For many retail marketers, kicking off brand initiatives with their local retailer network can provide an interesting challenge. Whether trying to bring them on board for a new retail marketing strategy or engage them with digital assets, there are a number of questions, issues, or doubts that can arise on the retailer’s side.
Local retailers are time and resource strapped, and if you aren’t directly addressing their goals and needs from the start, you won’t be driving your initiatives home. Taking a note from the experiences of both the Promoboxx Retailer Support and Brand Account teams, here are five steps to kicking off successful brand initiatives with retailers:
If you want your initiative to be successful with your retailers, you have to be willing to learn from what did or didn’t work in the past. What was their response to your previous initiatives? What got them involved or what left them cold? Ask yourself these questions, and take into consideration any retailer surveys, data, and/or feedback that you may have accessible. From there, you can work to improve and make your newest initiative your strongest yet.
For those that don’t have these materials at hand, get to it! Retailer data and feedback can make or break the launch of a new program.
Starting out, you have to manage the expectations of your retailers. Any ambiguity with the timeline of your initiative will strip it of urgency and, ultimately, make it less impactful. Initiatives don’t work like magic. They won’t immediately provide the results both you and the retailer want or expect, and that’s okay, as long as you’re making this apparent.
“Here’s what will begin to happen from day one, here’s when you should expect to see positive results and growth…” Be clear about what your retailers can expect when, from the day you launch to a few months down the line and so on moving forward.
Many times, when an initiative fails to launch, it’s because the brand makes the conversation more about themselves and less about the retailer. Yes, you always want to keep the brand’s goals in mind throughout, but when you’re reaching out to your retailers, you have to rewrite the conversation around them.
For one, focus on the benefits that the initiative provides the retailer. As an example, when bringing retailers onto the Promoboxx platform, it’s effective to highlight the fact that it’s free for them, it makes digital marketing easier, and it saves them both time and resources. Talk their language, and speak to them on a level that they can work and identify with; retailer empathy can be your greatest ally.
From there, include them in your vision and rally together. Chances are, your initiative is nothing without support on the retailer side, so don’t make it a one-sided conversation. Together, you can help them understand the why of the initiative and how their participation is crucial to successful end results for all.
After you’ve worked to validate the initiative with your retailers, you have to get your sales reps to do the same. A brand’s sales reps are an invaluable part of bringing retailers on board, and if they’re left in the dark, the retailers will be stuck in the same boat.
Solidify your relationships with the reps and keep them involved. Help them to understand the value on their end. Offer them education and the materials to match, so that when they speak with the retailers, they are fully informed and won’t be left with lingering questions.
It’s extremely important that your sales reps feel comfortable and knowledgeable about your new initiative, so it’s essential that you provide them with whatever they may need to get to that level of expertise.
You’ve looked to retailer data and feedback to create a stronger kick off. You’ve made the timeline of the initiative as clear as you can. You’ve created a holistic conversation that makes clear the goals and benefits for all involved. Now what? Get moving!
The next step to getting the ball rolling on your initiative is to make it as easy possible for the retailer to participate. For that, you need to offer educational training, tools, and resources. It’ll be difficult for your retailers to get involved if they aren’t fully informed about the ins and outs. Whether through a webinar on particular features or a face-to-face demo, everybody needs to understand the initiative in order to ensure success for all.
Follow these five effective steps, and your newest brand initiative is on its way to being your most successful one yet. Only you can do what’s necessary to ensure awesome for both your brand and your local retailers!