Ineffective promotions can derail and even bankrupt your brand while simultaneously diluting a retailer’s ability to stand out in their crowded market. Stop wasting money on promotions that don’t solve this problem. There is a better way to explode sales and help your retail partner achieve what they really want: (1) more traffic in their stores, (2) a competitive advantage in their market, and (3) a reasonable profit!

Rinse and repeat is not a winning strategy 

Shouldn’t your promotional strategy be as innovative and disruptive as the ingredients in your package? Want a simple way to grow sales and maximize your promotional ROI? Continue reading for the retail solved blueprint to gain a sustainable edge–a win for you and the retailer.

In Brand Secrets #1: Your Most Powerful Weapon To Grow And Scale Your Brand, we discussed the power of personalization along with strategies to convert occasional customers into loyal shoppers. In Brand Secrets #2: How To Gain A Strategic Advantage As A Category Leader, we covered the importance of developing a collaborative strategic partnership with your retail partners. In Brand Secrets #3, we’ll cover the retail solved blueprint to gain a significant competitive edge for both you and your retail partners. It begins with effective trade promotion management, something all brands struggle with, including big brands.

Here’s the problem. Retailers and distributors demand promotions and shoppers expect them. Most promotions, however, rarely result in a sustained sales increase. Typically, sales spike during the promotion and quickly return to normal after the event is over. More importantly, this results in trading sales between brands and retailers. This gives shoppers less incentive to remain loyal to the brands and retailers, making them less relevant.  

Pricing plays a part 

The myth is that price is the most important motivator for shoppers to buy your products or shop at a specific retailer. If this were true, then better-for-you and decadent items would be declining in sales, which they are not. The reality is that shoppers want quality products at a fair price. This is especially true during a pandemic. 

Shoppers know that the best defense against any virus is a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. They know that spending a couple of pennies more for a healthier option can save them money in the long run. 

Consider this; if I eat generic bread, I am still hungry before I finish eating it. If I eat the best mainstream bread, then I may be satiated for a few hours. However, if I am what I eat and if what I eat matters, then eating the organic bread will satisfy me longer if it gives my body the nutrients it needs. Therefore, the organic bread may be a better value even at a few pennies more.

Roughly 25% of a brand’s gross sales are tied to trade promotions, yet more than 70% of those promotional dollars are wasted or ineffective. This is true for all brands. Let’s learn how to fix that! Every slight improvement means more money to grow and scale, fuel for new product innovation, better evaluations with investors, and it makes it easier for retailers to say yes to your new products and category growth strategies.

Trade promotion includes everything required to get your product into the hands of a shopper. This definition is overly broad because you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Moreover, this goes beyond any trade marketing software solutions, which are kind of like “Quickbooks” for trade marketing. While they are great at managing your trade spend, they tend to overlook what drives trade promotional effectiveness. You need to go well beyond “pushbutton” solutions and canned reports to maximize your trade promotion ROI.

What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing and expecting different results. This is how most brands approach trade promotion management, mainly as an afterthought.

It does not require a lot of creativity to spend money to buy shoppers through deep promotions – the current strategy. The simple reality is that big brands with deep pockets can buy sales velocity through deep discounts. While they can then rank high on sales reports, they pull profitable dollars out of the category, and they commoditize the shopper, the brand, and the retailer in the process. This is a key reason why retail is expensive and why so many new brands fail. 

Retailers can not possibly be an expert in every item they sell and on every customer who shops their store. They want and need your help. They need to know the best and most effective way to merchandise and promote your brand. Effective promotions continue to grow sales after the event is over. This is measured by your base sales (sales in the absence of a promotion). The primary goal of every promotion is to introduce your brand to new shoppers.

Developing promotion leadership and expertise 

Becoming a trade promotion expert can quickly elevate you as a trusted, respected, and valued retail partner–a category leader!

Let’s focus first on the customer journey and develop creative promotion strategies that benefit the shopper, the retailer, and the brand. Knowing exactly what promotional tactics grow sales for your unique shopper is critical to maximizing every selling opportunity. 

Start with the customer’s market basket and work backward. Identify the relationship between all of the items the shopper buys when they purchase your brand. Next, focus on the contribution of each item to determine the impact of that shopper on the store’s profitability. The contribution is the dollars per point of distribution or the item sales where the product is in distribution. It’s typically referred to as dollars per point of distribution ($SPP). 

A shopper who buys plant-based meat might also buy plant-based snacks, plant-based desserts, etc. A creative promotion strategy that complements their product choices could help increase sales and profits. For example, “get 30% of a plant-based dessert with the purchase of a plant-based meal.”  

Focusing on your brand’s contribution to the overall category, store, and shopper market basket is how you develop creative promotion strategies that prioritize your customer’s wants and needs. This also amplifies your brand promise and the retailers’ commitment to their shoppers. It’s how you personalize your promotion strategy and convert occasional customers into loyal shoppers. 

Teaching brands and retailers these advanced strategies is largely why I launched a free weekly webinar series in partnership with RangeMe and ECRM. Each week, you will learn from leading industry experts and get answers to your most pressing questions. Trade promotion is a primary focus of this series. Go to the events page of my website for links to future webinars and recordings.

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