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Spring Conference Appears a Big Hit

April 21, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

2010confThe early returns seem to indicate that attendees at this year’s NARMS Spring Conference thoroughly enjoyed their four days at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa. However, there is always room for continuous improvement. We are open to any and all feedback as we try to bring maximum value to our members. Please take a moment to fill out this 2010 NARMS Conference program evaluation.

Although the weather was gloomy at times, attitudes were positive and hopes were high as members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry heard from manufacturer and retail speakers, learned about exciting research and took part in an extensive NARMS U educational platform. Most shared stories of a positive upward trend in their business.

If you missed a session, or if you were not able to attend, we invite you to visit the agenda page on Many of our speakers and workshop leaders were audio taped and have shared their presentation materials on-line. An icon will appear just to the left of the agenda item for slides and documents while the sound file appears just below the agenda item. If the material you are looking for is not there, check back in a day or two. This is a great way to hear what you missed or share the lessons learned with your co-workers back home. Also, check out NARMS official social media outlets for posts and videos made during conference.

Many thanks go out to all the sponsors and exhibitors who make our annual event possible. We also thank all the speakers for sharing their time, knowledge and expertise with use. The NARMS staff and support team also deserve some recognition for their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm. And finally, thanks to all the attendees for engaging in an active and lively exchange of information and ideas. This is your conference and your high level of involvement is the key ingredient to a successful outcome.

Hands-On Training Session Added to RORI Study

April 14, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

roriExcitement is building for the, “RORI: Return on Retail Investment - The Key to a Fact-Based and Profitable Shopper Marketing Strategy,” session scheduled for Monday, April 19th at 2:00 PM at the NARMS Spring Conference. The speakers will include: Bart Flaherty, Phil Lauria, Jerry O’Brien, Don Koller, Mary Jo Bastuba and Dr. Nancy Wong of UW. The session will include videos on the shopping experience, research and a handout available on But it does not end there. Attendees can stay on to attend a hands-on training session on how to use the findings and end products of the ground breaking study. The breakout session, “NARMS RORI Program - Capture Your Fair Share of the $93 Million Display Merchandising Opportunity …Train on the RORI Display Selling Calculator,” is scheduled for 3:30 PM immediately following the RORI General Session.

The new, 30 minute, breakout session promises to position your company for a fair share of the $93,000,000 revenue opportunity that has been qualified by the new RORI display study. The mini-meeting, led by Bart Flaherty, will show you how the RORI Display Calculator can help your company create a financially grounded sales proposition that you can take to your manufacturer and retailer clients immediately. This simple to use spread sheet is backed by deep research and loaded with the crucial benchmarks needed for a practical and credible discussion with your clients.

Other exciting research scheduled to be unveiled in Tampa includes, “2010 Sampling Survey Findings,” by Dr. Kenny Herbst of Wake Forest University on Sunday April 18th at 4:00 PM. That session will be repeated on Tuesday, April 20 at 2:00 PM. Also, Chris Dammann of The Christopher Group will be presenting the PIC related study, “Continuing to Build Out the Future of Retail,” on Tuesday at 7:30 AM.

Access to all of these research and educational opportunities are exclusive benefits of NARMS Membership. Make sure you are in attendance as these new exciting tools are rolled-out to the membership next week at the 15th Annual NARMS Spring Conference at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, Florida.

NARMS Conference Provides Place for Manufacturers to Compare Notes

April 7, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

Two clear themes have developed for 2010 NARMS Spring Conference. One is education under the NARMS U platform. The other is the concept of connecting manufacturers, retailers and service providers in an attempt to open up the lines of communication and opportunity between trading partners. To further both goals, our manufacturer members and other manufacturers who are in attendance will have an opportunity to share thoughts and compare notes at the Manufacturer Share Group Luncheon on Monday April 19th at 12:30 to 2:30 PM. The session will be moderated by facilitator Vickie Alarie.

This session will give manufacturers a chance to discuss their challenges and concerns specifically dealing with at-retail marketing services in an open and informal atmosphere. The focused format encourages complete candor by the manufacturers. The luncheon is a tremendous opportunity for marketers to sit down with their peers to discuss hot topics and how NARMS and its members can best serve their needs.

NARMS has been providing this forum for several years and the resulting conversations have been vital input to the NARMS Strategic Plan. While this share group is annually scheduled for Spring Conference, attendees in the past have found it so valuable that they have actually gotten together on their own later in the year.

Serving the needs of manufacturers and retailers is at the heart of the NARMS mission. We invite all trading partners to attend conference and find out what our association is all about and how they play a crucial role in it.

TOP SHELF- IRI Lists New Product Pacesetters

March 31, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

Helping new products reach the shelf is central to the mission of NARMS members. It is important for us to understand the challenges faced by our customers in the go-to-market process. In fact, you can hear from some top manufacturers and retailers at the Manufacturer-Retailer Connection forum at NARMS Spring Conference on Monday, April 19. To help further understand the trends, our friends at IRI have recently published the 2009 New Product Pacesetters: Innovating Growth in Recessionary Times.

According to IRI, the answer for product innovation during a very challenging 2009 was to introduce new technology and new ingredients into already existing, popular brands. This strategy helped to revitalize some CPG categories.

The IRI Pacesetters for 2009 seem to enhance wellness goals and support more at-home meal preparation and day-to-day tasks. Obviously, these trends were driven by the consumer’s need to conserve and make the most of hard earned money.

Take a few minutes out of your busy day and read this report. Discovering how these products survived and even thrived can help us all design on-going, value building services for our clients and their customers. As a reminder, don’t forget to hear directly from key trading partners at the Manufacturer/Retailer Connection forum at Spring Conference.

Register This Week to Make Conference Directory

March 24, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

2010confEach year, registrations for NARMS Spring Conference stream in right up to and during the event. On-line conference registration is available until the start of conference. We welcome all comers no matter when they make the decision to attend, but there are certain realities that benefit those who register earlier rather than later. The deadline is about to run out on one of those benefits. If you sign up by Friday, March 26 you will be included in the conference book and directory presented to all attendees.

The 2010 Annual NARMS Spring Conference will occur on April 17-20 at the Saddlebrook Resort near Tampa, Florida. Since this date is right around the corner, today is a good day to remind those who have not registered to do so now. The size and scope of the conference, and the logistics involved, dictate that we go to press with the conference booklet and directory of attendees next week. This booklet is given to each and every attendee of the event and thus provides exposure and networking value for you and your organization.

Registration for the event is currently $550 per person for members and $750 per person for non-members. NARMS has also provided a spouse or guest fee of only $250 per person. There are some optional events such as Closing Night Reception and Dinner and Golf Event that also carry a nominal fee.

If you are riding the fence on whether to attend or not, visit the NARMS Conference Center on and take a look at the value packed agenda. You can also click on the small icon to the right of each agenda event item to read more about each event. This particular conference has something for everyone ranging from education, research, training and networking. You won’t want to miss being a part of your industry’s showcase event and if you register this week, you’ll make the directory.

RORI™ Goes to GlobalShop

March 17, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

roriThe NARMS RORI™ Industry Research Study reached an important benchmark last week when it was presented to a group of industry professionals at GlobalShop in Las Vegas. Additional RORI details will be presented at the NARMS Spring Conference scheduled for April 17 through 20 in Tampa, Florida. A group of over one hundred witnessed a panel discussion lead by Phil Lauria of Pelco Advisors. The blue ribbon panel consisted of Don Unser of NPD, Bill Harvey of TRA Global Inc., John Dranow of Smart Revenue and Jerry O’Brien of the Kohl Department Store Center of Retailing Excellence at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

The hour-long session introduced the concept of RORI™, highlighted the benefits to the various trading partners in the go-to-market process, and solicited additional participation from the audience. Many of those in attendance stayed after to participate in a lively Q&A session and follow-up with interested parties is ongoing.

By way of introduction, The NARMS RORI™ Industry Research Study is an open research study conducted by GroupM, the University of Wisconsin, Madison Kohl’s Department Stores Center for Retailing Excellence, and sponsored by NARMS. It is a 360 degree analysis of in-market retail execution based on real world experiments executed in carefully controlled test designs. All research analytics will be conducted by GroupM along with design development by the University of Wisconsin Madison. All aspects of retail go-to-market activities are candidates for testing in the RORI™ Study framework.

Audience members learned the scope and framework for the study and were given specific expected outcomes of participation. Panel members also took time to explain the new set of metrics that will be used to deliver return on investment information to the key four retail marketing constituent groups namely manufacturers, retailers, service providers and industry suppliers. Additional deliverables include fact-based selling stories and common language across all the constituents.

Participation in the RORI™ research study is open and available to any manufacturer, retailer and industry product or service providers. To learn more about the study and how your company can participate contact either NARMS or Bart Flaherty of GroupM Business Sciences at

As mentioned previous, the next big event on the RORI™ schedule will take place at NARMS Spring Conference on Monday, April 19th from 2:00-3:30 PM. Make sure you circle this event on your NARMS conference agenda.

UW and Students Enhance Conference Learning

March 10, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

wis_bizLast year, NARMS established a formal relationship with the University of Wisconsin School of Business and the Kohl Center for Retail Excellence. That relationship has blossomed and will be on full display at the 2010 NARMS Spring Conference on April 17-20 at the Saddlebrook Resort near Tampa, Florida. UW staff and students will contribute to five unique sessions during five time blocks throughout the event. These sessions are being featured under the NARMS U banner which entails all of NARMS educational programs.

Jerry O’Brien, head of the program at UW, is planning on bringing 12-16 of his students to our event. This will provide valuable experience for these future retail leaders, as well as an opportunity to interview these students for future internships and employment.

UW sessions will take place during NARMS U Session 1 on Sunday, April 18th at 4:00 PM with O’Brien leading, “Partnering with Your Customers to Create Superior Value.” Also during that time, Deborah Mitchell of UW will present, “Neuromarketing and the Future of Retail.”

Session 2 takes place on Tuesday, April 20 at 9:00 AM. UW’s Nancy Wong will instruct us on, “Three Principles for Marketing Today.” The block will also see Mitchell leading, “Branding Up and Down the Value Chain,” and O’Brien presenting, “The Values-Based Retailer.” After a quick break, Session 3 starts at 10:30 AM and features O’Brien and Mitchell repeating their Session 1 topics. Wong will also introduce, “The Psychology of Choice,” during this time block.

To ensure that all attendees get a chance to experience as many sessions as possible, Session 4 will start at 11:45 AM and will include, “The Values-Based Retailer”, “Three Principles for Marketing Today”, and “Branding Up & Down the Value Chain.” After lunch, Session 5 will wrap up the day of learning with a repeat performance of, “The Psychology of Choice.”

In addition to this exciting relationship with UW, there are many other contributing presenters scheduled for the NARMS U Sessions. You can see the entire agenda and register for conference by clicking here. You can also follow conference development by becoming a member of our official NARMS Social Media groups.

NARMSCertify U Now Live!

March 3, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

narmscertifyulogo2Mark down March 2, 2010 as an important date in the history of NARMS. Yesterday, our NARMSCertify U field representative training tool went live. Training and education are critical to our members who operate a largely decentralized workforce to deliver expert at-retail merchandising and marketing services. Now, eight career building courses are available to provide marketing representatives with a simple, straightforward online learning experience. In addition, there will be a special workshop entitled, “NARMSCertify U and You,” at the NARMS Spring Conference on Sunday April 18th at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa.

NARMSCertify U is an online learning center offering certified career-building courses developed by industry experts for marketing service representatives. The online courses can be accessed by field representative anywhere and anytime, so they can learn at their own pace. Each course topic consists of a learning module with interactive screens, followed by a quiz to confirm knowledge transfer. Upon quiz completion, the representative will be awarded a certification of completion that will be posted on the representative’s profile. Course certificates provide representatives with higher visibility to job postings within

Current courses include Train the Trainer, Merchandising Standards, Retail Visit Excellence, Team Lead Skills, Fixture Installation, Event Marketing, Demonstrations and Mystery Shopping with more to follow. Individual field reps can seek this knowledge on their own or member companies can utilize NARMSCertify U as their official, industry approved training tool to enhance their workforce quality and productivity.

NARMS member companies will benefit through workforce training that builds on industry standards to improve the quality of the workforce at the retail level. NARMSCertify U learning program is based on a Learning Management System, offering courses and testing using Adult Learning Principles, with administrative management and measurement features.

NARMSCertify U was developed in partnership with NARMS International and BDS Marketing, Inc. to benefit the at-retail services industry. As the parent sponsor, NARMS considers the NARMSCertify U program as the official learning center for member companies and their field representatives while BDS Marketing, Inc. will be responsible to design, develop, manage and promote the online learning system. To learn more about NARMS visit To learn more about BDS Marketing, Inc. visit

IRI Report Takes Last Look at Last Year

February 24, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

ttfeb10The recession hit hard and hit fast. This caused consumers to react quickly with devastating results on many brand marketers. As the economy slowly recovers and as energy costs now afford consumers a little more latitude in their shopping habits, the new retail reality is starting to take shape. In its February Times & Trends Report, Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) differentiates between behaviors that were a knee-jerk reaction and those that resulted in new, medium to long-term trends. As suppliers of world-class at-retail merchandising and marketing services, we can’t help but pay attention to these observations.

The IRI report tells us that 40 of the top 100 CPG categories have experienced price increases since 2009. It seems as if the battle for manufacturers and retailers will be to bring the definition of value beyond that of price. Value extends to a lot of factors, but one of the most basic is the ability to be in-stock and for new items to reach the market quickly. In fact, the NARMS Spring Conference on April 17-20 in Tampa will be a great opportunity to hear the challenges directly from the mouths of trading partners during the Manufacturer/Retailer Connection Forum.

Another IRI observation is that consumers turned to doing more things like meals, health and beauty treatments by themselves in their homes last year. This caused a rush of new product trials and the eventual discovery that consumers could achieve, “90 percent of the quality for 20 percent of the cost.” This happening could open up many new opportunities for brands, retailers and service companies alike.

Finally, it has been reported often that private label has made great gains and that the rise of quality will help store brands maintain and gain market share. This causes need on both sides. Through their popularity, store brands become household names and grow into the same challenges as their nationally marketed counter parts. Name brands must defend their turf by executing to near perfection in all marketing disciplines of which at-retail merchandising and marketing is far from the least. After all, if it’s not on the shelf, it’s not for sale.

If you have not already done so, you can download the February issue of Times & Trends here. We thank IRI for continuing to share their insights with us.

NARMS Spring Conference Engaging Social Media

February 17, 2010 by Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

twitterIt’s without question that social media networks are in the mainstream. For almost two years, NARMS has been engaging with field personnel seeking employment. The NARMS Facebook group has 3,631 members as of this morning and over 4,000 following on Twitter. The next step in the evolution is to engage a professional audience such as customers, members, potential members, other trade groups and trade media. NARMS Spring Conference is doing just that by employing social media to communicate and network before, during and after the event.

Let’s start with Facebook. Go to and become a fan of the NARMS – International Association of Retail Marketing Services fan page. You will immediately receive notices about Spring Conference features, thought leadership, upcoming events, webinars, research and all of the other value added services offered by NARMS. Perhaps just as important, network with your friends and associates and encourage them to join the group.

LinkedIn is also fast becoming a must for professionals. Because of the business focus, there are a few more barriers to gain access to your contacts. However, you’ll find an extensive list of people and organizations that you already know. From your profile on, find NARMS International Conference Updates and join the group . In short order, you will be approved and will get all the latest news, updates and speaker insights for our showcase event being held this year at the Saddelbrook Resort in the Tampa area.

No social media conversation is complete without Twitter. It’s perhaps the hottest social medium on the planet and is especially useful for mobile users. Go to and follow the stream. You will get tweets featuring updates and news for Spring Conference. You can help spread the word by retweeting to your contacts and encouraging them to follow the stream. At conference, we will tweet notices just prior to workshops, sessions and speakers so you won’t miss a thing. You can also tweet your thoughts, impressions and feedback live during conference session by using the Twitter hash tags located in the agenda on the conference page.

Consider this article as your NARMS social media boot camp. Follow these steps, and you are sure to get maximum value out of your membership, broaden your contact network, add valuable insight and further the value proposition of the at-retail movement. Help us build the network today.


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