CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The pursuit of co-marketing at Tropicana Products has led the company to merge its trade and consumer promotion budgets and to segment and "cluster" its accounts.
Those are just two of several innovative steps toward account-centered marketing the company began implementing at the turn of the year, said Cathy Dennett, director of marketing for Tropicana, based in Bradenton, Fla.
"Our trade promotion and consumer promotion are no longer two separate budgets," Dennett said here at a conference on Account Specific Marketing, sponsored by The Marketing Institute, New York.
She explained that the budget change reflects a further shift at Tropicana toward a "joint-venture" approach in its account relationships and marketing strategies. "Our major focus is to build a joint venture with the account at the top, so as to merge our trade and consumer objectives," she said.
Tropicana had experimented energetically in account-specific marketing during 1995, Dennett said, but "It was done in a hurry. We had lots of programs, but few results."
The company moved to a co-marketing approach this year in order to allow the retailer to become part of the promotion process at the beginning, said Dennett. "The outcome of such a program is more effective because the retailer has shared in its development and costs and has a vested interest in its result."
But the account-specific approach has major pitfalls, which require a counterbalancing strategy, she said. "If we left it to proceed at its own level, we would have wound up with mass-customization. With 1,500 accounts and two trade marketing people, we were sure this would grind us to a halt."
There was also concern about controlling the cost of the process, she added. Tropicana requires a minimum return on investment from its trade promotion dollars of five to one, she said. "Ten to one is our standard," she added.
Segmenting and clustering accounts, according to their similarities in business practices, size, capabilities and marketing orientation, is Tropicana's defense against excess complexity, she said.