The Secret Marketer gains perspectives in light of high street carnage


The tension between building brand equity and trading the arse out of products must be one of the longest running battles between sales and marketing professionals and has now reached new heights with the advent of buy one, get two free, available for a not-so-limited time at a store near you.

Only last year, I had a deep and meaningful discussion with our sales team about the merits and dangers of bogof and I am now having to fend off threats of even deeper activity.

As my sales colleagues remind me, we are not able to mention retail pricing in discussions with our customers. Quite right. We are, after all, law abiding citizens here in brand marketing. But if we can’t discuss pricing, why do we send smoke signals in the form of overly generous supplier funding to give them even the mildest encouragement to sink our brands to greater depths?

Never incentivise a sales team purely on volume. They will destroy your business within 12 months

One of our national account managers took great pride in assuring me that I shouldn’t worry my fluffy strategic head as we are, in fact, only “part-funding” the promotion. We get to pay the same funding as last year’s slightly less crazy giveaway but this year we secure an even bigger discount and shift record amounts of stock.

There goes an insight into the strategic box-shifting mentality of a salesman.

Note to self: Never incentivise a sales team purely on volume. They will destroy your business within 12 months and that’s if you are fortunate enough not to hire a bright one, who will get there much faster.

Despite the offers, some consumers aren’t happy paying at all. Looting is rife. Smash-one-get-one-free with all types of booty flying out of the door. This new type of shopper knows no barriers, even stopping to try on their trainers for size before fleeing with a plasma TV under their arm.

What a total disgrace and how desperately sad for those retailers affected. Some of the smaller victims may never open their doors for business again thanks to this mindless thuggery.

The bigger operators will no doubt survive the carnage and call on their insurers to help restore order, but could this be the final nail in the coffin for a British high street already in intensive care. Somewhat puts my trading issues into perspective.

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