Morrisons restructures marketing following poor sales

Morrisons has restructured its marketing team after admitting its marketing has not been effective enough following lower than expected sales over Christmas.

Morrisons will sponsor Ant and Dec's Saturday night takeaway.
Morrisons will sponsor Ant and Dec’s Saturday night takeaway.

The supermarket has promoted Nick Collard, currently marketing and operations director, to a newly created marketing and customer director role with a brief to integrate brand marketing and customer engagement.

He will join the Morrisons board and take responsibility for marketing, own brand ranges, insight, loyalty, customer relationship management and store formats.

Belinda Youngs, who joined Morrisons as own brand director last year, has been promoted to the new role of corporate brand marketing director.

Casper Meijer, who was appointed as trading director in December, will lead all other commercial functions as group trading director. The changes follow the shock departure of commercial director Richard Hodgson, who led marketing, in November.

The supermarket reported a 2.5 per cent fall in same store sales over the six week Christmas period to 30 December.

Speaking to Marketing Week ahead of the results last week, Morrisons marketing director Rebecca Singleton said that the essence of the supermarket’s marketing activity this year will be showing what makes Morrrisons different – the craft and specialist skills of its staff.

She says the sponsorship of ITV show Britain’s Got Talent provides a vehicle to show that Morrisons has talent, adding that show hosts Ant & Dec, who will front ads for the supermarket, offer personality that a brand range of consumers can relate to.

“Morrisons is a very warm, friendly, human brand and it’s important to take a tone of voice that people relate to. Ant and Dec appeal to people whether they are nine years old or 90 and add a tone of humour but not slapstick,” she says.

She adds that the ITV partnership also provides Morrisons with a host of opportunities to develop interactive, real time campaigns that invite consumers to engage with the brand during the prime time Saturday night event TV, she says.

Speaking to analysts today (7 January) CEO Dalton Philips said the partnership with Ant & Dec is just one part of its strategy to better communicate the differences and benefits of shopping with Morrisons.

He added that Morrisons was caught up in the “me too” marketing from the supermarkets over Christmas, which meant communications from each supermarket looked the same. Philips vowed that Morrisons’ marketing will be different this year but says that the shift will take time to impact performance.

Morrisons also plans to accelerate its multichannel and convenience businesses, but Philips reiterated that Morrisons has no pans to launch a loyalty card scheme.

The supermarket will outline further plans at its preliminary results in March.

Rivals Sainsbury’s and Tesco are due to report sales figures later this week. Both are expected to report an increase in sales.

Waitrose reported a 5.4 per cent rise in same store sales for the 12 days from 18 to 31 December, its busiest ever trading period.

If you have a great retail sector case study that can demonstrate innovation and ROI, then make sure you enter the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2013. The deadline is 15 January and you can find more here.

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