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By Joel M. Albrizio, President

"Retailers Create Big Weeks....They Don't Just Happen"

Retailers will always ask, whats the difference from one marketing approach to another? Is there a difference?

The food retailer typically believes if they pick a few good items and let it rip, retail success should be certain to follow.

As marketing executives we explain to the retailer anyone can put ink on paper or exploit digital channels. History however has shown all of us its the content with clear explanations of the retailers deliverables that raises sales.

With the right mix of items at a competitive price directed to and as an event that could evolve into an emotion of "its time to buy" or what we describe as a call to action.

What Ever Happened To The Continuity Plan?

When we look back a generation almost all food retailers employed continuity programs. These were programs initiated by the retailer where the customer would accumulate Green Stamps or point or even dishes and flatware on a weekly basis for continuing to shop the store offering the program.

Today, the struggling retailer forgets the continuity philosophy and advertises week to week with little rhyme or reason. The thought process of just tossing out items with no clear "North Star" to focus on and or towards leaves the average retail in the sales direction abyss.

"Eight O'clock....Time Ran Out For A&P"

A great example of a retailer loosing focus on a business plan and its then developing continuity and individuality is witnessing A&P's sale of the Eight O'clock brand in coffee.

Ask yourself.....if your A&P and at that time you own the most dominant brand in any category "Eight O'clock Coffee" how is it that you allow any other retailer join your exclusive club?

This is exactly what A&P did.

A&P derailed the capital investment in brand for quick cash and a lessened direction.

This lack of cognizance of brand and or individuality sent A&P into the proverbial death spiral. Many have learned from A&P but with that knowledge how is it we accomplish this?

Lets pick a sale week....A great week coming up is the "Super Bowl".

In the next couple of weeks we will all begin the playoffs and end with the "Super Bowl"

Obstacle one, we are not supposed to use the words "Super bowl" in an ad. So instead lets think towards the fantasy football approach and present to the customer a story that describes what we might offer the customer for upcoming fantasy football parties and ultimately what the big game offer is.

We need to prepare the retailers location. it must be properly described with every possible service we will offer to make any party a success.

I we are fortunate the dominant team in our market plays well into January or even the big game. if not we all the more need to keep any party or reason to frequent this supermarket.....

 "Top Of Mind"

So now we are all in, we know the weeks, the services and the merchandizers will choose the best products available. At this point we have given ourselves the highest likelihood for continued success.

The last remaining struggle is to turn down the wrong items at a great price only to accomplish a great price. While a great price is always helpful lets all agree what the difference between advertising and marketing is.

When advertising we get the word out on what is on sale.

Marketing is when we advertise with a plan and a direction!

When we cross into marketing we determine the correct business plan, choose carefully the right items and services and then complete the process by assembling all of these components into the resulting advertising.

So going forward we need to forget the quick fixes of the likes of A&P and concentrate on each of our marketing directions where we follow a well developed business plan and then and only then put ink on paper and exploit the digital channels.

Proper execution of a well composed marketing plan will remove the barriers to sustained retail success.

Thank-you for all of your ideas and support.