4-Hour Workweek Middleman Exclusivity

Here’s a fascinating example of a successful new product launch. I got it from my copy of 4-hr work week, pp145-6, and is my second successive posting based on this book. It’s from the wholesale trade. The supplier pushed a single item into a major retailer.


The product apparently became one of America’s best selling sports supplements; NO2 from MRI. The store chain featured is GNC. Here’s the process.

  1. Before production, a low-priced related-content book was offered through sector-specific press ads to establish end-consumer need
  2. With plenty of book orders secured, Price was deliberately set at the most expensive end of the marketplace ($79.95)
  3. An exclusive deal was made with just one nationwide outlet

This is recounted as “smart testing, smart positioning and brilliant distribution”.

It is the concept of shelf exclusivity that the author chooses to examine further. He believes this is a total winner when launching anything in this distribution arena for two main reasons.

  • It prevents competing resellers chopping your price to better each other (which renders your product extinct and further product development instantly necessary)
  • Preferential supply should cement preferential custom (better margin, marketing and payment)

If you don’t go this route, what’s the alternative? The author insists this is the only way.

Otherwise, rogue discounters on eBay and mom-and-pop independents will drive you broke

In terms of product success, the makers claim over 3m users and the world’s #1 status.

How applicable is this treatment for your distribution product? With attendant minimums agreed up front, to avoid all sorts of heartache later on, I’ve seen this approach be a winner when the channel was involved in the design process, so perhaps it could also suit other developments.

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