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Growth Summit highlights new rules of retailer-supplier relationships

One day prior to the official kick off of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo, sales executives and retail buyers gathered at the iconic Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in the South End of Boston to prime their minds at “The Growth Summit – Ideas that Matter, the 10X Thought Leadership Series” jointly produced by Drug Store News and Mack Elevation Forum.

The order of the day was to disrupt historic and traditional pathways of strategizing with the help of seven high-impact speakers.

“Sales transformation occurs not when something new begins, but when something old falls apart,“ opened Dan Mack, managing director of Mack Elevation Forum. “Transformation occurs through the process of letting go of old customer development and brand strategies. The 10X growth companies [companies growing at a rate 10 times their competitors] are not more innovative, charismatic or smarter.  But they are more consistent than others.”

The fact is what is valuable in the eyes of the consumer is very different today than it was even yesterday. And so it is with retail buyers, who are constantly course adjusting to meet that shifting consumer demand. Each of the seven speakers shared the new rules of retailer–supplier business relationships, Mack said.

“Every customer engagement must count, and the best organizations in our industry are rethinking how they are doing business and are working toward improving their retailer engagements,” added DSN publisher Eric Savitch.

“Each of our speakers shared invaluable ideas into customer strategy, brand development and strong execution that sets them apart,” Mack said.   “We learned from the best on how to take the sales process to higher levels.”

For example, Alex Perez-Tenessa, VP beauty and personal care at CVS Health, shared his perspective on how health is playing a greater role in category performance in the beauty aisle, especially across non-cosmetics. CVS Health commissioned a study to examine the connection between beauty and health, Perez-Tenessa said. “What they found is women who are taking care of their appearance have a higher degree of subjective well-being,” he said. “That subjective well-being, in turn, generates better physiological health through [measures] like better cardiovascular function.”

Perez-Tenessa projects that, industrywide, 50% of the growth within non-cosmetic beauty brands will be driven by a health characteristic.

Another example came from Doug Stukenborg, former VP of OTC at Target and current industry analyst, who shared how Method co-founder Eric Ryan created an exclusive opportunity through Target that revamped the VMS space with the smartly marketed Olly line. “The best manufacturers seek the right retail partners. The right retail partners have a guest profile that’s a perfect fit for the product you’re going to launch,” he said. And partnering exclusively with that retailer allows manufacturers to mitigate risk with a retailer who’s got a personal stake in the success of that launch.

The complete lineup for the all-day forum included:

  • “The new rules of thought leadership” by Brian Owens, director of drug channel insights at Kantar Retail;

  • “Storytelling for the YouTube generation” by Sarah Carberry, head of healthcare industry at Google Business Solutions/YouTube;

  • “Cultivating community and personality” by Morgan Hewett, client solutions manager of healthcare at Facebook;

  • “Health and beauty has become one” by Alex Perez-Tenessa, VP beauty and personal care at CVS Health;

  • “The ultimate insight” by Larry Levin, EVP business development at IRI;

  • “The new rules of value creation” by Doug Stukenborg, former VP of OTC at Target; and

  • “Hidden assets that matter” by Alex Hurd, senior director, product development, growth and payer innovation at Walmart.

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