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Q&A: Online sales and marketing shouldn't be an afterthought for natural product brands

The industry's accelerated growth is requiring that distribution be increasingly nimble and able to adapt. Beekeeper Marketing President Lynn Graham explains how Amazon can be a useful tool.

Rachel Cernansky

August 9, 2016

3 Min Read
Q&A: Online sales and marketing shouldn't be an afterthought for natural product brands

Lynn Graham, president of Beekeeper Marketing, will bring her expertise on Amazon sales to a Wednesday panel discussion at Natural Products Business School at Expo East. During "The New Era of Retail: eCommerce,” Graham will talk about what it takes for natural products companies to be successful on We asked her to give a taste of what that looks like—and where companies tend to go wrong when it comes to marketing.

How does Beekeeper stand out from other marketing firms operating in the natural products space?

Lynn Graham: Beekeeper Marketing specializes in maximizing Amazon sales for great natural product brands. What sets us apart from other Amazon brokers is that we act as general managers and help our clients not only with sales and marketing but also with supply chain. Also, we are not only able to set strategy, but we get our hands dirty and are experts in how to effectively execute strategy as well.

What are some of the biggest or most common mistakes you see smaller, independent natural products companies make in terms of marketing and public relations?

LG: The biggest mistakes I see small and independent natural product companies make in terms of online marketing is that they treat online sales and marketing as an afterthought instead of planning for it from the beginning. Natural product companies that are just getting started rely on Amazon to be a stopgap for distribution, especially if they are investing in national PR. But sometimes their pack sizes don't make sense for ecommerce so they lose potential consumers, or create unnecessary risk in their online business.

How is the pace of growth in the natural products industry changing marketing needs and strategy?

LG: The acceleration in growth in the industry is requiring that distribution be more and more nimble and able to adapt. Part of the reason why Amazon and other ecommerce retailers are so successful is the fact that, with the right partner, you can go from launch to “shelf” in a matter of weeks vs. with “terrestrial” stores where you have to time new product launches with category resets, etc.

Is there a particular point in a company's trajectory at which you have noticed it to be most valuable for the brand to seek expert marketing services?

LG: When it comes to Amazon, because it is so specialized and different from other channels, and because it is so dynamic, it really pays to partner with an organization that specializes in the channel and lives and breathes it every day—not just from a strategy perspective, but from an execution perspective. The marketing vehicles that it makes sense to use of course depends on where a company is in terms of its growth cycle, but regardless of company size, Amazon is never a “set it and forget it” channel. It takes someone keeping on top of opportunities and changes to be successful.

Catch Lynn Graham at Natural Products Expo East.
What: Natural Products Business School, The New Era of Retail: eCommerce
When: 9:30-10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21
Where: Hilton Holiday Ballroom 6

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