One of the things we get asked for is help for foreign suppliers to find U.S. importers. More often than not the supplier doesn’t have an accurate understanding of the U.S. Drinks market and the radically different situation that exists here vs. many other countries. We may be one of the biggest markets in the world, but we’re one of the most complicated to navigate.
It’s not as simple as the supplier asking “here’s my bottle, how many containers will you take?”, but rather you need to answer the importer’s questions of “What’s in it for me and what kind of support will you provide?”
Here’s a list of some of the more common things a U.S. importer expects a prospective supplier to bring to the table.
1. Product for tasting in a package ready for submission to TTB
2. Background literature in English
3. Proposed price structure for the U.S. market three tier system
4. Brand performance history (sales and marketing support) in key reference markets like the UK and Western Europe.
5. Marketing Support plans including:
-Marketing strategy and objectives
-Budget in sufficient detail (e.g. media budget for consumer and trade, POS, PR, Online, Price support, supplier support i.e. US representative of brand ambassadors for intro year and following years based on anticipated volume
-Brand positioning: creative in the form of a piece of trade and consumer sales literature; and description of product key point of difference, value proposition for the consumer and identified competitive set of brands or catgory
-Market research results validating the brand’s potential in the U.S. market
-Anticipated introductory and expansion markets and rationale for why they were chosen.
The more you are able to anticipate and answer the importer’s needs and questions, the more likely you’ll be able to find someone who’s interested in taking on the brand.