Q Thoughts

Manufacturing A Successful Path-To-Purchase

by Michael Chass

While focusing on ways to help our manufacturer partners for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, I started to reminisce about the times in my career where I was accountable for the marketing of a brand(s) for a manufacturer. Back then, the formula for success was tried and true yielding consistent results:

– Focus 20-30% of total marketing dollars on national advertising campaigns to build/reinforce the brand(s) in enthusiast magazines, create high quality literature for your dealers, and attend the top trade shows.

– Spend the remaining 70-80% of the money by giving retailers CO-OP/MDF money to help them win “the last 3 feet” of the sales battle as they place local ads for the products, merchandise POP displays, and train their employees on the product’s unique selling position.

Times have changed and we must reevaluate the formula. Over the past 5-7 years the retail landscape has been transformed with many retailers going out of business while the remaining retailers have branched out online.

Internet access is now the household standard. According to a recent Nielsen survey, over 80% of US households have a PC with 90% having access to an internet connection. Blogs, newsgroups, social networking, consumer review sites, shopping comparison sites and instantaneous direct access to a brand’s website and value proposition are all just a click away.

The consumer Path-To-Purchase has evolved with a significant portion moving online for the pre-purchase research function. More than 50% of in-market consumers flock to a manufacturer’s website to investigate the brand, product, feature set and value proposition before making a purchase. They return post purchase to sign up for product registration, support information or cross-product purchasing intent (I bought a TV; now I want a Blue-Ray player). The shift represents a significant opportunity, or dare I say responsibility, for manufacturers to establish long-term relationships with consumers and drive their web traffic to help convert sales with retailers.

If you haven’t done so already, change the marketing formula and ensure the Black Friday plans you made with your retailers come to fruition. Shift marketing money away from traditional national campaigns toward campaigns based on website traffic. Deploy CO-OP money in a manner that takes pre-purchase intent traffic from your brand’s website or your retailer partner’s website and drive it back to that same retail partner. But don’t stop there! This change is not a temporary one, but a permanent one, and will demonstrate to your retail partners you understand how competitive the shopping landscape has become, your new role within this new dichotomy, and your willingness to participate at a deeper level to help your retail partners sell product.

As much as the Path-To-Purchase has changed, the importance of Black Friday and having your brand picked by consumers year round remains the same. Embrace the change!

Categories:Posts from 2010


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