So you want to put on a promotion and you want to get supplier involvement. A promotion should be looked at from both sides, the retailer and the supplier; the business proposition needs to work on both ends. Look at your promotional idea from the supplier side and ask yourself: “Would I invest in this idea?” After all, that is what you are asking the suppliers to do.
Here are a few easy steps to ensure a successful promotion for all parties involved.
1. Plan in advance. Don’t start calling supplier partners three weeks before the promotion is about to start. Suppliers typically want to support a promotion, but late notice does not allow them time to plan their budgets accordingly. So try to plan at least four to six months ahead. What is your goal? Increase spirit sales by 10 percent? Project anticipated sales volume — this is important — and identify what that means to the supplier; how many cases? Remember your promotion budget will be based on how many incremental cases you can sell. A promotion can have multiple supplier partners and many times the most successful programs do.
2. Hire an agency to fulfill and execute the program if your budget allows. This is extremely helpful if you operate in multiple locations. Agencies not only bring you incredible POS materials and training pieces, but they also box it up, ship it out and send out the prizes, making your life very easy. An agency will help ensure the supplier products are branded appropriately. They can help with a 360-degree approach to marketing via social networks. Many suppliers have already done work with these agencies and they know the agency will do a great job for everyone involved. But agencies cost money, so plan accordingly.
3. Appoint a staff member to spearhead the program if an agency isn’t in your budget. Give him/her instructions, timelines and checklists, along with free reign to get creative and make the program as successful as possible. Track his or her progress and support him/her along the way.
4. Train, train, train! Now that you have great training materials, your staff needs to know the who, what, when and how the program works. From managers to hostesses, all personnel involved should be aware of the promotion details. Keep the supplier involved and use their local distributor network to help train your staff.
5. Reward & Track your Results. Efforts without results are meaningless. When you have great results, be sure to reward employees in front of the entire staff. You need to know how successful the program was. Did you meet the 10 percent increase you planned? If so, congratulations all around and rewards for all who contributed. If you didn’t meet the goal, why? Solicit input from the front-line folks on how to make it better.
6. Have a follow-up meeting with the supplier to evaluate the program. What went well? What did not? Learn from your mistakes and go at it again. A well-organized operator can have many promotions throughout the year. Once the suppliers know you can deliver, they will line up to work with you.