Research surveys often confirm things we know or point to completely new developments. Two new industry studies — both relating to relationship building — take the middle ground. They don't reveal radical new developments, but instead disclose that previously reported changes are happening faster than expected.
One of these research pieces is about how brand marketers are stepping up couponing and related promotions, all of which enhances their relationship building with consumers and retailers. The findings come from an SN survey of suppliers and retailers.
In recent months we've heard a lot about couponing becoming more popular in light of the recession. While the growing use of coupon promotions isn't surprising, the pace of acceleration outlined in this report is eye-opening.
Almost a third (29%) of manufacturer respondents said they are putting more emphasis on coupons now than in the past, according to the SN research. And it's not just because of the recession. Suppliers emphasized reasons including encouraging consumer product trial, boosting retailer support of their products, and increasing brand awareness.
Moreover, while traditional means of coupon distribution are still dominant, targeted marketing through loyalty data, and account-specific spending, is getting more attention.
All of this shows how brand marketers are striving to build better connections with consumers and trading partners at a time when private label is competing more intensely for share.
The second survey analyzes to what extent large grocery retailers and mass merchandisers are sharing data with suppliers, an important question when considering relationship building. The research was released in a white paper from Grocery Manufacturers Association written by Vision Chain, Crossmark and Teradata.
The results confirmed continued data sharing momentum, as might be expected, but cited faster and deeper gains than many would anticipate.
CPG manufacturers, the report stated, now have access to more current and frequent data than ever before. This level of sharing increases the likelihood of business benefits to partners.
This survey's findings are encouraging because they counter some anecdotal evidence about resistance to sharing. This is perhaps the clearest sign yet that chains understand the importance of data sharing and relationship building.
Another piece of the relationship puzzle will be available later this year when SN publishes its annual Category Excellence Awards issue, based on a comprehensive industry survey. The results will point to which suppliers are doing the best job of meeting retailer needs, including with collaboration and marketing/promotions support. Stay tuned to see if those findings back up or update conventional wisdom, or take us in completely new directions.
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