A small Canadian-based CPG company I know has built a nice brand with their products, but have limited U.S. distribution.  They have a number of key things going on that has them at a proverbial cross-roads, making it difficult for them to determine how to grow and which road to take.

  1. Sales from their main line of products are strong and steady, but they cannot seem to interest new retail buyers.
  2. They introduced a second product line where the initial production run sold out in less than a month, but this is potentially a different product category from their main line, which means new buyers and new category sales dynamics; it’s almost as if they would be starting over to gain distribution.
  3. They sell high quality products with excellent ingredients, but their SRP is higher, putting pressure on sales, especially in mainline grocery channels.
  4. They do well selling online and want to grow this channel.

What do they do?  Should they focus on their main product line by repositioning and rebranding it so that retail buyers will take interest?  Should they focus on their second new product line, which might be a potential hit, even though it would be an entirely different category? Should they drive down their cost to get more competitive on pricing, which means a greater operational focus on production?  Should they pour resources into really expanding online sales?  They are a small company, which means they have limited resources in which to do things.

The answer really depends on providing a lot more information about them, which I won’t do here and I don’t think is necessary. That’s because I think the real answer will come down to one thing:


The above 4 items that the company is struggling with suggests different customers in which they are trying to appeal.  Who is their customer?  Small companies can’t be everything to everyone; they don’t have the resources.  So, they have to figure out who is their customer, or which customer segment they want to ultimately serve and build their company and products towards serving that customer better than anyone else in their category.

When you get close to your customer, you can better understand how to meet their needs, solve their problems, give them joy or create WOW for them.  This gets you closer to winning and keeping those customers.