Start Here2019-01-04T12:05:16+00:00


Listed below are many of the challenges that brands routinely share with me. Let’s face it.  We all have our strengths.  But sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know. If you want success, you must be willing to not only admit this, but do the research and surround yourself with those who can actually help you achieve your goals. 

If any of these below sound familiar, you are not alone and you are in the right place! 


  • Are you struggling to get your products on retailer’s shelves, meet with retailers or get into the big retailers?
  • Do retailer category review schedules restrict or limit your innovation or new item launches?
  • Do retailers complain about out-of-stocks or excessive back-stock? 
  • Do retailers merchandise your products in the wrong place?
  • How do you prepare for a successful retailer buyer presentation?
  • What other products do your customers purchase when they buy your products and why does this matter?
  • Do you have a compelling sales story that stands out with retailers?  
  • What outstanding value are you bringing to retailers?
  • Do you wish you just knew what retailers really wanted?


  • Are you tired of feeling like an ATM?
  • Do you spend a significant amount of your time raising capital instead of growing your brand? 
  • What are your 5-year objectives — do you want to be bought out or are you not for sale?


  • Are you tired of being forced into promotions that waste money with no results? 
  • Are you plagued with deductions, slotting and excessive fees?
  • Do you question whether demos or trade shows are the best return on your investment? 


  • Do you know how to identify incremental opportunities and increase sustainable sales? 
  • Do you know whether online sales first before going into brick and mortar retail stores or launching your new product in both makes better sense for you?
  • Do you understand how to become a category leader and why this matters?
  • If a big retailer wanted your brand, can you scale to fulfill their need without jeopardizing existing orders?  
  • If you are using a broker, are you communicating your expectations, providing scorecards and scheduling on-going review sessions with them?
  • Do you want better results from your sales team, broker, distributor?
  • Do you want to save valuable time and money and avoid the pitfalls that other brands have made?
  • Do you want to know the strategies that the big brands use?


  • Do you know if you have the right distribution to grow and the right assortment that attracts shoppers?
  • Is your inventory forecasting accurate and efficient?
  • Do you know how to stand out on a crowded shelf?
  • Can shoppers easily find your products in their favorite store?


  • Is your pricing strategy weak, ineffective, or nonexistent?
  • Are your margins thin and unsustainable?
  • Do retailers, brokers, or distributors complain that your prices are too high?


  • Do you understand the value of using eco-friendly packaging?
  • Does the time required to get new packaging derail your sales?
  • When you need to implement changes, do wish there was a better and more timely packaging solution?


  • Do you know what specific data you should buy?
  • Do you know how to identify and work with the common data errors, inaccuracies and discrepancies?
  • Does the sales data confuse, intimidate or frustrate you?
  • Is your sales analyst, broker or category manager only pulling the standard top line canned reports?
  • Do your top line canned reports tell a compelling story and provide actual actionable insights that the retailers really want?
  • Do you understand the benefits and competitive advantage of customized reports and true category management?
  • Do you know how to leverage the sales data to really wow retailers? 


  • Is your brand community focused or mission-based and does your message extend beyond the four corners of your package?
  • Do shoppers understand the value of your brand over the competition?
  • How do you turn your customers into brand evangelists?
  • Do you have the right platform in place to ensure that your brand message is current and consistent throughout your sales force and across social media?

Daniel Lohman CPSA

Take heart. There is a better way.  Click here and print out these questions.  Review them with your team. 

Knowing the answers, investing in your brand and building a strong foundation will give you not only a better chance of success, but a significant competitive advantage.  

My mission is simple – to empower brands. I am a Certified Professional Strategic Advisor with decades of CPG category management experience.  I’ve been helping natural organic brands and retailers find solutions to these questions for many years and I can help you. 

Listed below is your roadmap to success. 

These FREE resources and strategies will help you solve your most pressing challenges.  Use them

After you have finished reviewing the information on this Start Here page, be sure to click on the Resources tab. Here is where you will find many valuable resources, free downloads, and tools to grow your brand.  

Sign up below so that you don’t miss out on actionable insights and strategic solutions to grow your brand and save valuable time and money.

Reach out to me with your specific questions at Dan@CMS4CPG.COM or to schedule your free 30-minute consultation. 

I look forward to supporting you in your success!  


“Listening to a half a dozen of your podcasts with the breadth of them being as many as they are, you can listen to half of those and get an MBA in entrepreneurship”, Scott Jensen, CEO of Rhythm Superfood and Stubbs Legendary BBQ Sauce – episode 78 


Top Episodes

SECRETS 004 The Why – Why this matters

On this episode, I drill down into the core focus of the BRAND SECRETS AND STRATEGIES podcast and spend some time answering that question more in-depth so you know what to expect. At the root of this is you and my sincere desire to serve by helping you compete more effectively. My mission is to level the playing field between entrepreneurial health-focused brands and their largest competitors. This episode is 12 minutes long.

SECRETS 068 Proven strategies to grow sales, stand out on a crowded shelf, and 2x your loyal shoppers

Proof that this stuff works!

This short podcast episode will inspire you. It’s a David and Goliath story.  These strategies helped a small regional brand outmaneuver and block the largest national category leader from dominating sales and promotions at a new superstore’s grand opening.

Sustainable sales growth requires a thoughtful strategy and commitment to be better than other brands. Like the tortoise and the hare, small strategic incremental steps can add up to a huge win. Today’s story illustrates a better way to grow your brand.

SECRETS 054 What retailers really want —  insider secrets to getting on shelf with Mathis Martines of Enlightened / Formerly Kroger

All brands wish for a crystal ball wanting to better understand retailers. Retailers want brands to take a leadership role in their categories and they want actionable insights they don’t have access to. Effective story telling is what sets brands apart.  

SECRETS 017 The #1 reason most brands fail and how to avoid this fatal mistake

An effective distribution strategy is the essential path to growing sustainable sales. If consumers can’t find your product, they can’t buy it. Getting your product into the hands of more shoppers begins with consumers finding it on retailers shelves.

SECRETS 036 The importance of a compelling selling story to get your brand on store shelves with guest John Foraker with Once Upon A Farm

A compelling selling story is the key to every brand’s success. It is the key to getting your products on retailer’s shelves. It must include rich actionable insights about how your loyal consumers shop the category as well as fact-based recommendations.

SECRETS 019 Promotional Effectiveness – the the rocket fuel to get your products into the hands of more shoppers!

Today’s topic is promotions, the benefits and the pitfalls to avoid. I’ll focus on the issues plaguing brands in the beginning and follow up with the strategies brands can use to maximize their promotional effectiveness which translates to more loyal raving brand evangelists buying your products.

Listen to other episodes below, on the podcast page, on  iTunes, Google Play, Sticher, iHeart Radio, Spotify

Press Play To Listen To The






Subscribe on iTunes TODAY by clicking on    to the right of the play button 

 Show notes available on blog

Search to choose your favorite episode!

The Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast is an audio natural products accelerator for food startups, entrepreneurs, emerging health-focused brands and retailers. It’s radically different and raising the bar in our industry. We rise by lifting others. I remain passionate about our industry, mission-based brands, making a healthier way of life more accessible and raising the bar.

In addition to sharing my 25 years of experience, more than 50 well known industry thought leaders, CEO’s and Founders of successful industry organizations and brands candidly share their insider secrets and advice with you. Learn actionable insights and strategic solutions to grow your brand, avoid the pitfalls and save valuable time and money. CLICK HERE NOW to go to my podcast page to view a partial list of my guests and links to the shows.



What you need to know to be successful.


Stay tuned! I will be announcing several fall courses that will specifically address exactly what a brand needs to know to succeed and grow in this industry.

Learn the insider secrets of how to get your product on the shelf and what retailers REALLY want

  Image license purchased through ©rabbit75_fot/


Popular articles that answer your most pressing questions

Effective merchandising strategies that grow sales and delight shoppers

Proper item placement is the key to every brand’s success. It can be the difference between success or failure. Consumers appreciate stores that are well merchandised and easy to shop. Today’s busy consumers want retailers with clean well-organized and easy to shop stores.

Simple Solutions To Maximize Broker/Distributor Effectiveness

Most brands have a love/hate relationship with their brokers and distributors. That’s because brokers and distributors support multiple brands at the same time.  This means that they have a limited amount of time to focus their attention on your brand.

Brokers and distributors provide a valuable service helping natural organic brands grow quickly and compete across different channels and with multiple retailers. Few brands have any real insight into their broker’s day-to-day activities. Savvy brands are engaged at every level of their sales funnel.

8 Strategies To Maximize Trade Marketing ROI

Trade marketing is typically the single largest line item on a company’s income sheet, but how do you know if your trade marketing is effective?

Most promotions are ineffective and fail to encourage new shopper trials – the primary goal of every promotion.  While rewarding loyal shoppers to make repeat purchases can prove beneficial, new shopper engagement is the key to growing brand sales.  More importantly, effective promotions help retailers compete more effectively by driving shopper traffic into their stores and away from their competition.  This is the greatest bargaining chip any brand can offer a retailer.  Savvy brands leverage their ability to drive retailer sales when they negotiate with retailers for premium shelf space, incremental merchandising opportunities, etc.

11 Key Strategies To Increase Your Market Basket Size And Grow Sales

The term “market basket “(or shopping basket) is perhaps one of the most important terms in retail. The market basket includes all of the items Shoppers purchase on each shopping trip. The reason this matters so much is that health conscious natural organic shoppers spend more than regular shoppers.  For example, a shopper purchasing organic bread is most likely also purchase a variety of other organic products including organic spread, organic produce, organic yogurt, etc.  This equates to sustainable category growth and more profit for the retailer.

Retailers and brands continually strive to understand consumer buying habits including the average list of items found in customer’s shopping baskets during each visit. This allows retailers to customize product assortment, in-store merchandising, marketing strategies, promotions, and pricing to better meet consumer needs.  This customization improves the shopper’s experience and increases shopper loyalty.

What Is Category Management and Why Is It Important

Category Management was born out of a need to reduce out-of-stocks, reduce excess inventories, improve product assortments/merchandising, maximize promotional effectiveness/trade management ROI, while building sustainable item and category sales.

Learn actionable business building insights for your brand from these educational articles

Search by category below and on the blog tab for many more articles

Merchandising Effectiveness

Optimize your selling potential with an effective distribution strategy that helps your brand standout on a crowded shelf. Ensure that your brand can easily be found and the category is easy to shop.

Merchandising Effectiveness
Price promotion

Price optimization is critical to your brand’s ability to compete effectively on a crowded shelf. Having the right balance in your pricing and promotion strategy will optimize every selling opportunity.

Price/Promotion Optimization
Distribution Expansion

Distribution is the key to sales growth BUT it’s important that you have the right distribution/mix (product assortment). You need to put your best foot forward at all times. Make it easy for shoppers to find your products.

Distribution Expansion
sales profit

You need to clearly understand each retailer’s expectations and the strategies they use to meet their shopper’s needs. Creative brands that think out-of-the-box have a significant competitive advantage and stand out on the shelf.

Sales/Profit Growth
Trade Marketing ROI

Trade marketing is typically the largest line item on a brand’s income statement. Brands frequently feel as though they are ATM machines for retailers, brokers, and distributors. Maximize your promotional spending with targeted strategies.

Trade Marketing ROI Increase
Shopper Loyalty

Loyal committed shoppers become your greatest brand ambassadors. Leveraging this important asset with retailers is the key to optimizing every selling opportunity. Learn how to attract new consumers and convert them into loyal shoppers.

Shopper/Loyalty Engagement
Resource Integrations

Data can be overwhelming and extremely confusing. Choosing the right external and internal data and then integrating is the key to your success. Canned reports are a great starting place but they will not help you achieve your goals.

Resource Integration
Category leadership

Retailers can’t possibly be experts in every category and item they sell. Savvy retailers value and appreciate brands that help them grow category sales, increase shopper foot traffic, and compete more effectively.

Category Leadership
sales story optimization

Standout from your competition by providing retailers with a compelling sales story. Differentiate your customer experience and educate retailers on why your brand drives sales and attracts the most loyal shoppers.

Sales Story Optimization
Sales Funnel Magnification

Getting your product on a retailer’s shelf is just the beginning. You need to effectively manage every aspect of your sales funnel to avoid any potential missteps and issues that cause your brand to be discontinued.

Sales Funnel Magnification
Product performance

Scorecarding insures maximum product performance at all times. Scorecarding aligns every aspect of the selling process in a unified laser focused effort to achieve maximum sales and profitability.

Product Performance
Brand engagement

Develop effective brand building strategies, key performance indicators (KPI’s), that maximize every selling opportunity and optimize your brand’s performance. A compelling assortment that is effectively merchandised is critical to your brand’s overall health.

Brand Engagement






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