Plan, plan and plan again

Dominic Rowbotham, head of business development at RMI, advises retail marketers on improving planning.

Although retail marketing is becoming increasingly important, many brands and agencies still see it as a simple sales uplift mechanism and being a cumbersome and labour intensive to plan and execute. The reality is that retail marketing does more than just drive sales it changes shopper behaviour and there are now tools available to make the whole process easier to understand, plan, book and evaluate.

Firstly an understanding of the shopper is paramount and is the only start point of effective retail marketing. Brands need to know who their target shoppers are and what their needs and occasions are. With this information it is possible to start to plan what type of campaign to run where, when and with what sort of messages.

Retail marketing reaches consumers at the point of purchase and it’s a given that it will generate incremental sales but the key is how and using what mechanic; price, promotion or leveraging the strength of the brand.

It may sound obvious, but setting out campaign objectives beforehand determines the timing, packaging, media format selection and what creative to deploy.

For example if a brand is launching a new product in a category that has a low footfall then using a shelf edge barker will only influence those shoppers that have entered the aisle, if the objective is to get new entrants into that market then there is a case to use other instore media such as instore radio and trolleys to change the shopper behaviour and persuade them to visit this category.

And, if brands are trying to maximise the sales effect of a campaign they need to choose the stores that have the greatest potential to deliver the sales uplift. Furthermore, they need to ensure that their chosen audience is represented in high enough numbers in the selected stores. However, getting this information can be a challenge and there is a real need for retailers to make the planning process simpler for advertisers and media buyers.

Once brands know their shopper and their objectives they can plan their messaging to fit into those categories. For this to work effectively we would recommend that they work from the “shelf back”.

P&G’s rebrand of Flash, is a perfect example. The rebrand was a formula upgrade, including new look packs, logo and a national TV campaign; everything they would expect from a big FMCG brand.

Instead of using creative designed from a TV campaign, P&G started with how the product would look on the shelf and worked back from there. Everything down to the colour choice was driven by ensuring standout at the point of purchase. However to ensure consistency P&G then took the look and feel and used it for their above the line campaigns, thus binding the in-store and out-of-store experience for the consumer and shopper.

The first moment of truth of where and when a product is selected and bought is starting to shape how a product is promoted and advertised. In doing this retail marketing is becoming more important to brands to deliver stand out at the point of purchase not by advertising its price but by promoting the strength of the brand promise.

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