We’ve been working with CPG retail brands for over 20 years and have seen some pretty interesting changes in retail marketing.

Perhaps the biggest change of all has been helping retailers adapt to the online world over the past decade – even more so these past couple years.

But regardless of how the user experience online continues to evolve, the fundamentals of retail marketing haven’t changed much at all. Yes, the channel of communication and the style of communicating has been disrupted, but even today, any retail marketing strategy stands tall on the five pillars we’ll discuss below.

First, let’s define what we consider “retail marketing” so we’re all speaking the same language.

What is Retail Marketing?

Retail marketing involves a range of activities that retailers perform to increase awareness and improve the sales for their company’s products. That range of activities almost always counts on a cohesive strategy to ensure alignment and purpose for the retail marketing campaign.

The 5 Pillars of Retail Marketing Strategy

Any successful retail marketing strategy is built on these five pillars:

1. Target the Right Audience

“Who are we selling to?” That’s the first question you need to answer to create any sort of marketing strategy. Typically, a target audience is determined by age, gender, location, interests, marital status, income, behaviors, etc.

Though you can intuitively draw a rough figure of the target audience, gathering data via social media, website analytics, past customers, a similar brand’s customers, etc., doesn’t hurt!

(Learn how to create a buyer persona to benefit your business.)

2. Define USP & Brand Positioning

What you sell or how you sell it must be clearly different from your competitors.

Your USP (or Unique Selling Proposition) can be anything. Whether it’s physical (better packaging, larger product, easier to carry, etc.) or something a little less tangible (better flavor, different ingredients, brand values, etc.), it needs to be something that grabs consumer attention and helps make the decision for them.

How you distinguish your product determines your positioning in the market, for better or worse. And your positioning determines the segment of audience your brand attracts. Ideally, you want the target audience you defined earlier to purchase what you sell.

3. Synchronize Your Marketing

Retail marketing is more about brand building than about just showing ads to your potential customers. Therefore, all your marketing – i.e., message & brand elements across channels – must be synchronized. This is also known as omnichannel marketing.

Your customers come across your brand at least seven times before they consider or buy your products, as per “The Rule of Seven,” a marketing principle from the 1930’s that states you need to come across the prospect’s eye at least 7 times before they notice you. Synchronized marketing makes sure they remember your brand from all seven times.

4. Get Promotional

A retail marketing strategy is incomplete without attention-grabbing promotional tactics. Unless you’re a name brand who needs no introduction, you need to entice your potential customers with the “why” behind your product. This can be done via digital and traditional tactics to drive purchases online or in-store.

Provide discounts for website-only purchases, sell memberships with regular content or product fulfillments, collaborate with other brands for co-promotion, etc. In short, do anything to get the target audience to buy for the first time.

(Learn more about promotions with our CPG Checklist for Consumer Promotions.)

5. Budget Wisely

Having a proper budget in mind right from the start is as important as anything else on this list, if not more. Your marketing budget determines the kind of media you can buy, the goals you set, the message you weave, the discounts you provide, etc.

One thing to remember, though, is that the budget can always increase. If a Facebook ad is giving a 20x ROAS, of course, there’s extra money to scale!

Getting Started with a Retail Marketing Strategy

Wanting a piece of the $25 trillion retail industry demands a solid marketing strategy. And you create one by putting these five pillars in place.

To help you build a solid foundation, partner with a shopper marketing agency who has a proven record of designing, managing and executing retail marketing campaigns that deliver ROI. To learn more, request a free brainstorm with the creative team at Cliffedge Marketing.

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