The Aligned Conference both challenges and inspires brand marketing efforts in local retail. It’s where those of us tasked with empowering independent retailers to become our brand’s best storytellers have learned a secret or two.
Working with mom and pops requires perseverance to overcome a unique set of challenges. The Aligned community embraces the complexities, networking to learn from one another. Here are five key takeaways from this year’s Aligned:
Insight #1: “If your retailers aren’t delivering on your promise, your brand is in trouble.”
– Dani Brock, Director of Retail Marketing at Shaw Floors
U.S. retail sales (92% according to Forrester) still take place offline. Final purchase decisions all come down the consumer’s experience at the local retailer level. Savvy marketers know that they must be readily available for consumers’ want-to-know, want-to-go, and want-to-buy moments (IE: micro-moments).
To support retailers in capturing an even greater portion of the $3.2 trillion U.S. retail industry, brands need to be there to help. We, as brand marketers, must roll out a supportive approach to enabling independent retailers to stay on-brand, because if the retail experience fails, everything fails.
How are you supposed to inspire resource-strapped retailers to deliver on your brand’s promise? The key is to support and engage them. If you provide your retailers with awesome marketing, product education and purchasing experiences, their customers will, in turn, have the same. Ignore them and your brand is in trouble.
Insight #2: “Be patient with your retailers. They’re worth it.”
– Leslie Hagan, Manager, Merchandising & Trade Communications at GE Appliances
When it comes to supporting our retailers’ evolution in marketing, practice patience. The step-by-step process of educating, training, and equipping independent shops with the marketing resources they need is crucial. If you rush this process, you run the risk of building a weak relationship that’s easily snapped. After all, brands need a strong sense of connection with their local accounts to create a unified consumer experience.
Remember, collaboration may not be moving as quickly as you’d like, but the payoff is big. Brands that treat marketing with their local retailers as a priority, have seen an increase in their digital reach by as much as 4x over the first 12 months of launching their co-marketing efforts.
Insight #3: “If your retailers aren’t great, they’ll be gone.”
– Jeremy McKinley, North American Marketing Manager at Trek Bicycle Corporation
We already know that the retailer plays a critical role in securing the sale on a local level. If our retailers aren’t good at marketing and selling our brand products, we won’t be well represented in-store. To ensure your brand is being repped well, you must invest heavily in your retailers.
What does it mean to invest in retailers? Since you can’t force your retailers to stay on message, brand marketers must provide accounts with an easy way to do so while honoring their local brand in every campaign. This builds trust. You’re working to give stores every possible opportunity to be great.
Sound like a lot of work? That’s why it’s so important for you to find a simple, scaleable solution like Promoboxx to support your efforts.
Insight #4: “Paid must be a required part of your retail marketing strategy.”
– Frank Hwang, Senior Manager, Digital and Paid Media at Timberland
We all want to increase our local reach, build on consumer actions, and thus generate conversions. Empowering retailers with brand marketing content for their earned/owned channels is great, but it’s not enough. Brands must take the necessary steps to support paid initiatives with retailers in a way that doesn’t frustrate or cannibalize them.
What we mean by that is brands must provide an easy way for their retailers to launch a paid strategy that’s in line, but not detrimental to brand national and local marketing efforts. Retailers don’t just need help connecting with their current customers, but growing their digital footprint. This is most effectively done via an organic and paid strategy.
Insight #5: “Leading the way in ongoing marketing education for your retailers is crucial.”
– Laura Woodford, Senior Trade Marketing Manager at Electrolux Major Appliances
Furthering your retailers’ digital marketing education may at times seem like an uphill battle, but it’s at those times when you must act as a leader. Your retailers may be aware of the wealth of marketing data floating around, but often they don’t understand it or how it’s applicable to them.
Brands must help their retailers make sense of the digital marketing space through guidance, collaboration, and education. Provide your retailers with turnkey, go-to marketing education and tools that are evolving to meet customers needs. If you don’t push the education process, you’re leaving your retailers to fumble in the dark.
Want to be a retail marketing champion? Join us at #AlignedCon 2016!
Join digital trade and retail marketers from national brands as we talk shop and strategize how to best develop and nourish digital marketing alignment between brands and their local retailers. Be a game changer with us this September 14-16 in Boston.