Business Development For the Private Labeled Bottled Water Industry
The private labeled bottled water industry is exciting with
tremendous growth opportunities and the ability for suppliers to
offer their customers and strategic partners creative, effective
But like any business, care is required to develop the business
in a profitable way and the best way to do this is to establish a
focused business development effort that utilizes the tools and
techniques established by successful business.
The first step is to define the concept "business development".
Business development "includes a number of techniques designed to
grow an economic enterprise. Such techniques include, but are not
limited to, assessments of marketing opportunities and target
markets, intelligence gathering on customers and competitors,
generating leads for possible sales, follow up sales activity,
formal proposal writing and business model design.
Business development involves evaluating a business and then
realizing its full potential, using such tools as marketing,
sales, information management and customer service. For a sound
company able to withstand competitors, business development never
stops but is an ongoing process." (source: Wikipedia)
From this definition it is clear that business development is
more than closing the sale and each technique requires detailed
planning and follow up.
Using the concepts of business development, our company developed
a robust, profitable private label water business but it took
considerable initial and continuing effort.
Unique Value Proposition:
Our first challenge was the development of a Unique Value
Proposition that answered the question "Why should I buy from
After a review of the market and the competition it was
determined that private labeled bottled water was a powerful,
cost effective, advertising vehicle but because a customer's
brand was affected, high product quality and customer service was
required. Our Unique Value Proposition was established and
"Element H2O will provide powerful and cost effective advertising
and brand promotion for its customers based upon the highest
quality consumable private label water, label design and customer
Marketing and Target Markets:
Field and internet research was conducted with the basic question
being: What are the characteristics of industries are most likely
to use our product at a price that is profitable to us. Key
characteristics were developed:
* Prospects that provide a quality product or service.
* Industries operating in a competitive market environment where
product/service differentiation was critical.
* Prospects that required drinking water for customers, clients
* Prospects that maintained a quality brand image.
Initial research indicated that the following industries were
initially high potential targets:
* Hospitality (Hotels and Spas)
* Mortgage Brokers
* Real Estate
* Ski Resorts
Sales Channels and Market Access:
It was decided that two channels would be used to go to market –
direct selling and e-commerce. An e-commerce site was developed
that allowed customers to design their own label for the bottles
or provide an existing design consistent with the customer brand
strategy. Search Engine Marketing and Optimization techniques
were used to promote this channel.
A direct sales staff was formed to develop and close sales
opportunities and these efforts were supported by a direct mail
campaign and networking with local chambers of commerce, local
trade associations and lead sharing groups.
The sales effort, after a series of initial false starts and
disappointments matured successfully as we reviewed and revised
the fine points of our effort.
Product Quality and Customer Service:
Our corporate strategy for all products is to stay at the high
end of the market and this was particularly true for private
label bottled water where the market is characterized by
cutthroat competition and many low quality vendors who are
slashing prices and selling on price rather than quality.
We focused on three areas of quality:
* Water purity – we used a steam distillation/ozonation process
that guaranteed 99.9% pure water that tasted delicious.
* Label Design Quality – We used an in house professional
designer to guarantee label design quality.
* Label Print Quality – We used laminated label stock that was
extremely durable and water proof and used digital or flexo
printing technology to guarantee quality.
Customer service was particularly important as we established a
reputation for delivering on time and correctly. If mistakes
occurred, and they did, we adopted a no questions asked
guarantee. We established a reputation as a reliable vendor for
The business became a successful mainstay of our business but
only because we developed a planned, business development process
that we reviewed constantly and made changes that the market
Jon M. Stout is Chairman of the Board of Element H2O.
For more information about bottled water
(www.elementh2o.com/Store/), private label
bottled water and (www.elementh2o.com/local/)
bottled water delivery go to www.elementh2o.com