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Securing shelf position with a must-have product


In the world of consumer products, there are three kinds of brands — leading brands that have justified their shelf position, challenger brands in the process of justifying their shelf position and me-too brands that lost their shelf position in the last rationalization initiative.

Nobody wants to have a me-too, rationalization-friendly brand.

The 2016 National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo’s series of Insight Sessions kicked off before Meet the Market Saturday morning with Mark Young, CEO of Jekyll & Hyde Advertising, in a session titled “I got on the shelf, now what?” Young shared with attendees strategies on how to maintain their newly won position on the shelf of a national retailer.

“We have to make sure that we have a [must-have] product,” Young said. If a consumer looking for a product goes to the shelf and doesn’t find it, they have two choices — place a similar product in their marketbasket and continue shopping, or go to another retailer.

Even a product that isn’t meeting turn hurdles on its own can still justify placement on that shelf, Young said, if it’s a must-have brand. “[A retailer] has a category with a product that isn’t selling very well, but he looks at his loyalty card [data] and he sees that people buy that product every four to five weeks,” he said. He’s not going to rationalize that product, Young said, “because he knows the loyalty to this particular brand is so strong, that if he gets rid of it he’s going to lose the rest of the ring.”

In an age of big data, savvy retailers can readily see that loyalty factor, Young added.

Challenger brands still need to move the turn needle by driving trial, Young said, and that’s done through a commitment to consumer advertising. “The job of advertising is to get people who have never tried your product to try it once,” he said. “It’s your job to build the brand.”

Young suggested national consumer ad budgets comprising 15% of product sales should be a minimum commitment in an effort to maintain sales, but that challenger brands aggressively seeking greater marketshare typically commit between 25% and 30% to advertising.

However, for new products, ad budgets should be based on turn goals, Young suggested. “Again, with big data, buyers are making decisions … based on whether you’re moving the product,” he said.

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