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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — “Sixty percent of all buying decisions have already been completed prior to ever speaking with a supplier. And most of us struggle with undervaluing our competitors and overvaluing our company assets. That is a deadly combination that makes you vulnerable.” That was one of the key messages Mack Elevation Forum founder and leader Dan Mack had for attendees of Friday morning’s Elevation Forum meeting. Mack created the program in 2008 for senior sales and marketing leaders, and today the group totals more than 30 companies who meet to discuss cutting-edge ideas and strategies emerging in the industry.
Family Dollar president and COO Mike Bloom served as a special guest keynote speaker for the April 19 Mack Elevation Forum. Bloom passionately shared with Elevation Forum members how to create a winning business with Family Dollar, how to help the chain achieve its vision of offering the best value in the market and emotionally connecting with its consumers. Bloom, who was joined by Family Dollar EVP Paul White and VP Jim Trappani, shared “one of our top priorities is to become more relevant and create meaningful value propositions for our consumers who aspire to be more and have more.”
Bloom has been leading the organization for the last two years, as the company’s transformation continues. “We are enhancing our perishables and frozen foods, reinventing our private-brand offerings, remodeling older stores and trying to understand the deepest needs of our consumers.” Bloom added, “The philosophy [and DNA] of the founding family led by Howard Levine is passionate about our employees and who we serve. We take pride in ‘serving the underserved,’ and most suppliers really don’t appreciate the financial challenges of this consumer. They live paycheck to paycheck, aspiring to buy brands that offer outstanding value. We will continue to innovate everything in our business to meet this larger need.”
The forum started with a robust presentation and discussion of the “top 10 sales strategy and leadership ideas” that executives need to “unlearn” because of the challenges of the new economy and the changing needs of business. “Playing safe is risky, hiring sales leaders who are not critical thinkers will hinder you and not understanding emerging fringe trends limits your category leadership. Hiring talent can transform your organization, while bringing in outsiders helps you stay rooted in reality,” Mack noted.
TABS Group CEO and founder Kurt Jetta shared some very provocative new shopper research on the role of “active promotional tactics” in developing a brand and creating incremental consumption. According to Jetta, “the most preferred means of gaining value, as defined by the consumer panel, showed that [everyday low price] and store brand were the most highly mentioned tactics for deriving value. Traditional vehicles [e.g., coupons, circulars, bonus sizes] were still more preferred than more recent forms of deal delivery [e.g., loyalty, online and rebate].”
The next Elevation Forum is in San Antonio on May 30 with keynote speaker Bill Anderson of H-E-B. The executive forum team will continue the vision of uncovering unique insights and discussing the best practices engaging the industry.