The legendary comedy of Mitch Hedberg (1968 – 2005) is often played at Promoboxx HQ. So, it was cool to discover that one of his jokes nails the Promoboxx benefits.
Every McDonald’s commercial ends the same way, right? “Prices and participation may vary.” I wanna open a McDonald’s and not participate in anything. I wanna be a stubborn McDonald’s owner. Cheeseburgers? Nope. We got spaghetti! And blankets!
Mitch got how independent retailers go rogue in their local marketing efforts, and how national advertising teams often have no idea what their retailers are doing. So, imagine if you were a customer at Mitch’s store? You’d leave laughing, but with a pretty skewed perspective of the McDonald’s brand.
It kills me to see ad disclaimers that say, “valid at participating retailers only.” Why don’t they know who’s participating? What if a customer walks into retailer asking about a promotion, but gets a confused look? Retail anxiety is high enough, consumers don’t need to be concerned with brand-to-retailer communication issues. The current state of communication between the national brand and their retailers is not efficient. There may be a national sales conference or a few conference calls, but nothing that strengthens the brand-to-retailer relationship. What to do?
Our recommended approach is simple, send them communication asking them to participate in a promotion, explain to them why its a good idea, than ask them to say yes (or no), and BOOM you have an accurate list of the participating retailers.
Rogue brand marketing by local independent retailers is a consequence of having independent people sell your products. This happens all the way from the “mom and pops,” to strong franchise networks like McDonalds, to store managers of vertically integrated retailers like Walmart. The more you delegate marketing decisions to your resellers, the more likely those making the decisions will stray from your brand message.
Again, our recommended approach is very simple. Provide your retailers with materials that keep them aligned with you national promotion, while giving them parts of the campaign to customize and highlight their independence. Respecting who they are, even just a little, goes a long way. Your retailers will be happy because you are providing them content that drives more in-store traffic. You’ll be happy because they will be selling more of your brand.
My final recommendation, is to first listen to Mitch Hedberg, he’s amazing. But, more specifically, apply some realistic best practices to your promotion that maximize both retailer and consumer participation.