BioGaia’s marketing model, which is based on medical marketing, has been one of the success factors during the company’s 30 years in the probiotics industry. The emphasis now is on complementing this model with an increased focus on consumers. And to reach them requires being where they are – online.
Medical marketing was unique in the probiotics industry when BioGaia chose this model. Focusing on solid research and using this for marketing purposes, convinces doctors of the positive effects of the products so that they recommend them to their patients.
This flow still forms the basis of marketing and will continue to do so. In most of the over 100 countries in which its products are sold, BioGaia’s distributors have salespersons who visit doctors and other healthcare professionals.
At the same time there has been a shift in recent years. From previously mainly having used probiotics to ‘solve a problem’ such as the baby crying, a growing number of people are taking probiotics for preventive reasons. Research into the effects of probiotics on the immune system combined with this growing interest in health and staying well, has created a ‘new’ target group of wellness consumers. More and more consumers are searching for information about probiotics themselves and not even seeing a doctor before purchasing their product in an online store.
This development has accelerated in recent years and reached full gallop in the wake of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Today, for example online sales account for 80% of BioGaia’s sales in the USA. Similar figures can be seen in China and Vietnam and the growth rate in digital sales channels continues to rise faster than physical retail.
BioGaia has steadily complemented its marketing model with more consumer-oriented marketing. In 2020 further steps towards this expansion were taken by strengthening in-house skills with employees with a solid background in consumer marketing and online retail.
“Previously, consumers were recommended by their doctor to buy a BioGaia product and went to a pharmacy to buy it. Today, when consumers themselves are deciding which products they want and then click them home via an online store, we need to adapt to this changed consumer journey,” says Johannes Asplund, Global Digital Business Manager at BioGaia.
In parallel with this trend, competition in the probiotics market has intensified noticeably. BioGaia’s aim is to build a strong, global consumer brand and therefore focus increasingly on supporting distribution partners with communication and marketing.
“To succeed in creating a global consumer brand, we must have a closer collaboration with our partners and support them with consumer insights and a strong and clear brand offering,” says Linda Hägglund, Marketing Manager at BioGaia.