CPGmatters: What Are Top Ten Best Practices for Private Label Promotion?
By John Karolefski
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of a current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.
store brand sales calls for building innovative marketing strategies. The best
way to do that, says Professor Mark Lang of St. Joseph’s University,
is to borrow a page from the brand manager’s playbook. In other words,
learn how brand management best practices transfer into the promotion of store
“A good cycle of promotions will assure that private label will maintain
gains during the recession,” said Mr. Lang recently in a presentation
at the annual Food Marketing Institute (FMI) conference and trade show in Las
He reviewed the basics of promotion including its common elements and
the Top Ten Best Practices. What is the objective of all promotions? “Obviously,
it’s to increase sales,” he said.
Mr. Lang listed the following
common elements of a promotion:
- Offer – What are you giving? TPR (temporary price reduction), other?
- Message – What are you saying?
- Display – Where and how are products presented?
- Delivery – In-store (controlled by the retailer) or out of store (controlled
“All of these elements work together to create a promotion,” he
Here are Prof. Lang’s Top Ten Best Practices:
- Get organizational buy in.
- Focus on the target customer. (“Who is the subset of the population being
targeted?” The promotion must be built for that target.)
- Don’t promote on price. (“You don’t want to habituate
on price. It’s a slippery slope.”)
- Use the store brand as a feature item.
- Partner with national brands. (“You can partner and collaborate on
retailer-generated promotions.” Examples include Comet cleanser and
Safeway towels; Nabisco cookies and Target milk.)
- Cross promote. (grocery with fresh foods)
- Leverage symbolic products.
- Promote solutions. (“Multiple executions add up to store loyalty.”)
- Branded execution (Use integrated marketing for consistency across packaging, POS,
- Mix and match. (combine two or three elements in one promotion)
In response to a question from the audience, Prof. Lang singled out Wegmans,
Publix and Trader Joe’s as retailers doing an outstanding job promoting
Sales of store brand products topped $86.4 billion across the
major U.S. retail channels over the past year, according to the latest data
compiled by The Nielsen Company for the Private Label Manufacturers Association.
supermarkets alone, where market share in units reached an historic high of
23.7 percent, store brands growth outpaced national brands by a spread of eight
basis points and dollar market share also set a new record at 18 percent. Store
brands accounted for 90 percent of the sales growth in supermarkets, adding
$1.5 billion in incremental sales (+2.9 percent), while national brand sales
were virtually flat for the year at +0.1 percent.
Discussion Questions: In what areas do you think private brands of supermarkets
most lag behind national brands? Which of the promotional practices mentioned
in the article do you think are most critical?