ECRM and Category Reviews: How to Turn Speed Dating into a Long-Term Relationship

For those in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) and over the counter (OTC) worlds, ECRM and retailer category reviews can feel like speed dating: awkward, shallow, and leaving you wondering when or if you’ll see them again. But there are things that you can do to turn this one-time encounter into a long-term relationship, starting with the presentation that you use when sitting down with a potential buyer. Your pitch should consider the following:

Why should I get to know you better?

Start with a truly “ownable” brand position. This isn’t about telling your date what you think he or she wants to hear and it’s definitely not painting the picture of how you see yourself. It’s about your unique selling proposition. What’s the one thing that consumers want, that you have, that no one else can deliver?

Can I have your number?

Buyers evaluate many things, such as your value proposition, your likability, and your plans for growth, but in the end, your numbers are the things that they are most interested in. Start with a recap of what your brand has done over the past year in terms of units and dollars from both factory and retail. Highlight gains in market share within the category. Show which retailers are carrying your products and then drill down to the facts for the specific chain. Know what you are trying to achieve before going in (e.g., more stores, more facings, more SKUs, a secondary location, etc.) and share your story in a way that supports those objectives.
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Five fatal flaws when conducting focus groups

Focus groups can be an effective way to quickly gain qualitative data and key consumer insights; however, they can quickly become “unfocused”—thus diluting the quality of the insights gained during the process.

Avoiding the following focus group mistakes can help you keep your participants, and your key insights, on track.

Fatal Flaw #1: Inducing Audience Fatigue

Focus groups can be a rich source of consumer insights and information, but oftentimes marketers want to research too much information during a focus group. Failing to narrow the research objectives increases the length of the focus group, which quickly leads to audience fatigue. When fatigue sets in, the quality of the responses declines and the latter part of the session can lose its validity and research potential.

When planning focus groups, carefully consider the most important questions in relation to your research goals. At Martino Flynn, we prioritize information into “must know,” “nice to know,” and “known via other sources” buckets. Based off this categorization, we develop the discussion guide, keeping it focused on the key insights needed, and avoid including extraneous, unnecessary questions that add additional time.

We recommend planning for no more than one and a half to two hours for focus groups. This includes discussion time and any interactive activities, as well as 10-15 minutes of “bonus” time at the end for additional questions that come to mind during the discussion.

Fatal Flaw #2: Ignoring the “Uncomfortable Zone”

One of the seemingly simple parts of focus groups—dividing the participants into groups—is also one of the most sure-fire ways to derail your research from the start. It’s important to divide your participants in a way that makes them feel comfortable, where they are open to sharing their opinions and insights.

Carefully consider the topic, questions, and answers you are researching when dividing your participants into groups. Is it a topic that women might not feel comfortable discussing in front of men? Will younger or older participants feel more comfortable discussing your questions in a group of their peers?

In a recent focus group on teen skin care, Martino Flynn divided the teen boys from the teen girls. Knowing the dynamics of teenagers, plus the slightly uncomfortable topic of acne, we divided the groups based on gender to avoid the “uncomfortable zone.”

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Thinking Inside the Box

Think outside of the box. It’s advice we hear all of the time in marketing, but now I’m encouraging you to do exactly the opposite and turn your attention inside the box—the promotional box, that is.

With the advent of Facebook ad targeting, you’ve probably noticed a few relevant subscription boxes pop up on your newsfeed. For example, Facebook knows that I tend to over-share when it comes to my pets (yep, I’m one of those people), so for the past few months, I’ve been getting daily ads and sponsored stories from BarkBox. BarkBox is a monthly subscription box that, for the low cost of $19 per month, sends 4-6 dog products you’ve likely never heard of right to your door.

Reaching the Right Consumer

Monthly subscription boxes are a great way for consumers to discover new brands at a reduced cost (what if I buy the industrial-sized bag of treats at full price and my spoiled fur-child doesn’t like them?), while brands benefit from hyper-targeted exposure to new audiences. There’s a box that’s relevant for almost every consumer out there. Birchbox, a popular box for young women that sends beauty products monthly, is a frontrunner in this trend. Bulu Box is a great selection for those attempting to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle, and there are even boxes for golfers, bikers, crafters, and jewelry makers. If you’re looking for more monthly subscription box examples, check out this BuzzFeed article.

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RoSI: Return on Sponsorship Investment

5 Ways to Actively Engage Your Sponsorship Opportunity

How many times has your business been approached for a sponsorship opportunity at a local event? Although you may support the cause, it can be tough to make the case to spend the money on the sponsorship, which is often a pricey investment. So how can you determine what you’re getting back from that sponsorship investment?

There are several factors to consider when you not only want to enhance your company’s position as a great community partner, but also make sure that your business gets the best return on its sponsorship investment.

Popular advice will tell you that a good sponsorship should hit three key areas: first, the sponsorship should align with your brand; second, the sponsorship should allow you the opportunity to showcase your products and services; and third, and most importantly, a sponsorship should elevate your brand above your competitors as a “good neighbor” that invests not only dollars, but heart, into the community.

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