One of the big takeaways from the 2011 NARMS Spring Conference was how much our manufacturer and retail customers value field representative background screening and certification. They want to know that the people who are going into the store environment to provide at-retail merchandising and marketing services are good ambassadors of their brands. The leadership at NARMS is looking for your participation in a very brief on-line survey designed to help us get a clear picture of member needs in our Background Check and NARMScertifyU program. Click on the link here to participate in the survey. Only one person per company is asked to reply.
In 2005, NARMS teamed with USIS to provide affordable pre-employment screening services. For $8.00 per screening, the USIS/NARMS package included: A criminal records search via the USIS Widescreen National Criminal records database including sex offender data as provided by the various state sex offender files, social security number verification, search of the USMA National Retail Theft Database, wanted persons security screen and a terrorist watch list. USIS is now part of HireRight. USIS will conduct background screening for government accounts and HireRight for commercial accounts including NARMS.
NARMScertifyU is an online learning center offering career-building courses. Developed by industry experts for marketing service representatives, NARMScertifyU provides a valuable learning experience. Online courses can be accessed anywhere and anytime, so the reps can learn at their own pace. It is an opportunity to become an industry expert by earning course certificates. Each certificate earned leads to more exposure and credibility. The increased retail knowledge improves job satisfaction and overall success for all stakeholders.
It is only through your continued involvement as members that we can continuously improve our services, and together, raise the profile and professionalism of what it means to be a member of NARMS. Please take a few minutes of your busy day to take the survey. The data will be used to evaluate and evolve these tools.
News reports indicate our economy is rebounding and that retail sales are improving. Please help us understand if you are sharing in the recovery by completing this short survey. Your responses are confidential.
What if you could read the minds of decision makers at leading packaged goods vendors and retailers in regards to at-retail merchandising and marketing services? Well now you do not have to! Join us for the next NARMS Webinar on Thursday, November 12 at 1:00 P.M CST as we present, “The 2009 Survey of At-Retail Marketing Services.” Chris Dammann of The Christopher Group will share the findings of this attitudinal survey directed at the users and benefactors of at-retail marketing service companies. The NARMS Webinar series is sponsored by Natural Insight and brought to you through the technology of ReadyTalk.
The hour-long session will help you to gain trading partner insights, identify market needs and opportunities, quantify the value of at-retail activities and track marketplace conditions. You are invited to register for this event now! This NARMS Webinar is another in a series of member educational offerings by NARMS – U.
Dammann of The Christopher Group is one of the original at-retail marketing services observers and commentators. Having spent six years with an original member of NARMS, he combines that industry knowledge with the objectivity of nine years as an independent market research writer and consultant. Dammann last conducted this survey for NARMS in 2004 and is a frequent contributor to the NARMS InfoShare library. He is also editor-in-chief of NARMS Newsfeed and the author of the weekly Friday Focus blog on www.narms.com.
The session is complimentary to NARMS members as a membership service but is also made available to other interested persons at a non-member rate of $99.95. We encourage you to share this invitation with other co-workers and anyone else who might gain value from this information-sharing opportunity.
The MSO Division Committee heard preliminary results of the 2009 Survey of At-Retail Merchandising and Marketing Practices this week at their summer meeting in Dallas. These preliminary results provide some interesting and exciting analysis for all NARMS members. Because we want to be as inclusive as possible, there is still time for your customers and clients to participate. This story contains links to both a Manufacturer and Retailer on-line survey. We would ask all of our members to pass these links along to their manufacturer and retail clients for their participation. The project will be final in a few weeks so act now!
Manufacturer Study Link: http://tcg.formbin.com/forms/NARMS_manufacturer_survey
Retailer Study: http://tcg.formbin.com/forms/narms_retailer_survey
NARMS is surveying leading manufacturers and retailers to gain insight on their uses and opinions of at-retail merchandising and marketing services and the outsourced companies who provide them. Your customers’ responses are held confidential in order to protect their privacy and to receive candid data. The survey only takes a few minutes and is sent directly to The Christopher Group, an outside consulting agency. A final report will be issued this summer with only summary data being published. Individual responses and data are never revealed.
In order to stimulate participation, an advance copy of the final report will automatically be sent to all participants. The final report and a deck of plug and play slides will be made available this summer to NARMS members in the InfoShare section of www.narms.com. There will also be a NARMS Webinar scheduled for later in the year.
Many of our members ask how they can participate or get involved with the Association. Passing this survey along to your customers will produce results that will be beneficial to you, your customers and to the industry. Thanks in advance for your cooperation with this important initiative.
After just having completed the summer MSO Division Committee meeting yesterday, I thought it would be a good idea to bring the membership up-to-date on the types of things that your leadership group is up to. The meeting took place on Monday and Tuesday, July 13 and 14, in Grapevine, Texas at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Conference Center. The meeting kicks off our mid-year meeting schedule which culminates in NARMS Summer Board of Directors Meeting during the last week of July in Bloomington, Minnesota.
During our time in Texas, our MSO Division was called to order at 1:00 PM on Monday and immediately broke into a very lively and productive afternoon session. The first order of business was to hear from Chris Dammann who presented a preliminary look at the 2009 Survey of At-Retail Merchandising and Marketing Practices. Dammann shared the results of the survey, some key findings that the data seems to indicate and the next steps toward publishing the results in a few weeks. There is still an opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to participate, so if you know of a contact who would like to help us out, please direct them to these links: Manufacturer Survey, Retailer Survey.
Phil Lauria next took the podium and delivered an update on the landmark RORI Study. Lauria briefed the committee on activity that has been taking place since the announcement of the project during 2009 Spring Conference. In general, RORI is generating tremendous interest in the marketplace with many key players lining up to participate. Those interested in participating should contact Dan Borschke for details. Lauria also shared a timeline for the project leading up to the 2010 Spring Conference.
The afternoon finished out with Vicki Alarie sharing some feedback from our Manufacturers Division. Alarie facilitated the division’s roundtable discussions at the 2009 Spring Conference and has been in close contact with the members since that time. The feedback centered on how manufacturers feel the Association can be of better service, how Spring Conference could be improved, and general observations of the marketplace. Incidentally, the information shared by Alarie closely tracked with information shared by Dammann earlier. The discussions led directly into Lauria again addressing the group on additions to the NARMS Strategic Plan that he plans to share with the Board of Directors in Minneapolis.
On Tuesday morning, the group was brought up-to-date on the state of the Association and spent the balance of the morning discussing and making plans for the MSO agenda at the 2010 Spring Conference.
On Tuesday-Thursday, July 28-30, the NARMS Board of Directors will be meeting in the Minneapolis area at the Hilton Minneapolis/Bloomington. I will share more about the three day agenda in the near future. One of the more exciting items is a Manufacturer/Retailer Reception scheduled for Tuesday evening. This is designed to introduce new Trading Partners members to the organization. If you have a contact in the Twin Cities area that you think would be interested in attending and meeting association leadership, please pass along this invitation. NARMS 7/15/09
As you read this story, the Survey of At-Retail Merchandising and Marketing Service Practices is in the home stretch. NARMS is surveying leading manufacturers and retailers to gain insight on their uses and opinions of at-retail merchandising and marketing services and the outsourced companies who provide them. As very important members of our association, it is important that our Retailer and Manufacturer Divisions weigh in. If you have not already done so, there is still time for your opinions to be heard.
As members of NARMS, our manufacturer and retailer members play a vital role in our community. They give us a direct line to what is going on in the retail industry and how our service company members can best be of service. They are also able to network to share best practices and recruit to fortify their own field staffs by filling retail jobs.
Thus far, many of our manufacturer and retailer members have yet to participate in the study. And while the survey is open to any and all manufacturers or retailers, we feel it is important that our members lead the way and participate on a high level. The project is being carried out by an outside firm, so your candid responses are confidential. A final report will be issued this summer with only summary data being published. Those who provide contact information will receive an advance copy of the Executive Summary and the report will be available to all members later in the InfoShare library.
So if you are one of our manufacturer or retailer members and have not already done so, please click on the appropriate link. You can access the Manufacturer Survey by clicking here, and the Retailer Survey by clicking here. The survey only takes a few minutes, but the data speaks volumes in allowing us to identify trends and gain insight into the marketplace. It also allows for an evaluation of the performance of outsourced partners as a valuable conduit to identify areas of improvement and opportunity. There is still time for your voice to be heard!
At times, news of the economy and dismal retail conditions can grow tiresome. While indicators are starting to show signs of a recovery, sales numbers are yet to follow. The Conference Board reported this week a big jump in their Consumer Confidence Index. A number of your fellow NARMS members recently participated in a brief survey designed to measure direct impact on the at-retail merchandising and marketing business, and what exactly the reality is for our members.
Forty-four percent of those surveyed revealed that they have seen a recent growth in business, with 33% saying they have experienced recession. Another 21% said that their business has stagnated. For those on the growth side, 51% said they have accomplished growth through new clients and 33% reported additional work from existing clients. Half of the respondents also said that they have seen less work from existing clients.
The numbers seem to suggest that savvy NARMS members are finding new customers in areas where clients need help at retail. Seventy percent said that they have made changes to their sales and marketing plan to address their situation. The other 30% seem to be staying the course. It appears that at least some of the respondents are finding NARMS resources helpful in their marketing plans and sales presentations with 37% saying they take advantage. When it comes to making sales, NARMS members are self-sufficient with 56% saying they employ a dedicated sales staff and another 28% saying that new sales are acquired by company leadership.
It also looks like many members have been tightening their belts in order to deliver top service to customers while still delivering margin to the bottom line. Thirty percent reported having cut down on the amount of supervision that they employ. Another 24% said that they have reduced the amount of dollars spent on technological purchases. A significant amount of companies (48%) said they have made no changes to the actual field force and another 19% said they have increased in that area. Some (28%), of course, reported a reduction. On a corresponding note, activity on NARMS JobBank has seen a recent upswing.
While most are optimistic about retail conditions in the very near term, they still seem somewhat guarded. Thirty-two percent said they see any pull-backs in hiring or hiring freezes to end this year, but 59% said that they simply did not yet know when a hiring freeze would lift. The best bet is that it would coincide with an upswing in the retail industry which many (32%) say will happen in Q3 of this year. Another 27% believe it will happen in Q4. A significant 24% aren’t quite as sure, saying an up-tick won’t occur until Q2 of 2010.
We thank those who took the few minutes to help us take the temperature of the at-retail merchandising and marketing industry. The results help each us know where we stand in the industry, and if there is something we should or could be doing about the current situation. The results also help NARMS to, “Sharpen our saw,” in our service offerings to you.