I enjoyed my client side time in the world of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (or FMCG). It is a great world that highlights the entire spectrum of textbook sales and marketing, some of these include:
- The power of brand marketing
- The close relationship between sales and marketing
- The importance of cross-functional (inter-departmental) teams
- The discipline of implementing a 'Go-To-Market' strategy for every product
- How mass (or global) marketing filters down to the local (store level) promotions
- The power of channel management
- Consumer behaviour, psychology, research, insights and their impact on marketing segmentation strategies...
- and the list goes on...
More simply, you have the chance to not only 'ask' but to 'analyse' why someone may buy Dove over Nivea? Napisan over Sard? Maltesers over Flake? Or any of the above products over supplementary products that could fulfil the same need or want.
Although I should be a savvy consumer with my marketing knowledge, I am still a sucker for the marketing techniques and campaigns of the FMCG world in my day to day life. For example, I appreciate well executed branding, good packaging that clearly states a products benefits, cannot go past a good 'value' pack and feel the urge to try a competing brand with a decent price promotion...half of the time for something I don't actually need.
How does someone like myself still get sucked in by this marketing?
Aside from the traditional brand and product marketing, there is another aspect of marketing that FMCG companies perform really well and that is 'Customer Marketing', which can also fall under different terms such as Trade Marketing, Channel Activation, Category Development or Retail Activation.
This area generally sits in between marketing and sales and is the expert area for executing the marketing strategy (with the understanding of consumer behaviour) at through sales channels.
Fundamentally, this involves facilitating relationships between your organisation and in this case the retail channel to seek greater opportunities for the product to be marketed and seen by the end consumer.
A key aspect is ensuring that relationships are occurring between your organisations divisions (marketing, sales, warehousing, product supply etc) and the customers respective division, sharing key information for a strong product activation at store level.
What are some of the everyday or practical aspects of Customer Marketing?
Internal and external stakeholder management
- Corporate communications (specifically for channels)
- Channel campaigns and promotions
- Sales and account management presentations
- Developing and executing point of sale, merchandising and promotional strategies
- Analysing and reporting on data (customer insights, buyer behaviour, store scan data, promotions, competitor trends) to develop path to purchase programs that leads to category growth.
- Facilitating product activation via a 'go to market' program by channel
- Trade public relations
- Trade show, conference and event marketing
- Manufacturer and channel system management and data synchronisation
- Influence product portfolio strategy
How does Customer Marketing go beyond the FMCG industry alone?
There are a lot of industries that participate in trade marketing and have a highly sales-based trade marketing focus. However, the true strength of FMCG is that this industry has a highly marketing-based approach to customer marketing and sales. FMCG sales and marketing staff can easily shift between their respective departments into each other's roles and this is simply because they share the same fundamental marketing principles.
What other industries can learn is that the core principle behind the success of the FMCG industry is understanding the true power of the brand and how to execute the core brand essence across all functions in their organisation. FMCG does this well as they have no other choice due to the high transactional nature of product purchase and high competitiveness.
So, why should I...
- Choose to have an accountant over using accounting software such as Xero?
- Go for one of the tens of thousands of financial advisors out there over another...after all, they're all the same right?
- Choose one super fund over another?
- Visit this medical centre over my local doctor?
- Vote for this politician over their rival?
- Choose a barrister over a solicitor ...or an entire legal (or law) firm?
Other industries can learn from this approach to marketing to ultimately win. This is just one way how we at Mind Methods apply fundamental marketing principles across industries.