Marketing Bottled Water For Success
Marketing Bottled Water For Success
Weak economies are causing consumers to tighten up on luxury spending. Families are reconsidering what is and is not essential regarding purchases that meet basic needs, but also provide some comfort at the level they are accustomed to living. Some items being considered, and reconsidered, are those that meet a basic requirement but also raise the standard of living. Food is necessary, but eating out nightly is not. Shelter is necessary, but a family of 3 living in a 4,000 square foot home is probably not. Water is necessary, but purchasing bottled water is not. As consumers consider their options for acquiring water, from the tap, bottled, delivered, filtered, and other options such as vitamin enriched and flavored, the future of the bottled water industry may be on treacherous ground. Considering the improvements made to reduce the negative impact bottles make on the environment, and the vitamin-enriched and flavored options, the bottled water industry will likely be productive for the next five years.
One of the biggest hurdles that bottled water companies need to overcome is the physical impact their bottles make on the environment. Even the most environmentally unaware consumer has reason to wonder how long the bottles sit in landfills. An abundance of commercials on behalf of the major competitors for bottled water, being city purified tap water, faucter filters and filter pitchers such as the Brita water filters, has informed most consumers that the bottles their water comes in stays in landfills for decades. In a world focused on a depleted ozone layer, global warming, and increasing natural disasters, environmental concerns take the forefront in many decisions.
Marketers for bottled water companies can easily target the availability of recycling of their bottles. Additionally, alternatives to the plastic bottle can be considered, including glass bottles, or bottles manufactured from recycled materials, in an effort to appease the environmentally conscious. In fact, it has been shown that water requires little industrial intervention before bottling, unlike sodas which involve a combination of various chemicals and resulting in by-product emissions. Therefore, when compared to other prepared and packaged beverages, bottled water has the lightest environment impact, second to tap water which involves no bottling function. (PR Newswire, 2010, 1)
In fact, sports drinks and sodas “produce nearly 50% more carbon dioxide emissions per serving than bottled water” and “juice, beer, and milk produce nearly three times as many carbon dioxide emissions per serving as bottled water.” (PR Newswire, 2010, 4) Marketing for bottled water over the next five years should not only focus on these findings, but also offer recycling options through water bottlers so they can take a proactive approach to utilizing recycled materials in their product. This will enhance bottled water as an environmentally sound option for those who enjoy the convenience of the packaging over hauling around a filtration system.
In organizational markets, bottled water faces other hurdles as restaurants make their own attempts to offer environmentally friendly options. Some restaurants are publicizing that they will no longer serve bottled water to reduce the waste their restaurant sends to landfills. (Levin, 2009). Of course that results in offering their guests tap water, and expecting them to pay for it, albeit at reduced prices from the bottled option. Some have chosen to spread the cost of filters over their other offerings so they do not charge specifically for the tap water. Others have added their own flavorings to give it more value. (Levin, 2009) In the end though, customers are still aware that they are drinking the same water in the restaurant that they get out of their faucet at home, but being charged for it. Bottled water marketers may struggle if this practice catches on and spreads, however it appears to be in trial stages for now. As the bottle water companies increase recycling options or use more biodegradable containers for their products, this small hurdle in organizational markets could easily be overcome.
Even in a struggling economy, consumers like their flavored drinks. In an increasingly athletic and health-conscious society, water is gaining an edge by offering the vitamin-enriched and flavored options. After a trip to the gym, consumers are opting for this healthier option over sports drinks that are filled with sugar and chemicals. (Scott, 2009, 10) Even for the consumer who opts for filtered tap water, even the most advanced filtration systems do not yet offer the benefits of added electrolytes and vitamins that are depleted during a vigorous workout. Bottled water has the advantage in this area and sales are growing for this segment of the market in particular. (Scott, 2009, 13) Marketers can capitalize on this advantage and continue to offer options and benefits that the filtration systems do not currently have, including adding fluoride supplements. By the time filtration systems come out with packets of powder mixtures to add the vitamins, the bottled water companies can maximize their advantage and strengthen their position in the industry for another five years.
The bottled water industry must overcome several obstacles to continue to grow in the current weakened economy. With continued success in reducing the bottle-waste in landfills by utilizing recycling options and creating containers from biodegradable materials, one of the largest obstacles can be overcome. The convenience and transportability of water bottles, particularly in crisis and global emergency situations when water is scarce or filtration simply will not do the job, (Gross, 2008) will continue to be a wealth of viable material for marketers to promote their products. Vitamin enhancements and flavored water offer alternatives to sports drinks and support healthy lifestyles. These factors are also great promotions for the bottled water industry. By addressing the environmental impact and the negative public image the plastic bottles currently have, marketers for the bottled water companies should have an easy time of sustaining current growth of their companies and possibly seeing enhancement within the next five years as technological advancement give rise to more options that keep consumers and their planet safe, chemical-free, and purely watered.
Article by: Cheryl H. Rivera
Anonymous. (February 2010). Bottled Water Shown to have lightest Environmental footprint among packaged drinks; New study finds; Nestle Waters North America Releases first Comprehensive, peer-reviewed scientific evaluation to examine carbon footprints of packaged beverages. PR Newswire. Retrieved 2/12/2010 from Proquest database.
Gross, Z (2008) Water Issues Loom Large. The Brandon Sun, December 14, 2008.. Retrieved 2/12/2010 from Proquest database.
Levin, A. (Oct 2009). Water Ways. Restaurants & Institutions, 119 (10) p33. Retrieved 2/12/2010 from Proquest database.
Scott, S (Oct 2009). Spending declines drag down bottled water. Beverage Industry, 100 (10) p 14-18. Retrieved 2/12/2010 from Proquest database.
http://www.brita.com Brita Water Filtration System
CHERYL H. RIVERA, author and owner of website http://www.RestaurantReferral.com has worked extensively in the private sector. I have over a decade of service to the federal government, lived in Bolivia for 3 years, and traveled through parts of South America and much of North America.