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Introducing Rhonda Bauer, New Sr. Director of Marketing and Trade Relations

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Another exciting week at NARMS as the Association for at-retail merchandising and marketing service companies announced that Rhonda Bauer will be coming on board as the new Senior Director of Marketing and Trade Relations. Bauer will have primary responsibility for the ongoing marketing and branding of NARMS International and will provide valuable counsel and support to Executive Director Tom Caddell.

Bauer comes to NARMS with as strong track record for developing fully integrated strategic and tactical marketing programs and campaigns. Bauer is an accomplished senior marketing executive with extensive experience in branding, marketing, advertising and public relations. Twenty plus years of agency leadership honed her skills as she developed and implemented results-driven marketing programs for national corporations, regional companies and entrepreneurial, family-owned businesses.

She has been actively involved with numerous organizations, including SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), IFA (International Franchise Association), AAF (American Advertising Federation) and many other local associations. Bauer has published more than a dozen articles and her marketing contributions are broadly represented in many facets of the consumer goods and services arena.

Among her many duties at NARMS will be to develop and execute a comprehensive marketing plan that measures and evaluates the value and return of NARMS resources to the members and the industry. Bauer will develop Association communications, public relations and trade relations with the goal of advocating for the increasingly high standards of the at-retail service industry and its individual members. She will also be the primary liaison between the Association and the Independent Food Brokers (IFBA) division.

You will be seeing and hearing a lot more from Rhonda in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, you can reach her via email at: rbauer@narms.com. She will be located in Colorado at the new NARMS headquarters at NARMS International, 2095 West 6th Ave, Suite 213#, Broomfield, Co 80020. The new headquarters will officially open on July 1.

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IFBA Top to Top on Tap for Windy City

March 22, 2012 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store

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The Retail Merchandising & Marketing Conference (RMMC) is not the only NARMS event in the works. The 9th Annual IFBA Top to Top Executive Business Conference is a gathering of leaders among food brokers, manufacturers and suppliers to the food and CPG channels. The event is slated for May 15-17, 2012 at the Renaissance Chicago Hotel. Registration for the event, as well as sponsorship opportunities and meeting room reservations are available on-line now at the Top to Top Conference Center on www.narms.com.

Hosted by the IFBA division of NARMS International, this event provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity for self-scheduled B2B meetings between manufacturer/suppliers and broker members of IFBA/NARMS. The IFBA is a global trade association that gathers a broad array of retail service companies with manufacturer/suppliers and retailers.

This conference annually provides networking opportunities as brokers and manufacturers from all across North America fill their schedule with B2B meetings. It is also a chance to rub elbows with other brokers and manufacturers at evening social events and gain valuable market perspectives from industry leaders. The keynote address this year will be delivered by Roger Davidson, Chief Operating Officer, MaGi Foods LLC.

Supplier attendees will not want to miss out on the Manufacturer Share Group Session on Tuesday, May 15 from 11:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. We encourage that at least one representative from each registered manufacturing company attend this idea/issue-sharing conversation to be led by frequent IFBA/NARMS contributor Harold Lloyd.

The 2012 IFBA Top to Top Conference has three robust days planned. If you have not already registered, the only thing missing is you! Registration, hotel, sponsorship and meeting room information is available by clicking here at the Top to Top Conference Center or by visiting www.narms.com.

Outsourcing Gaining Traction

August 30, 2011 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

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An item in Supermarket News by Mark Hamstra examines the world of Sales and Marketing Agencies both from the standpoint of large national players and regional independent brokers like those who belong to the IFBA. The message is quite clear. In tough economic times, it makes sense for CPG manufacturers and retailers to outsource sales and at-retail merchandising and marketing functions. According to one analyst, these partners provide cost savings, enhanced sales flexibility, increased depth of coverage and increased service frequency. Many of the experts quoted in the story are long standing members of NARMS and the IFBA.

In a nutshell, here is what the story has to say. The industry is seeing increased outsourcing by CPG companies that seek to focus on core competencies. Hybrid relationships are being formed using support functions such as category management. Agency value is being increased due to acquisitions of or alliances with smaller specialized brokers that add key relationships or retail channels. Agencies are providing additional retail services such as demos and resets. Members are expanding beyond grocery into alternative channels such as drug and convenience stores.

The story quotes a 2007 study by GMA that said sales agencies and brokers provide $4.8 billion in value to the industry. There has been a movement for some who have never traditionally outsourced toward models in which they outsource some or all functions. A popular model is a hybrid approach in which the manufacturer keeps key accounts in-house, but may delegate other product lines to sales agencies. The supplier might keep headquarters selling, but outsource service and category management to the agency.

Outsourcing is the business philosophy that drives most of the members of NARMS. The use of outsourcing is not necessarily counter-cyclical but economic downturns, in which manufacturers and retailers are looking for every conceivable edge, provide an enhanced stage for members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry. You can link to the story by clicking here.

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Drug Stores Feast on Food Expansion

August 18, 2011 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store

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This week we introduced you to the Supermarket News Category Review, an analysis of category trends supported by SymphonyIRI data. In a companion piece today, SN Editor-in-Chief David Orgel takes a closer look at how the Drug Channel is leveraging the economy and an expanded food aisle to increase market share. Orgel was a keynote speaker at the IFBA Top to Top Conference last May.

Orgel uses several categories to illustrate that, in some cases, food sales are increasing faster in drug than in grocery stores. Beer sales in drug stores rose almost 7 percent, frozen dinners sales rose almost 16 percent and dog food increased 17 percent in the 52 weeks that ended June 12. These increases are compared to flat results in supermarkets.

Several economic factors are driving these food category gains in the drug channel. Fuels prices have increased the frequency of visits because drug outlets are often more convenient. Quick trips to replenish are becoming more frequent than big stock up missions that require a trip to the supermarket. The drug channel has also done a good job increasing the basket size of heavy shoppers while at the same time attracting heavy shoppers from other channels.

The members of NARMS, at-retail merchandising and marketing service experts, have always provided service in all channels of trade. There may be increased opportunity to expand drug channel visits as food items often require more frequent service to avoid out-of-stocks or to place promotional material. The members of the IFBA division provide sales and marketing services for food brands directly to retailers and are particularly adept at providing regional and market specific expertise in the areas they service.

Click here to read the Orgel editorial. It appears that CPG manufacturers and their retail partners will leave no stone unturned in the quest to build market share. The members of NARMS stand ready to help them in that mission.

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Moving Shopper Insights Closer to Reality

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Supermarket News is providing blanket coverage of the FMI Future Connect 2011 conference this week. Editors David Orgel and Mark Hamstra are contributing to a Total Access Blog giving readers a chance to visit subject matter right along with the conference participants. Orgel will be delivering the keynote address on Tuesday, May 17 at NARMS own IFBA Top to Top Conference held next week in Chicago at the Renaissance Chicago Hotel.

In one blog post, Orgel reports on a session about Shopper Insights featuring Trish Brynjolfsson, vice president, Brand and Industry Development, Catalina Marketing. Anyone who spends time reading industry trade publications or attending retail related trade gatherings has by now heard the term and is familiar with the topic. Basically, leveraging Shopper Insights is about knowing the consumer better and using techniques and technology to increase returns. Brynjolfsson says it is about building volume, loyalty and gaining trial of new items.

Most of the techniques suggested in the blog revolve around using shopper data to target consumers. For members of NARMS, professional at-retail merchandising and marketing service providers, these suggestions can lead to more opportunities to execute the ideas in-store.

The first and perhaps most obvious is to gather the shopper data and insights in the first place. Most NARMS members provide mystery shop and audit capabilities to gather and disseminate the data through advanced reporting and hand-held technology. This customer experience data adds a vital human element to the scan data.

When it comes to encouraging trial of new products, the members of NARMS Event Marketing Division are experts at carrying out at-retail samplings, demonstrations and special events that are proven to increase sales and enhance brand awareness.

NARMS members must continue to beat the drum that without execution at the shelf, these concepts are simply good ideas that go unrealized. Whether at the front end of gathering data, or the back end of executing the resulting strategy, NARMS members can be the force that moves Shopper Insights past the proof-of-concept stage and closer to reality.

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A Revisit to NARMS.COM

May 3, 2011 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

Each year, companies who belong to a trade association have to make the choice to renew their membership for another year. No doubt, that decision causes a review of the cost versus benefit before the final decision is made. At NARMS, we are happy that so many at-retail merchandising and marketing service companies decided to join us again in 2011. We also want to remind you that if you are seeking added value features, there are many available every day by getting reacquainted with www.narms.com.

When visiting the site, you see a front page filled with information. The banner section gets you filled in on upcoming events, conferences and services such as the IFBA Top to Top Conference coming up on May 17-19 or the recently completed 16th Annual NARMS Spring Conference. There is already preliminary information on the 2012 Spring Conference that will be held in Tampa, Florida. There is also a link to each individual service division of NARMS. The MSO, Event Marketing, PIC, IFBA and Associate Divisions all have their own unique landing page.

NARMS is also committed to fresh content and thought leadership brought to you through two weekly blogs, Top Shelf and What’s In-Store. These are also sent out directly to your email box every Tuesday and Thursday. There is also a spot for NARMS corporate press releases. An advertising bar near the top of the home page includes a direct link to the NARMScertifyU program for your field reps and training staff. Upcoming segments of the hugely popular NARMS Webinar Series can be found by clicking the Webinar tab.

Under the Members Area pull down menu, make sure you check out Deals for Members, where you can find links to companies who have put together special programs for NARMS members at attractive rates. Services include transportation, health care options, business communication needs and vital human resource needs such as background screening services.

Each member of NARMS enjoys a searchable listing that can be used by CPG manufacturers and retailers to find the service company to fit their needs. Members have the option to upgrade to an Expanded Listing in order to provide even more information and links to their corporate site, blogs or videos.

One of the more popular uses for www.narms.com is for staffing purposes. Tens of thousands of field reps use the Recruiter to help find merchandising and other in-store work. Many of our members with Expanded Listings use the Recruiter as their main staffing database. Other members go a step further and choose to advertise their jobs using the NARMS JobBank. All of these listings also utilize social media to not only draw people to the site, but also push out the information to NARMS official Social Media Channels.

This column only scratches the surface to describe all the value added features of www.narms.com. To see for yourself, visit us today and keep coming back often.

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Spring Conference Meetings Bring Action

April 21, 2011 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store

2011confMeetings at the 16th Annual NARMS Meeting, Conference and Exhibition, held last week, resulted in significant action by the NARMS Board of Directors to ensure the future prosperity of our Association. Leaders from the at-retail merchandising and marketing service industry engaged in a candid conversation in several forums. The first was the annual Board of Directors meeting, the second was a joint session of the Board and members of each Divisional Committee, and the third was a town hall question and answer session as part of the NARMS Annual Business Meeting. Here are the action items brought forward:

A committee will be formed to provide recommendations on the location and format for future Spring Conferences. The recommendations for locations will be in effect after 2012, as the Board had earlier decided to stick with the prior commitment to Saddlebrook in Tampa, Florida. The board is actively seeking volunteers to serve on this committee along with Jim Fulk, Judy Einbinder, and Marc Shapiro. Contact Ken McKenzie at NARMS headquarters if you would be interested in serving in this capacity.

The Board is proud to announce the following Division Chairpersons: Ken Kress and John Gillis will co-chair the MSO Committee, Lucas Pierce will chair the Event Marketing Committee, Gregg Morrison will chair the PIC Committee, Jim Hall will chair the IFBA Committee until a replacement can be determined, Kelly Baker will chair the Manufacturer Committee, and Charlie Fanning will chair the Associate Committee.

During the town hall Q & A, some concern was voiced over the current relevancy of the NARMS Mission Statement. Subsequent discussion revealed the need to review and revise the statement to better reflect the current state of the Association. Judy Einbinder has stepped forward to be the point person for the project. The revision will be passed through the board for input and then forwarded to the Membership to be reviewed.

Much attention was given to filling the vacant Executive Director position. The Board spent significant time listening to the members as they voiced their opinions about what they desired in a new leader. The Board is currently compiling a list of requirements in order to craft a job description to use in the search process.

The final, major topic of discussion revolves around the future strategic direction of NARMS. The Board will provide members with updates on a 60-day cycle, and more frequently if needed, to make sure that all members understand and support the direction and strategy of the Association. In doing so, the Board is seeking a greater level of transparency in initiatives such as RORI, Accreditation, and development of a project in collaboration with University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Perhaps the biggest observation from the annual get together is that the NARMS Board of Directors and leadership have been listening to the members and that the members have been heard. If you attended the conference, we are seeking your input on the event. Please click here to participate in a brief survey. #NARMSCON451

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Orgel to Discuss Trends at IFBA Top to Top

April 19, 2011 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Top Shelf

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Only a month remains until the 8th Annual IFBA Top to Top Executive Business Conference, held this year on May 17-19 at the Chicago Renaissance Hotel. The three-day networking event is filled with opportunities for CPG manufacturers to meet with independent brokers from all across North America. In addition to networking, the annual event features a chance for attendees to hear market perspectives from industry thought leader David Orgel, Editor-in-Chief of Supermarket News. The Keynote Address will take place on Day One, May 17 at 4:00 PM.

As Editor-in-Chief of Supermarket News and Content Director of Penton Food Group, Orgel has his finger on the pulse of the trends that are shaping the food industry. Orgel brings over 25 years of experience as an industry observer holding editorial positions at Fairchild News Service, DNR (Daily News Record), Outlet News, Club News and ultimately Supermarket News.

Supermarket News magazine is a nationally circulated, paid, weekly trade publication edited for executive decision-makers in the food industry. Their lineup of annual features includes: Power 50 list of executives; Top 75 list of companies; award issues focused on Retail Excellence, Community Service, Marketing, Supplier Category Excellence and Technology. SupermarketNews.com is a comprehensive website that is increasingly a one-stop source for industry information online. Tools include real-time news throughout the day, profiles and feature stories, opinion columns, data and resources, photo galleries, and video.

With at-retail insights from David Orgel and all of the valuable networking opportunities, you will not want to miss this business building event. Registration is now open and on-line. Everything you need to know for your mid-May trip to the Windy City is available on the Conference Center page at www.narms.com.

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Merger and Acquisition Activity Rebound

December 30, 2010 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store

fiIn the latest edition of The Lempert Report, food industry observer Phil Lempert reports on The Food Institute and its annual report on Food Industry Mergers and Acquisitions for 2010. While the final report will not be available until February, Lempert shares some early numbers released by the Institute. The findings are good news for members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing services industry, who often act as change agents to execute the at-retail results of merger and acquisition activity among retailers and brand marketers.

According to the story, merger and acquisition activity has tracked slightly over 300 deals in 2010 which is an increase of around 20% over 2009. Although that is a strong indication of a rebound, it is still well shy of the 422 deals recorded in 2008. In particular, the third quarter alone saw over 100 deals announced. The timing of those deals should be of interest to NARMS members.

Being at the ready is a hallmark of NARMS members. On the retailer side, our PIC members are experts at converting stores in all channels to a new banner. While some stores close down for a brief period to remodel, there are also many other instances where the store stays open. Either way, this group of change experts is adept at getting stores changed over on-time and on-budget.

Brand acquisitions often are accompanied by a shift in go-to-market strategy as the new owner attempts to grow or expand its new property with an enhanced at-retail marketing presence. MSOs and Event Marketers can quickly put programs into place with their expert decentralized workforce of trained retail representatives to help brand marketers realize the expected sales lift sooner. The independent food brokers of the IFBA are regional experts at expanding the distribution of brands into new markets.

Increased mergers and acquisitions almost always mean new at-retail marketing activity. You can stay in touch with this activity by reading the weekly merger and acquisition column in the weekly Food Institute Report.

Making a List

December 23, 2010 by Newsfeed Editor  
Filed under Friday Focus, What's in store

holiday-shopVarious reports from industry analysts and the Commerce Department are describing improved, and in some cases, even optimistic retail sales results for the all important holiday shopping season. For members of the at-retail merchandising and marketing services industry, that is welcome news. As some parts of the country are digging out from a record setting snowfall, the economy is also showing signs of recovery. Retail sales are leading the charge as an important indicator of consumer confidence. Shoppers, although still vigilant, are starting to dig out of a long and heavy spending lull which brings the retail industry new meaning when wishing each other a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

For NARMS, the holidays mean that it is time to put a bow on the many offerings that enable our members to have a happy new year. In the spirit of the season, we are making a list of some things to look forward to.

NARMS membership renewal and expanded listing payments are due December 31, 2010. You have the option to renew your membership online with a credit card payment at http://www.narms.com/renew. You may also use the traditional method of completing the hard copy renewal form that was previously emailed and paying by check or credit card. For any help with the renewal process or to get your questions answered, contact Sue Witkowski or Paulette Blaskey. Their phone number is 715-342-0948.

Do not delay in registering for the NARMS Spring Conference. Registration for the NARMS 2011 Spring Conference is available in the conference area on narms.com. The agenda, a link to hotel reservations, sponsorship information, and conference registration can be found here. Trade show information is also available. The registration fee is discounted through December 31st so register early. On January 1st the fee is increased from $475 per person to $525 per person.

The 8th Annual IFBA Top to Top Executive Business Conference will be held on May 17-19, 2011 at Renaissance Chicago Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. Registration for the event will be on-line shortly.

GlobalShop is an exciting option for your sales and marketing plans in 2011. The show runs from March 28-30 in Las Vegas at the Sands Expo and Convention Center. NARMS is one of three associations who are co-sponsoring GlobalShop, the largest annual trade show and conference dedicated to store design, visual merchandising and shopper marketing.

These are just a few items on the list of a value packed membership platform for 2011. Stay tuned for more details in the weeks and months ahead. From all of us here in the NARMS family, may each of you have a very Merry Christmas, a happy holiday and a safe and prosperous New Year.

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