The best promos don't overlook the obvious - The Packer

The best promos don't overlook the obvious

11/09/2012 09:19:00 AM
Denise Donohue

Research from Nielsen Perishables Group tells us more than 80% of decisions to buy produce are made while the consumer is looking at it in the store.

Lettuce might be on the shopping list, but it doesn’t get into the cart until Mama decides it looks good.

Can we, as produce shippers and marketers, influence her decision moment?

For sure, and it can happen through retail activation.

If we can tell our story, or even reinforce our distinguishing characteristic at the point of sale — in addition to having great-looking produce — we’re more likely to make the sale.

So in pursuit of the influential in-store moment through retail activation, our team hit the road. We went to one of so-and-so’s stores and set up the model display we’d previously discussed.

It took three stores to find one with the proper product and a cooperative produce manager. But when we had the display arranged, we took cell phone photos and sent them to our point person while we were still in the store.

He e-mailed back directly, and asked us to move the boxes a bit to the right. We did, snapped and e-mailed more photos. We got approval for the project the next day, and a commitment to extend it two more weeks because of the late start!

Our team discussed the “teachable moment” in this success, which was truly the pay-off for years of fine-tuning the store relationship and the promotion.

We copied it again and again in the future.

The eye-opener was the realization that actually showing a produce buyer how a promotion would look in his stores by doing the nitty-gritty details vastly improved our opportunity for success. Cell phones and iPads make this easier than ever.

I don’t know if it was our job or his job to set up the display in his store. I do know our willingness to get into the car, hunt out a good store, talk to the managers, haul some props and generally take time away from our “regular work” was exactly what sealed this deal.

A bonus: Once the photos hit his inbox, this produce executive could easily forward them to his team with a rousing message of his own.

Folks, that’s an inside directive you want.

When we as produce shippers or sellers skip over this detailed front-line work, we’re making our consumer connection that much less likely.

Yes, it’s simpler to send a pile of money to do floor mats or in-store demos — if you have it. But sometimes the thrifty, hands-on answer to retail activation is right in front of our eyes.

Denise Donohue is founder of Donohue Associates, DeWitt, Mich., a marketing and public relations firm specializing in agriculture. Before that, she was director of the Michigan Apple Committee, Lansing.

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Christopher Mitchell    
Kansas City, MO  |  November, 16, 2012 at 03:50 AM

I think if companies hired great people who are really enamored by what they do, and stores hired people genuinely passionate about produce, there wouldn't be a problem with making "retail activation" a success. But too often I have seen people wasting space until their time comes for promotion. It's not a perfect world yet.

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