Mike Anthony @ engage consultants

Mike Anthony on Shopper Marketing

Do retailers care about your brand?

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Tesco - returning to "Pile it high, sell it cheap"?

We say it again and again in seminars. Retailers don’t care about your brand. The latest round of “price wars” in the UK should remind us that for all of the talk of collaborative shopper marketing, retailers have their goals, manufacturers have theirs, and retailers will risk the health of a manufacturer’s brand to achieve their goals. Tesco announced its price cuts a few weeks ago. Last week Waitrose joined the pricing fray; and Sainsbury promised to match Tesco’s prices. After the press release, Tesco launched its price cuts with a Blippar driven ad –Innovative execution, sure, but underneath it is just a spiced up price roll back after all.

After all this talk of more sophisticated marketing from retailers it is just a little disappointing that, when the going gets tough, the price lever is just too tempting. And any goal alignment, common strategic intent, or collaborative agreements may well go out of the window.

In a conversation with someone I was coaching, I explained the situation like this:
“It is this lack of common long term goals that is the problem. In the short term, goals may be aligned, but in the long term, they are diametrically opposed. The retailer cares little what a shopper buys, but cares a lot about where they buy it. Manufacturers are the opposite, with a passion for what shoppers buy, and significantly less regard for where it is bought. From time to time a sense of alignment can be created, where both these goals can be served; but to base your entire shopper marketing on that premise would be nuts”

Don’t get me wrong – retail collaboration can be valuable, is often essential and sometimes highly rewarding: but treat it as it is – collaboration, not a partnership. Collaboration is where someone helps you get somewhere: partnership is where you go with someone, on a shared journey with a common goal.

This is why our shopper marketing approach starts with the consumer – your consumer – the target for your brand; and ends with the retailer. Collaboration in some way is essential to make things happen in-store, but manufacturers should start with their brands and their strategies, not the retailer’s.


Written by Mike Anthony

October 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm

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