Special offer tarts must be part of a planning process

The Secret Marketer’s column on pricing (MW last week) prompted a flurry of responses when postedonline. See the column at www.marketingweek.co.uk/ pricing-puts-me-in-a-perfect-storm/3005497.article and make sure you read the Secret Marketer’s latest contribution.

  • Price wars are happening in so many industries the world over. I tried to assess how potential sales managers would handle a similar situation in a series of job interviews recently. Not many great answers to this real-life situation?
  • I guess us “old boys” from the FMCG supplier fraternity of the Eighties and Nineties owe you an apology for nurturing the “monster” you now have. But I’m afraid that the lure of “on-shelf presence” and “guaranteed sterling distribution” was irresistible as well as seemingly affordable. Preferred supplier status, category management and trading partnerships were all written into the job purpose of every self-respecting national account manager. Equitable trade pricing based on manufacturer’s cost and customer profitability gave way to opportunity-based trading packages. The old guard would argue that grocery buyers were there “to exploit any opportunity for their own ends”.
    But the reality is that self-interest has to be the primary motive of a professional buyer and “seller beware” should have been the mantra of us suppliers.
    Bob Howard-Spink
  • This constant stream of “too good to be true deals” is turning us all into special offer tarts and it can only erode loyalty to the supermarket brand. We are now led by the next special offer and not the retail brand in choosing where we shop.
  • Hundreds of us in marketing and national accounts have been through this many times, but there are some answers to it. The first is to factor it into your planning cycle. At least you will have had time to see what your options are and build solutions into you plan before being railroaded in front of customers.
    As marketing professionals we owe it to our national account teams to be fully armed for those important meetings with our customers.


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