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Max Return Modest Budget

“Good products work. Great products become part of our story.” -Bernadette Jiwa

Being the new kid on the block can be a real disadvantage. Especially when the block happens to be a $49 billion dollar industry full of long-established players, protocols and a slew of commodity products.

And if rising above the noise and getting your foot in the door isn’t challenging enough, it’s even tougher when you’re working with a modest marketing budget.

The secret to moving a product from unknown to preferred is to slow down before you speed up. Taking a little extra time to consider the context. Understand how your product fits into or changes the story? Makes life better for potential customers? Solves an existing problem in a new way?

“In our hurry to succeed we sometimes overlook the opportunity to engage first and sell later. Marketing works best when it’s anticipated, and the person on the other side of the interaction feels like they had a hand in the result. Business is a marathon, not a sprint.”
(Bernadette Jiwa)

Context sets the stage for developing a strong position and a connected strategy, designed to appeal to the people you want to serve.

And, you can transcend from good like everyone else to great and part of the story, even on a modest marketing budget.


What’s the Story?

Originally from Germany, he came to the U.S. on a mission. To be the contractor’s champion and forever change the way they connect pipes.

He’s described, in the waterworks industry, as a real game-changer and the alternative leader. And, since he arrived on the scene, he hasn’t stopped. If you haven’t crossed paths with him yet, you will.

There’s not another like him. None more flexible or strong. Adaptable to every situation and the one you want around in an emergency. Big, bold and tough under pressure. Not a person, but a new product with a big personality and a compelling story.

The vision of Chris Vansell at Gripper Gasket, MAXADAPTOR was brought to life and launched on a modest marketing budget of $175K. And, within six short months, MAX was literally flying off the shelves.


Secret to Success

The secret to Vansell’s success is in his relentless focus on the WHY and where MAX fit into the current story and industry fabric.

Sewer contractors already have a myriad of repair couplings to choose from. The trouble they continued running into was connecting different sized pipes made of different materials. No coupling existed that could handle all scenarios. Downtime on the job is bad enough and when you’re standing in sh*t it’s even worse.

Much like his grandfather, Ben Bryan Garrett (who patented the Band-Seal® Shielded Transition Specialty Coupling in 1971), Vansell recognized a need and set out to invent a solution no one saw coming.


Specialty vs. Commodity

Commodity sales concentrate on “order taking” behavior. Sales reps are interested in “me too products”. Common questions center on volume and price.

Specialty sales concentrate on building long-term value potential to both customer and manufacturer. Common questions concern projects and functionality.

Jumping into a sea of red, Vansell was certain that this product had to be accepted as a specialty, not a commodity. Therefore, for this product to take the industry by storm and reap the maximum return, it needed a big personality and a compelling story.


Building Long-term Value

Chris came to FELT with a prototype and an intention to change the current story and make a lasting impact on the industry. Certain that this product wouldn’t replace existing couplings, but serve as a convenient alternative and be essential for emergency repairs.

His intention—build long-term value for contractors and leave a lasting impression at every point in the customer journey. Give them something they didn’t even know they needed.

How this manufacturer went to market and created MAXimum return on a modest marketing budget.


Modest Budget – MAX Checklist









Tired of your products flying off the shelf? Feel like your modest budget is holding you back?

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