We’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating. NARMS is very fortunate to have forged relationships with some of the top industry experts and retail consultants on the planet. These contacts put us, the members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry, directly in the loop to receive new information, data and thought leadership on a regular basis. Today we will focus on the latest, the 14th annual predictions issue of Research Business Report. In the report, three executives from IRI share some of their predictions for trends in 2010 and beyond.
Bob Tomei, president of IRI Consumer & Shopper Insights, expects CPG retailers and manufacturers to significantly increase their advertising spend to connect with their shoppers. On-line marketing programs, forums and social media are the tools of choice and the only advertising medium that has seen a growth in spending share. He expects trading partners to gain a better grasp and employ strategy and tactics to tie into the success of this effective and cost efficient means of establishing a relationship with customers.
KK Davey, executive vice president of IRI Consulting & Innovation, calls pricing and promotional optimization strategies the new “magic bullet” in the New Year. He predicts that trading partners will invest in new pricing models that will determine what the consumer values in an improving economy.
Doug Brooks, senior vice president of IRI Modeling & Analytics, extols the virtues of striking a balance between brand-building and pricing strategy. In order to do this, he predicts that trading partners will invest in and integrate improved analytics that will yield real-time insights. Faster information will allow retailers and manufacturers to stay ahead of the now more rapidly changing environment at retail.
The issue of Research Business Report is available to you now by clicking here. The real challenge is always to take these insights, use them to gain a further understanding of the marketplace, and apply them to your business situation. To that end, we will continue to pass them along when they become available.
Registration is now open for the 2010 IFBA Top to Top Executive Conference on www.narms.com. The three day event will run from Tuesday, May 18 through Thursday, May 20. The conference annually brings together members of our independent food broker division with suppliers and manufacturers from around the world. Here are some things to keep in mind as you make your plans for Chicago.
The 2010 Top to Top will be held at The Renaissance Chicago Hotel. Be sure to book your hotel room as soon as possible to get group room block pricing. After the IFBA room block is filled, reservations will be accepted on “space available” basis at prevailing hotel room rates. Absolute hotel cut-off date for Top to Top-available group block pricing is April 26, 2010. Standard rooms run $259/night; concierge rooms at $299/night; Executive Suites at $349/night and Riviera Suites at $399/night.
The agenda hits the ground running on Tuesday afternoon with a Manufacturer/Supplier Share Group session at 1:00 P.M. That group will then come together with IFBA members for a joint Idea Share session and a state of the IFBA address by Chair Jim Hall. The night will be capped off with an opening night reception at 5:15.
Wednesday brings an opportunity to hear from Keynote Speaker, Dr. Brian Harris. The “Father of Category Management” will discuss trends in the industry, the ‘next generation’ of category management, shopper marketing segmentation and recommendations on how to add value as a broker / manufacturer. The balance of the day will feature opportunities for trading partners to fill their day with business-to-business meetings designed to bring market needs together with business opportunities. Lunch and a day closing reception will provide additional networking venues.
Thursday will continue the theme of bringing businesses together with more B2B meeting scheduling opportunities. The meetings will be framed with a continental breakfast, a lunch buffet and a closing reception designed to provide maximum exposure to manufacturer/suppliers and the best independent food brokers on the world.
If you fall into one of those two groups, you won’t want to miss this year’s event. Click here to access the conference center that will give you everything you need to plan for three days in Chicago that can profoundly change your business.
If NARMS members had a collective New Year resolution, it would probably include becoming a more effective and efficient retail solution. As your trade association, NARMS has focused on being your resolution enabler in the coming year. So to get 2010 kicked off in grand style, here’s a quick run-down of some the resources and valued programs we are offering to help you.
It starts with our showcase event, the NARMS 2010 Spring Conference on April 17-20, 2010. The agenda includes Connection Sessions with manufacturers and retailers on Monday; five NARMS-U sessions with CEU credits; division workshops and a trade show. While we are on the topic, December 31st is the last day for discounted prices for NARMS Spring Conference Registration and Saddlebrook Rooms. Conference registration before December 31 is $450 and after that date is $500. Hotel Registration before December 31 @ 5:00 EST (Non-cancelable fee) is $199 per night and after that time is $229.00 (still $20 less than original contracted room rate).
We are also featuring STRATCONN on July 28-29, 2010. This is a business to business event focused on retail execution with meetings between buyers (manufacturers and retailers) and sellers (service companies).
2010 will also see the first findings of the Return on Retail Investment (RORI) study, an analysis of in-store retail execution.
Each month, NARMS-U Webinars offer you an educational forum without leaving the comfort of your office. These hour-long sessions run the gamut from business learning experiences to common personnel issues. The sessions are complimentary to members.
We also offer recruitment resources 24/7/365 in the form of JobBank, Career Connection and The Recruiter. These resources have been around for years, but have evolved over time to keep pace with the demanding challenge of operating a decentralized workforce. Also on www.narms.com, we offer Member Discount Programs to help your company find business support resources at great, member only rates.
We could go on-and-on, but the point here is to make sure you take full advantage of your membership by visiting www.narms.com and engaging the many available resources that will help your New Year resolutions become reality.
May you travel the road of prosperity in 2010!
With the New Year but days away, many of us are taking stock of what we want to accomplish in 2010. This is particularly true for CPG manufacturers who will look for new product innovation to drive consumers back to traditional brands. A report on neilsenwire called, “Innovation Creates Opportunities for CPG Growth,” forwards the notion that success in the New Year will be driven by innovation in the form of new products, new formats and new promotions.
According to the Neilsen story, “winning brands will innovate and differentiate.” This is driven by the fact that sales of store brands have jumped by $12 billion or almost 17 percent. The counter attack is to differentiate with new products, flavors, packaging and social media campaigns designed to build rapid awareness.
Rapid awareness of new products must also be accompanied by rapid deployment on the shelves. It just so happens that this skill is something that NARMS members are exceptionally good at doing. The recently released NARMS Survey of At-Retail Marketing Practices found that manufacturers and retailers grade our group of at-retail merchandising and marketing professionals as very effective in speed-to-shelf activities. They also tell us that the faster sales lift from new item cut-ins can increase sales by 15%.
There seems to be two kinds of approaches emerging. The first is the Wal-Mart “Project Impact” initiative which features cleaner isles and limited assortment. The other is an effort to distinguish by offering a wider selection to cater to variety seekers. In either case, the ability to execute at the shelf will be pivotal in success or failure.
By now, the link to the December issue of NARMS Today is waiting for each and every one of you in your email in box. As you recall, NARMS Today is now a strictly digital publication. In case you missed it amid a flurry of incoming mail, here is another link. Make sure you follow the link and take a few moments to read and make note of all the great industry information and updates that make up this quarterly publication that is a valuable part of the NARMS communication program.
This issue starts off in high gear with a message from NARMS Chairperson, Don Koller. His article entitled, “The Finish Line is the Bottom Line,” is a great synopsis of how NARMS and its member benefits can help you reach ultimate success in your business.
In, “Quality is Now More Than a Hope and A Prayer, NARMS President/CEO Dan Borschke discusses how the new NARMScertifyU will help the industry achieve a high level of quality and consistency by offering learning modules to field reps.
Is today’s retail industry economy “bucking you around”? Check out Ken’s Keystrokes where NARMS Vice President Ken McKenzie takes a lighter look in, “Can You See Yourself at a Rodeo?”
In case you have not been keeping up with association events and happenings, you will want to review NARMS News and the Spring Conference Highlights pages which will get you caught up in a quick glance.
As always, our Divisional Committee heads have contributed to the issue with a review of division activity and recap of recent divisional meetings. Included are articles by Steve Workman and Carlos Rocca of the MSO division, Gregg Morrison of the PIC division, Kelly Baker of the Manufacturer’s division, Carolyn Weiland of the Associate Member division, Jim Hall of the IFBA and Julie Nichols of the Event Marketing division.
The issue ends with another value packed article by frequent contributor Jim Pancero in his, “You Can Always Sell More,” series.
NARMS Today is an important building block in the further development of our industry. You owe it to yourself to find a few minutes in a busy day to take a break and get caught up on NARMS happenings. We know you will enjoy this issue.
We know from our day to day duties as at-retail merchandising and marketing companies that there are certain categories that contract for our services more than others. We also know from our vast experience that some brands and lines only require a minimum of attention on the shelf. Factors such as volume, frequency of purchase and price all play a significant role in driving the need for at-retail support. But according to a new study from NPD Group, as reported by Progressive Grocer, these barriers are not necessarily etched in stone.
The study says that each generation, “Makes a distinctive mark on how and what Americans will be eating 10 years from now.” There are differences in preference from one generation to the next due to behavior that happens with aging and the developing patterns of different life stages.
NPD Group says that, “Understanding the effect of aging on the various generations’ eating habits and preferences helps food and beverage companies develop long-range plans in terms of their overall product portfolio, positioning and innovation.” As a major part of these companies go-to-market strategy, it’s important that we understand the effects as well.
So what food groups are the fastest growing as far as consumption in the next ten years? According to the report they are salty/savory snacks, easy meals, center-of-plate proteins (meat entrees), sweet snacks/desserts, and heat-and-eat breakfasts. Increased consumption means rapid product movement and more innovation in the category. That’s bound to lead to out-of-stocks, speed-to-shelf and a whole range of shelf level support opportunities.
Private label and store brands have enjoyed a tremendous surge during recessional times as cash-strapped consumers seek comparable products at a lower price. The Willard Bishop Competitive Edge newsletter for November discusses how retailers can drive growth and draw a competitive advantage with private label. The “Four Pillars of a Successful Retailer Private Label Program” lays out a road map for retailers. The question that at-retail merchandising and marketing companies should be asking is, “How do we fit in the picture?”
If most experts’ predictions of permanent shopper behavior lasting long after the recession are correct, store brands and private label will continue to be a legitimate competitive concern for brand marketers. Not to mention a viable market for our services. The four pillars of Promotion, Pricing, Assortment, and Communication provide an avenue for at-retail companies to provide service on both sides of the aisle.
As retailers become more and more dependent on private label, the more they will realize that the new, higher quality store brands will run in to the same challenges as their brand-name competitors. The ongoing battle of out-of-stocks and new item speed to shelf will continue to challenge and overload the store’s ability to execute with current resources. The need for a variable cost, high quality model for projects and roll-outs will pass directly to the retailer or perhaps to the behind the scenes private label manufacturer. As far as promotion and communication, these store brands will not differentiate themselves simply by sitting on the shelf. At-retail programs will be needed to make comparisons to the brand name counterparts.. Shelf information will be critical to measure the effectiveness of pricing, promotion and assortment. Sampling and demonstrations will still be needed to introduce products and get consumers to seek trial.
In the end, the job of getting products and promotions to the last few feet of the retail shelf remains the same. The challenges, solutions and successes still hinge on at-retail execution.
Those of us in the at-retail merchandising and marketing world often see the Thanksgiving time as key date on the retail schedule. With Black Friday the next day, it is the official kickoff to the holiday sales lift and the make or break period of the sales year. But today, let’s take pause from all of that and focus on what the holiday is all about. It’s about inventory, the inventory of all the blessings in our personal and professional lives.
No doubt about it, it’s been a rough 18-24 months. The recession has taken its toll on all of our lives in a deep, meaningful and probably lasting way. But through it all, the members of NARMS have continued to support the advancement of the industry through continued membership, involvement and sponsorship. Your time and your treasure are greatly appreciated.
Because of this level of commitment and support, NARMS has actually been able to expand our service offerings to meet the needs of the marketplace in a time when many are pulling back. We are busy planning the 2010 Spring Conference at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa. A bold agenda that will feature our new NARMS-U platform is taking shape. Speaking of the NARMS-U educational platform, our NARMS Webinar series continues to receive high involvement and accolades as an indispensable member benefit.
Come to think of it, there is almost no area of the association that has gone without improvement and evolution. JobBank now has an unprecedented reach into social networking circles. We are bringing service companies and trading partners together with the StratConn business meetings and the Manufacturer and Retailer Sessions at Spring Conference. On the field personnel side, don’t forget about NARMScertify U and a potential field rep conference being worked on right now.
There is also new and exciting research on the way with the first offering of the RORI study, The Survey of At-Retail Marketing Services, continued research on the effects of Demonstrations and Sampling by Dr. Kenny Herbst and an update of PIC Division research called, “Continuing to Build out the Future of Retail.”
About halfway through the inventory, it’s apparent that this list goes on and on. So let’s just take time to reflect and give thanks for all the things that are good and right in our lives. And chief among those inventory items are the people of NARMS.. So whether you’re a member, associate, service provider, staff or friend, thank you for being part of our world.
It has been awhile since we visited the pages of Willard Bishop’s Competitive Edge. In the September edition, Craig Rosenbloom writes about the proliferation of Shopper Marketing Practices and how shopper data is evolving as a force in the 21st century. Having this opportunity to intimately know the consumer is certainly a great tool for tailoring on-line and at-retail consumer promotion, but as Rosenbloom asks, “Why are we only using shopper data for such limited applications?”
As the eyes and ears, as well as the arms and legs, of CPG manufacturers and retailers around the country, NARMS members are uniquely positioned to play a vital role in both the gathering of shopper data and the execution of any resulting at-retail plans. Because of this, it’s important to know in which direction that these trading partners might be headed with the application of information.
Although Rosenbloom offers three additional ways that marketers can use shopper data beyond target marketing, there is one that jumps off the page in the eyes of at-retail merchandising and marketing companies. That is the application toward assortment and space. With the perimeter of the store growing with necessary offerings to service the customer, that space has to come from somewhere. In most cases, it means that the center of the store is shrinking. Having less space makes each facing and end cap that much more valuable to our customer. Competitive Edge says that trading partners would be wise to use shopper data to optimize assortment offered in the dwindling space.
The article also introduces a term called, “affinity score.” An affinity score helps you decide what additional items a shopper is likely to buy with the purchase of a given item. This all leads to the creation of unique product placement. He uses the example of a, “breakfast center,” where milk, eggs, bacon and cereal are all available in the same place.
Knowledge is power. Shopper marketing data is power for trading partners and knowing the application of the data is power for our group of service companies. A deep understanding of what is driving our customers is invaluable in the evolution our service offering into a valuable go-to-market partnerships.
Just a little under a year ago, NARMS announced the formation of the Individual Membership program. This category of membership allows for an individual not associated with an active member firm or corporation but is engaged or has an interest in the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry to be a member of NARMS. We are pleased to announce a new service that will cater to our individual members.
Starting in 2010, NARMS will be creating a service which we are tentatively calling “In Transition” where individuals can post their resumes, cover letters and photos which will be searchable for management level position that are posted in the Career Connection or on the variety of social networks. This service will be linked to a NARMS Linked In and Face Book Page and will be an added benefit for all those who become a NARMS Individual Member at $49.95 per year. We all know people in the retail industry that are looking for employment and we see this as one more tool for them and possibly a few more individual members for us.
This new feature is a natural extension of the Individual Member benefit package because the modest member registration fee will allow for a somewhat limited participation, and thus create a more focused and effective tool for those seeking and hiring qualified individuals for management level positions. It should be pointed out that if field reps want to participate, they are eligible to become an NARMS Individual Member.
This venture is not seen as a huge revenue generator for the association. Rather, it is seen as something that can assist our member companies to find qualified managers and also those individuals who are currently out-of-work and could use a little help from their trade association
Stay tuned in the weeks and months to come for more information.