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Promoting Pride: Marketing Made-in-the-USA products

Learn from the experts on how to specifically promote American-made products. You'll like what you hear.

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Note: This article appears in the July 2017 edition of A&E magazine. To ensure that you can access this and other industry-focused pieces, be sure to subscribe today!

It’s no secret that there has been a large shift in manufacturing trends in recent years. For a long time, the majority of products available to the U.S. customer were manufactured overseas; however, that has started to change. More and more products are being made in the USA these days, and more and more customers want these products.

With a large buying crowd specifically searching for made-in-the-USA products, awards retailers across the country have taken note, offering these products to their customers. But with this shift, marketing efforts have had to change as well. It’s not enough to simply say you carry a product; retailers should tout the fact that they carry American-made goods. But how? A&E spoke to a few experts on how to specifically promote these products, and you’ll like what you hear.

AMERICAN ADVANTAGES

Before we dive into the marketing aspect, let’s establish whether or not these items should be on your current product list. If you haven’t added these items to your offerings yet, there are quite a few reasons why you should consider it.

Brad Jaques, The JRS Company Inc., believes that these products are experiencing a growth in demand. “In our niche market, the support/demand has been prevalent,” he states. “The pride and value of made-in-the-USA products is something that we hear consistently.”

Vince Frank, Catania, agrees, adding that there are several reasons why this is the case. While some have to do with a change in consumer thinking, there are overall benefits to offering and buying American-made goods. He states that production times are often quite fast, sometimes as fast as two to three days. In a society where speed is the name of the game, this advantage is key.

The list of benefits only gets longer from there according to Molly Tabery, Kern Laser Systems. “You can be sure that products made in the USA are under the scrutiny of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,” she states. “Safer materials and products give (retailers) peace of mind that they are not exposing end-users to unsafe products and themselves to liability claims.” She also adds that there is a greater line of communication when it comes to working with those who manufacture their products in the U.S.

To take advantage of all these perks, awards retailers can put a few things into practice to determine whether or not products made stateside are a fit for their shop. Evaluating your current business model and doing a little research are two places to start. “I suggest retailers call a few suppliers and have a roundtable question-and-answer session on selling domestic-made products,” Frank advises.

It’s also wise to do a little independent research, according to Jaques. “Shops can simply look for the Made-in-the-USA stamp on a company’s website or catalog,” he points out. Once you’ve located those manufacturers and suppliers, you can do more digging into their specific business model and examine whether or not it’s a fit for your plans.

Keep in mind that there are a few instances when adding American-made products may not be the best decision for your business. Tabery notes that some may not have the financial means to efficiently offer these items, for example.

Frank agrees, saying that quite simply, costs can and do play a role. “Sometimes it does cost more to have products made in the USA,” he states. If this is something that causes you to hesitate, be sure to fully evaluate your business situation before making the plunge.

Ultimately, the shop owner must be the one to make the decision. “While it seems that many shops offer similar products, all have their own personality and therefore differences,” emphasizes Jaques. He recommends using a simple method of plus/minus columns listing all of the positive or negative effects made-in-America products will have on your business.

MADE FOR MARKETING

Aside from the very few drawbacks, adding these products is generally beneficial for the awards retailer. So why not go for it? If you’re not sure where to begin selling in the made-in-the-USA niche, our sources have a few ideas for you.

Keep things simple and traditional to start with. “Standard marketing blitzes and marketing campaigns apply,” says Frank. “The retailer should remind their customer database that the products are now available.” He also recommends that retailers look for new or niche markets to sell these items to. “Chances are several other niches may need (your) services.”

Tabery has a few more simple and easy ideas to add to this strategy. “You need to make sure that ‘made-in-the-USA’ is easily recognizable for your brand,” she emphasizes. “Making sure your website, social media, and all products have some sort of recognizable stamp to proclaim this-or even a specialized logo with an American flag-is a great way to make sure those that are looking at your product know that you (offer) made in the USA without having to ask.”

Jaques builds on that point, stating that you shouldn’t just stop at labeling your website and products. “Signage posted within (your) shop highlighting American-made products is one option,” he states. “Another option is to place a Made-in-the-USA sticker on (your) product packaging.”

Overall, it’s easy to let your customers know that you offer products made stateside. The added bonus is that the target customer base is huge. “In general, I would say that any person with a breath and a heartbeat is a target base for made-in-the-USA products,” Jaques muses.

More specifically, Frank adds a few niche customers to that categorization: those looking for custom-manufactured medals, lapel pins or bottle openers are all good candidates for these items. “Ordering those items overseas takes weeks,” he points out, calling attention to another marketing tactic you can take: point out to your customer that often these items are higher quality and carry faster delivery times.

Ultimately, it comes down to your buyer. “Many people like to see where their products are coming from,” believes Tabery. Knowing that the products they’re purchasing are American-made will often be the deciding sales factor for your customers. And that’s an easy marketing strategy to employ.

Note: This article appears in the July 2017 edition of A&E magazine. To ensure that you can access this and other industry-focused pieces, be sure to subscribe today!

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