I was recently interviewed by The Grocer magazine for its feature on “how to get in front of a food and drink buyer” (The Grocer 27th April 2019). You can find a link to the full article here.

Having worked in food and drink marketing for over 17 years and helped some of the biggest FMCG brands achieve listings in all the major supermarkets, The Grocer wanted to know my thoughts on the challenges facing brands when it comes to  engaging these increasingly time-poor and over-stretched buyers.

The article was prompted in part by a sell-in event staged by beer giant Budweiser back in September 2018 which saw them invite 400 people including buyers, category teams and trade marketers from the UK’s leading grocery businesses to Wembley stadium. Pitched as the largest event of its kind in the brand’s history, it included celebrity talks, tastings and entertainment along with 11 immersive brand experiences. The Grocer wanted to explore if this heralded a new age for buyer engagement and if all brands now need to adopt this approach to grab buyers’ attention. We also discussed if this meant small brands would simply not be able to compete with the big boys and therefore struggle to get listed.

In the article I share my perspective on all of this and talk about exactly what it is big and small brands need to do to cut through and grab a buyer. In simple terms a big glitzy event like Budweiser’s isn’t a necessity, but it’s certainly a statement and an epic thing to do if you have the cash to splash. With everything it’s about balance. It’s about putting yourself in your buyer’s shoes. Creating excitement for sure, but also talking commercially. It’s essential to be creative and to be brave but you must remember the so-what. How will your brand and your marketing activation benefit your buyer, their category and their shoppers?

Throughout the feature I cite numerous examples of how I’ve helped big brands engage with buyers and gain all-important new listings and support behind new marketing activations. I’ve been part of developing big sell-in events to more intimate and bespoke affairs. Check out the examples of the world’s longest limo, camel polo and a footie match at the Emirates.

Smaller brands should certainly not be put off by what Budweiser has done either. Even without the brand scale and large budgets, small brands can still get themselves in front of buyers through other ways. In the piece there are many examples for smaller brands to draw on including Jellybean client ManíLife who we’ve helped find clever ways to cut through and engage buyers.

My overriding key message was this… brands need to create an impact and memorability with every buyer engagement, but they must always make sure their buyer’s needs are met and everything is presented in the context of their business and their shoppers. If you don’t know your numbers and you don’t get the commercial terms right, then just don’t bother. No amount of free beer and celebrity footballers is worth it.

Finally, here are 6 top tips for new brands looking to get in front of buyers.

  1. Be positive and persistent.
  2. Prepare
  3. Don’t think you have to throw loads of money at it. You don’t.
  4. Be creative, be disruptive.
  5. Bring it to life in your customer’s world.
  6. Agree the right commercial terms.

If you are a big or a small brand and you need help and support to get in front of a buyer and to really engage them, then talk to our retail team and we’ll be only too pleased to help you, or complete the form below.

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