the level of knowledge these customers have on the products they buy and redistribute, which justifies great marketing efforts and the time spent on fostering B2B relationships.

However, this business is by nature B2B2C, as the ones who end up using their products are the customers of the different pharmacies and specialized shops.

For these end users, purchasing decisions are based on quality and efficiency. And as those customers have a varying degree of health products literacy, the educated guess is that those two winning characteristics are mostly communicated by the brands.

The problem is that when marketing efforts are focused on the retailers, brand touchpoints often limit themselves to packaging.

When end users must choose from dozens of different health supplements proposing extracts from the same plant, and when retailers are responsible of putting forward the advantages of all those products in the same shop/website, how can suppliers effectively communicate their brand message to end users?

A multi-facetted, true B2B2C strategy using digital marketing is necessary. Some companies have been successfully leveraging social media through lifestyle-promoting accounts where they can interact with their end users, as well as partnerships with influencers. But digitalization of marketing within natural health companies remains scarce and varying in results.

As the vitamins and supplement market size increases and reaches younger, well-informed generations, and as the competition becomes fiercer and fiercer, it appears imperative to shift focus from B2B to B2B2C beyond packaging, and to use technology to make one’s brand message heard and foster end customer loyalty. 

As a natural health company, how are YOU making your voice heard? Do not hesitate to share your experience below!

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