Packaging Logo April 23, 2014 Forward
Package Development
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Six simple ways to reduce the marketing disconnect...
main image Ron Romanik, Contributing Editor
Brand, sales, and marketing managers for packaged goods products have a tough job. Charged with identifying market opportunities and fending off competitive threats from rival brands and private-label products, they can tend to go overboard asking their packaging engineering departments for packaging that pops. Packaging engineers sometimes immediately know when an overly ambitious package is not going to fly in the way the creative team initially envisioned it, either from a cost or timeline standpoint or a packaging line compatibility standpoint.

The trouble is, marketing departments don't easily take "no" for an answer, which can create problems in package development, because most marketers lack a packaging background. In such cases, packaging engineers have no choice but to dutifully create the mockups, do the costing, show the impact on the financials, and let the marketing people reach the conclusion on feasibility (or lack thereof) on their own.

To mitigate the disconnect between marketing and packaging, engineering, and production, follow these simple guidelines.

1. Insist on functional package descriptions. When communicating consumer and brand requirements to the packaging team, brand and marketing managers should provide functional package descriptions as well as design-oriented descriptions. In addition to defining the desired brand image by saying things like, "We need a package that's soft and flowing," or "Make it masculine and angular," objective design criteria need to be articulated as well. Using only subjective terms can make an unstable basis for engineering a package, and can lead to additional design revisions—and additional development time—until the final objective is achieved.

2. Send marketing personnel on plant tours. Some companies schedule regular trips to the plant so that marketing people can see firsthand the realities of production on the company's packaging lines. This way marketing people may be less inclined to propose an unreasonable idea in the first place.

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