Aldi’s marketing boss on its success in the UK

Aldi’s marketing director Adam Zavalis speaks to Marketing Week about the discounter’s success in the UK, why its growth is sustainable and how that is linked to advertising spend.

Q: To what does Aldi owe its success in the UK?

It’s simple – an unrelenting focus on price in our DNA and a drive to continuously improve. That is why we fit very well with Team GB. When a great champion wins, what do they do the next day? Many athletes have a day or two recovery but then they are back on it. That is very much the way we are at Aldi – if we have achieved something, we don’t over-celebrate. We learn from it and the next day we think how we can improve on it and how we can keep going.

Q: Is the growth sustainable?

There’s opportunity to keep growing and we will pursue it. You might see different growth figures as mathematically you can’t get the same percentages [as overall revenue rises] but we will continue to grow in absolute volume terms.

Q: Aldi is one of the top supermarkets in terms of ad spend. Why is that and how do you link it to growth?

We measure everything to see how marketing is contributing towards that bottom line – that’s critical to us. We don’t just do things because we think they look, feel or sound good – we have to make sure there is a return. The increased spend over the years has been a reflection of that. As you grow, you are able to invest if that investment is working, but we would never invest in any area of our business if we didn’t think we were getting a return on it.

Q: Have you had to expand your team or bring in expertise for the Team GB campaign?

We haven’t brought in a new sponsorship team. We are a lean, efficient business and our team has grown over the past few years but if you compare it to some of our competitors, you would be surprised. We think carefully about decisions, make those decisions quickly and operate and execute within our existing structure.

Q: How did you ensure that the sponsorship was the right decision?

The BOA came to us with a true partnership in mind, with ideas on how we could activate it. If we did do something together, they wanted to be sure we were the right fit for them. With any partnership that is what you have to look for.

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