On and Off the MULO Shelves with Dan Oliver and His Seasoning

On and Off the MULO Shelves with Dan Oliver and His Seasoning

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We recently saw a LinkedIn post by Tyler Watson, Vice President of Sales for Dan-O’s Seasoning. Intrigued, we Googled the brand and discovered it’s available both online and in MULO (multi-location) retailers.  Dan-O’s actually had its roots in social media when Dan Oliver (a former bartender) started making TikTok videos about his seasoning in 2020.

He launched the brand in 2017, selling it primarily through farmers’ markets and local events. Oliver then brought in his new friend (Watson) to help with distribution.

The seasoning made its way onto the shelves of local Kroger stores through its “Kentucky Proud” program, highlighting local product brands.

Dan Oliver was savvy enough to know that getting on store shelves was the first step. Moving a product off the shelves and into consumers’ carts (and ultimately to their home shelves) is critical.

Through their “Flavor Slangers” program, they engaged ambassadors to sample products in stores. Distribution expanded to Food City and Hyvee stores soon after — about 300 stores in total.

Local television advertising was the next step. And the company’s ad agency was so passionate about the product that Philip Crosby (the agency owner) signed on as CEO of Dan-O’s Seasoning.

“Own your backyard first!” is the mantra the company and agency lived by.

Now that distribution has expanded nationally, how does Dan-O’s ensure their product (which has cultivated a huge base of raving “Fan-O’s”) moves from inventory to purchase?

Like many savvy food and beverage retailers today, Dan-O’s realizes social media buzz is not enough. Once awareness and buzz are created, ensuring people can find “Dan-O’s Seasoning Near Me” becomes the next challenge.

Raving fans still enjoy convenience, and consumer product brands realize that local search is no longer just the domain of the SEO technicians. Marketing must play a significant role in ensuring specific products can be found on- and offline.

Location finders on brand websites may be useful, but they don’t always take into account which retailers currently have inventory. And many retailers may be brand-agnostic. As long as shoppers buy seasoning, they may not care which label sells.

“We bid on our specific branded keywords,” says Dan-Al’s SEO marketing team. “And we keep an eye on blackhat activity.”

Although selling through Amazon is important to many consumer product companies today, having brick-and-mortar retail distribution is an essential element of marketing and sales strategy.

Old-school tactics like in-store demos and local advertising can build retailer awareness and loyalty. When evaluating purchases and re-stocks, MULO brands look at sales volume and brand incentives and factor that into their decision-making.

Of course, having loyal team members who use their own social media channels to champion their employer’s brands doesn’t hurt either. This article would not have been written without that extra dash of seasoning from Watson!

Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.