Building Relationships to Build BusinessApril 4, 2017
When Jennifer Morgan signed on to be the Business Manager to launch a new culinary experiential marketing program with a major national retailer last year, she set to work right away learning all she could about how similar programs for grocery retailers were run at Daymon. But within the first few weeks, it became clear that this was a whole different ballgame. Morgan quickly switched up her strategy to deliver major wins for the program, the client and Daymon as a whole. We recently sat down with her to find out just how she did it.
RNI: Tell us about the challenges you faced when the program started?
JM: Like other programs we operate, this new sampling program was intended to feature owned and national brand food products through in-store demonstrations. But there were some key differences. For one, instead of being a grocery retailer, this was a mass merchandise retailer looking to grow its grocery business. The way they operated and their relationships with suppliers was very different from our grocery partners. The retailer also had its own generic in-store events program, digital marketing levers and loyalty programs they were asking suppliers to participate in. So there was a lot of competition for suppliers’ attention and marketing dollars.
RNI: How did you overcome those challenges?
JM: I went back to basics. I started by identifying key contacts at each of the suppliers and vendors we wanted to work with and then built personal relationships with them. For example, instead of sending out a mass email with all the information about the program to a list of potential leads, I sent out very short, personalized emails to the vice presidents or directors of marketing departments for key CPGs [Consumer Packaged Goods] asking if I could have a few minutes of their time to call and talk about the program and how it could benefit them.
My focus was on differentiating our program by giving it a human touch. I wanted to make it clear that like the program itself, we were offering an elevated customer service experience and delivering a personable experiential program. I also tried to make it as easy as possible for them to do business with us—for example, suggesting we use recipes they already had on their websites or offering co-branded events with other CPGs to help save funds in their budgets. This led to a much greater response level, and ultimately, the success of the program.
RNI: How has the program grown since you launched last year?
JM: We started with weekly events in 45 stores, then grew to 100 stores and eventually 120 stores. This year we doubled our volume and added a second event each week in all 120 stores. And our retailer partner and suppliers would like to expand to even more areas, which is something we’re actively working to develop. It’s an exciting program to be involved in.