Getting past retail’s gatekeepers
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Spieckerman Retail blog.
Thanks to advances in technology and data analytics, retailers no longer need layers of decision-making, and most are determined to speed up the process anyway. That means easier access to top decision-makers for those who work with retailers.
While cutting layers, retailers are also creating new positions right and left as organizational silos are broken down, content capabilities honed, and functional areas synergized. That means more people can influence or pull the trigger on what brand marketers and solution providers offer, and from multiple perspectives (content, data, marketing, products, solutions and more).
Further, the record number of hires retailers are making from outside traditional retail in order to accelerate the acquisition and integration of new technologies is bringing a fresh perspective and openness to innovation.
Despite these positive shifts, many brand marketers and retail solution providers are still lapsing into old-school communication habits. When they do, one of three communication breakdowns often follows.
- Lost in Translation: As retail’s organizational sands shift, hoping that your tried-and-true retailer contacts will sell your concepts to actual decision-makers is a recipe for message dilution, misinterpretation and a muted, “meh” version of your value. Hold out for a face-to-face with real decision-makers.
- Left Behind: I’m shocked by the number of companies that still automatically leave behind printouts of PowerPoints after meetings with retailers, even without request (gasp!). If you want to leave something behind, by all means take the time to create a differentiated, value-added piece that is intended for that purpose – one that supplements rather than repeats your presentation.
- Caught in the Revolving Door: Retail’s revolving door started spinning at lower levels a few years ago; now it’s hitting the executive suite. As a result, many companies are finding themselves several degrees of separation away from their original advocates. When was the last time you presented your full value story (not just product or solution updates) to your make-or-break contacts? Do they know who you are and why they are even doing business with you? It’s time for a refresh.
- Bottom line: The gatekeepers of retail past no longer stand in your way (or won’t for long). Step up. Go direct. Make it count.
- Alien Invasions and Other Reasons To Reinvent Your Retailer Communication Strategy – Spieckerman Retail
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you feel it’s become easier or harder for brand marketers and solution providers to articulate their value to retail decision-makers? What do you think about some of the changes and challenges brought up in the article?