July 26, 2018

A No-Nonsense Guide To Food Business Trade Promotions (PODCAST)

If you want to sell wholesale, you need to be thinking about marketing and trade promotions. In this podcast we talk with John G McGarvey, author of the Trade Promotions Field Manuel about how to develop a trade promotions plan, enact that plan, and how to make sure it’s actually making you money.

TRANSCRIPT:
Jennifer: John, thanks so much for being here today.

John: Hey, thanks so much for the invitation, and I’m happy to be chatting this afternoon.

Jennifer: Well, I am super excited to be chatting, because this whole topic of trade promotions, this is something that is so important, especially for those food entrepreneurs who are listening who are planning to grow or trying to grow, especially onto retail store shelves, and this is a topic that there’s just no information out there about it. So I’m really excited to talk to you today about that.

John: Well, I’m very passionate about trade marketing, otherwise I wouldn’t have sat down and spilled the beans on everything and written a book. And I’m happy to share whatever knowledge I have on the sort of rules of the road and the best practices, and hopefully, yeah, people can glean some tactical, practical advice that they can apply to their brands and their companies.

Jennifer: So you start the book by saying that trade promotions are an integral part of marketing. And for someone who may be listening who might be new to selling through stores, and whether that’s directly to the stores or whether that’s through distributors, and we can kind of parse that out later as we need to, but why are trade promotions so important?

John: Well, trade promotions are important for several reasons. Number one, any retailer, or I should say most retailers that you find yourself lucky enough to be on the shelves with will require that you provide some sort of trade support to make sure that anything that the buyer, the merchandiser, is placing on their shelf actually turns and moves off those shelves. So number one, it’s a way to support the retailer, and we can get into a little bit more about that strategically and tactfully, as well, in this discussion. But then number two is, in some cases when you’re just starting out, it’s the only tools that you have at your disposal to actually make an impact, day one, once you find a placement.

We’re not going to be taking out commercials. We’re not going to be taking out massive billboards, things of that nature day one for most smaller CPG startups. These trade marketing tactics are basically, it is your toolkit of what you’ve got day one to make sure this stuff starts to move. Number three, kind of bringing that all together, it’s just part of the industry that’s being a major big box store or a smaller supernatural. They’re going to require that you put some sort of good faith effort into your products at the shelf level to make sure these items move.

Jennifer: You know, I always tell folks that you think that getting on the shelf is the hard part. The reality is staying on the shelf is the hard part.

John: That’s right.

Jennifer: Again, just to kind of make sure that we’re all working from the same baseline, can you give us a couple examples of trade marketing? You know, something that probably most listeners have seen, even if it’s just from them as a consumer standpoint.

John: Absolutely, and maybe I should start off by just kind of defining what I mean as trade marketing. I’m going to read just two sentences directly from my book. It’s essentially trade marketing. It’s this set of promotional activities and tactics that you and your brand will take to drive product demand through the sales supply chain. This is essentially, as you said, making sure your items don’t just get on the shelf, but it’s the tools and the tactics to make sure that they get off the shelf.

A classic example: any time you go to a grocery store retailer and you see a tag beneath an item that has some sort of discount or savings, or sort of promotional call to action, that’s essentially a trade deal or a trade promotion that you the brand owner has negotiated with the buyer, with the store, with the merchandiser to basically say, “Hey,” to the consumer who’s walking by. “There’s something special about this item and you should take a look.” We’re going to provide typically some sort of incentive for you to not only look at it, but then take it off the shelf and throw it into your cart. So it’s the 50 cents off. It’s the buy one get one free. In some cases, it could be the person in the store who’s demoing your item. It could be you. It could be a third party that’s demoing it. It could be a coupon that sits underneath your item. It’s those activities that you’re doing either in the store itself or at their distributor warehouse to make sure things are moving efficiently through the warehouse and then obviously turning on the shelf as well.

Jennifer: Folks who are listening, if you’re just listening to that and your head is already spinning about, “Oh my goodness, how would I even put this all … get this all wrapped up?” I do want to say … I am saying this just as my own review. John’s book, I thought that the strength of the book was that it will actually help give you the steps necessary to do this. It doesn’t just explain from a theoretical standpoint what trade promotions are, but then will actually help you lay out a plan to do it. It’s the reason that I was so excited to talk to John, because I have not seen anything else like this anywhere that will basically hold your hand kind of like a consultant would, but without a crazy consultant price tag. That was one of the reasons that I really wanted to talk to John today because everything we’re going to be talking about, he goes into a lot of detail in his book and can help you set up that plan to help you be successful at retail.

John: I very much appreciate you writing that. I wrote this from a place of … When I had kind of sold my last company, what are all the tools and the lessons that I wish I had day one? Because it can get very expensive, the world of retail and certainly the world of trade promotions can get wildly out of control and certainly very expensive if you don’t kind of know what you’re doing and have sort of a thoughtful plan as you approach the retailer day one before you even get on the shelf. It’s during your buyer’s appointment. I kind of wrote this book from a position of hey, these are the lessons I wish I had known five years ago, six years ago, whatever it was. I’m just trying to bundle them up and hopefully people can glean something from this and be more efficient and hopefully more strategic and preserve cash in the process than kind of I was day one when I was just like, “All right, we’re on the shelf. What do you need to kind of get things off the shelf?”

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, especially the preserving cash. That’s always important for small businesses.

John: Absolutely, absolutely.

Jennifer: So you just mentioned going in with this strategic plan to buyers. In your experience as a new product going into a buyer meeting, can this strategic promotion plan … I mean, I know there’s many factors, but be a piece that makes or breaks you when getting in front of the buyers?

John: It makes or breaks you from the perspective of your ability to get on the shelf. I don’t think there’s any doubt. Buyers have very challenging jobs, right? It’s kind of an awkward meeting to begin with when you’re in there. It can be very nerve-wracking. It’s a bit of a dance and whatnot, but ultimately these people have very, very challenging jobs and they’ve got a lot of stress from inventory management to making sure they’re performing well against both the store and against their competition. Ultimately, these folks have to make decisions that have huge impact, not just on their retailers but on their careers themselves. I think going into any opportunity with a plan and not being entirely green when you get in there can entirely make a world of difference in terms of your ability and your chances of getting an approval because you’re basically doing the heavy lifting for them. At the end of the day, they want to make sure they’ve got the right items at the right price and they want to make sure those things move.

I think anything that a brand or brand owner, a salesperson can do during that initial buyer’s appointment to really ensure that hey, I’m going to reduce your risk of this failing by giving you a plan that I’ve thought through, that’s kind of comprehensive, that will just make sure this thing turns. Whether or not it has 100% acceptance by your consumers, time will tell, but we’re going to do everything in our power as a brand owner to make sure that this thing is going to get off the shelf and we’re going to driver consumer trial. I think going into that appointment and not only just presenting your products and your fancy packaging and the points of differentiation, but then if you’re in a review situation where you’ve got a lot of other brands competing for that same space which is finite, to an extent you can have something that’s really well thought out and just kind of reduces their risk of making the decision to place you there. I don’t think there’s any doubt that can help increase your chances of placement.

Jennifer: So how set in stone is that plan? By this I mean do you have to have everything all that you and members of your team have thought out all laid out in advance and then can you not vary from it, or do you ever see that distributors or buyers come to you with promotional ideas that they might like to see? Is it a bit of both?

John: Yeah.

Jennifer: How does that process work?

John: No, I think it’s definitely a bit of both. I think it’s most important to kind of go in there and have a budget in mind of what you can spend to make sure that ultimately you’re going to not lose money on the transaction. I think in some cases, it’s just going in there and saying, “Hey, I’ve thought this out and here’s what a 12 month promotional trade marketing plan could look like.” In the book I go through examples of calendars and schedules and things of that nature, and nothing is written in stone. I kind of talk about this in the book as well that you can kind of get in there, both in the buyer’s appointment and present your plan and say to him or her, “What do you think?” She’s going to know their customer and consumer much better than you are, particularly if it’s for an appointment or headquarter call that’s out of your native territory. They’re going to know exactly what moves items like yours that you’re presenting better than you are going to for example.

But then number two is depending on how these promotional deals are put in place, you’ve always got the ability, provided you’re remaining true to commitment financially of what you’re presenting to the buyer. You’ve got the ability typically to kind of vary as the year goes by and you’re getting more data about what’s working and what’s driving purchasing or purchases of your item. You can go back there and start to tailor it and adjust it as it deems necessary. But ultimately, I think it’s just most important that you’ve demonstrated to the buyer that you’ve thought this through. You’ve got something. You’re committed to making sure that your products are going to be successful on their shelves.

Then I think from there it’s a discussion around hey, you know what? Rather than doing heavy promotions this time of the year, we’ve got certain other opportunities for you or in some cases it might be you know, let’s save those dollars. Let’s place them into an ad in the fourth quarter because we’re doing some sort of an event. I think it’s very much a partnership at the end of the day, but I think it’s most important like I said just to make sure you demonstrate to them that you’re committed to the investment and trade promotions.

Jennifer: So your word dollars, budget … for a smaller entrepreneur who may just not have a big budget to begin with, is there a rule of thumb of how much they should earmark to put into trade marketing?

John: It’s going to vary of course by the category, how much margin you’ve got, things of that nature but the rule of thumb that we always use was about 15% of sales, which is not 25%. It’s not 30%, but it’s not 2% or 3% either. Again, it depends entirely on the category and what your goals are, and kind of what the retailer expects, but 15% is a pretty solid number to go in with. So you’ve got to be damn well sure that you’ve got the margin to be able to support that and you’ve got to have then the systems in place to be you yourself as the sole proprietor or your team to kind of monitor that because as I talked about in the book and as anybody knows that’s gotten any type of placement, these things can get unwieldy very fast and they can kind of get out of control too if you don’t have the systems in place to say, “Hey, wait a second. This isn’t what we agreed to or this isn’t working for me, or oh my god, we got to press pause because I’m going to be bankrupt.”

Ultimately working through the math and I talked about that in depth in the book of what a budget looks like. It comes down to what are your forecast sales and what do you think can change as a result throughout the year of a forecast through doing heavy promotions at certain times of the year. Long winded answer, but 15% is typically a good rule of thumb.

Jennifer: Have you either seen firsthand or heard, ’cause it sounds like it’s not necessarily uncommon that somebody new to this goes into trade promotions without a firm understanding of how much that promotion will cost them and that ultimately it costs them more than they anticipate down the road. Have you seen that happen before?

John: Oh, not only have I seen that, I’ve experienced it. I think anybody that has enjoyed any type of retail shelf placement, be it on a direct basis or through a distributor always has horror stories about getting the shock and awe. I talk about this throughout the book, of you’re expecting a big check to come in from UNFI or KeHE and that’s supposed to cover a lot of fixed expenses or production or god knows what. You get this gee whiz surprise where you just didn’t expect it, right? It’s ’cause something changed along the way or they kind of clumped a bunch of deductions together. You know, that’s all kind of part of the journey and that’s in large part some of the reasons of the motivation behind writing this book to begin with. You can control it to an extent, but you’ve got to really read the fine print and you’ve got to be on top of your game as you’re fulfilling orders and you’re watching deductions come through. When you start to see things kind of slide a little bit, just being quick to be on top of it.

Jennifer: So you just mentioned UNFI and KeHE, which are two distributors especially in the natural food space if folks are listening and are not familiar with those. That made me wonder, is there a difference when it comes to working with distributors on trade promotions versus if you’re doing direct store delivery, where you’re just dealing straight with the store buyer. How does that distributor piece come into play if you are working with a distributor?

John: Yeah, and I talk about this in the book. This is a really important point because it’s going to have all sorts of implications for your pricing at the shelf level and your alternate margin as well. Any time you’re working through a distributor you’re adding the cost to your business and distributors serve a very valuable purpose in the world of natural grocery or just grocery in general, but ultimately that comes at a price. Somehow along the way, everyone’s got to make money along that sale supply chain. Depending on the circumstances and the geography and the retailer, in terms of working through a distributor, you’re going to be required to show some type of good faith to support them as well, depending again on how things are structured in that network or in that particular warehouse.

I kind of break it all down throughout the book in terms of DSD versus direct versus otherwise, but ultimately the rules of the road are really typically the same because these guys will change customers from time to time. We all have to be kind of playing from the same hymnal if you will in terms of what does a deduction look like and what are these things called at one retailer versus another? Ultimately, it’s the same sort of tools and tricks. It could just be under a different name. But certainly when you involve a third party distributor in there, you’re essentially opening yourself up to a whole new category of trade promotions that you would use to support them as well.

Jennifer: Okay. Okay, that’s good to know. One thing that I think is really important for folks listening to understand is that … because the math part, the dollars. I mean, this is really important. You spend a lot of time in the book laying out that math and helping people understand how much these trade promotions potentially could cost and how to build that into a trade marketing budget. I do want folks listening to understand again that John’s book isn’t just kind of throwing out ideas at you, but is giving you those numbers behind it as well to help you develop a really strong strategic plan.

John: Yeah, and I think ultimately it’s all dollars and cents, and as we’ve learned in our time in school and whatnot and marketing backgrounds, it’s you keep it really simple. It all comes, at least the way I outline in the book is how many stores are you going to be in and how many units a week do you think you’re going to sell? Once you kind of understand those and then you understand the cost of trade promotions, be it your 50 cent TPR, temporary price reduction, if it’s an ad of $1,000, all those things is just math and you’re connecting the dots in terms of … all right, if I think I’m going to sell three units per four per week and I’m in 100 stores, well that’s 300 units per week. You can do the math in terms of how much you’re going to sell that need to go to the distributor or the retailer for, what your margin looks like and at your 15%, you know how much money you’ve got to play with.

I go to great lengths in the book to kind of demonstrate how to do that, but at the end of the day it’s all very simple math. I’m sure there’s more sophisticated ways to do it but for the businesses that I’ve been involved with, that’s a very effective way because at the end of the day, you’re just talking about boxes on a shelf or in a warehouse that are kind of transacting through. Once you have an understanding of that and as we kind of … you and I chatted about, you are provided with a lot of data on the backside from an accounting standpoint that you can then use to validate the assumptions that you made with your forecast.

But as long as you keep it very, very simple and just kind of follow the flow of goods and the dollars associated with them from a sales standpoint and obviously a cost, those are all the tools that you need to kind of build your trade marketing budget and then parse that to figure out what specific tactics that you can apply to both the distributor and the retailer to kind of move things along from a trade marketing standpoint.

Jennifer: I was just thinking as you were talking about that about your sales coming in. It made me think okay, well let’s just pretend that you have sales coming in from five different stores and that would be, especially from your background, that would be small. But let’s say you’ve got five different stores. Do you have to create trade promotions and trade marketing kind of specifically for the stores, especially if they have different customer demographics? Do you have to allocate? Let’s say I need to give 40% of my money into this store versus this one because I need to try and make a bigger push there. I don’t have as loyal a client base there as I do at this other store. How granular do you have to get with that?

John: Well you know, we can always get lost in the data, but at the end of the day, keep it very simple. It’s stupid at that, but keep it simple and what are your goals? I kind of talk about this a little bit in the book. If you’re in five stores, a certain market, and your goal is to make as much money as possible, well then you’re going to want to think critically about what store do you think your product is going to do the best in and where are you going to sell the most? If it’s to sell a lot of product that’s one thing, but if it’s to spend a lot of money against the sales of that product, that’s an entirely different thing. So if your goal is sales alone, I would think critically about where you think you’re going to get the best traction and then from a trade standpoint, the best bang for your buck.

But on the other hand, if you’re trying to nurture the market so you can run around to other stores and say, “Look what I’m doing over here,” then you can think about that as well from where you allocate your trade marketing dollars. Every market has got a store or a cluster of stores that are kind of like the beach head that you think for your brand, not just in that market but regionally and then ultimately nationally, is indicative of where you think your target consumer shops. If your goal is to be able to run around then to the other stores in the market and say, “Hey, look how well I’m performing at this particular natural foods co-op,” let say, because that gives you some sort of authority or credibility, then you would think I believe about making sure that store performs very, very well. In so doing, you would allocate your trade dollars against that to make sure that stuff is moving off the shelf.

It’s not hard to make things sell, but it is more difficult to be profitable on those sales, right? If we want to have not three stores a week but 10 stores a week, we’ll just lower the price as much as possible, either through a temporary deal or through a BOGO, a buy one get one. You know, that’s all stuff that the retailer in most cases will gladly allow you to do, but they’re going to charge you for it. It’s a very long-winded way of saying just keep it very, very simple. What are your goals in the marketplace? What are your goals at store level? Then you can allocate the dollars that way.

Jennifer: You actually segued perfectly into my next question, which is in your book, you broke it up into essentially two main sections.
John: Yeah.

Jennifer: The first focuses on developing the marketing plan and understanding those costs and figuring out what that plan is going to be. The second part, which again I thought was so great. I was like okay great, now I’ve got the plan but what do I do with it? Well the second part of your book focuses on actually managing those actual promotions. One question I have for, again for folks who are listening who maybe they’re a solopreneur or they have just a very small team, is this something that they’re going to need to outsource or can they do it? Can they do the managing of these promotions themselves, or do they need to hire somebody on who’s the key point person for that? Because again, this is taking up a lot of mental bandwidth and I’m sure time and energy as well, all for a good cause but I’d love to know your thoughts on that.

John: You know what, that’s a really great question. I wrote this book both for the larger team, but also to be scaled down to the sole entrepreneur. I’m a big fan of get your structure in place day one. So within the book, I give you a template for a trade promotion management form, which is totally old-school but I think is really functional where day one, after you negotiate your promotion you can just capture the terms of that promotion. It kind of serves both as a quasi term sheet for the transaction but this way as well for you, it’s an internal tool to keep track of all this stuff because they will come fast and furious in the terms and in the form of deductions. You’ve got to have a way to account for all that.

But ultimately at the end of the day, I believe that if you’re doing it yourself and you have a system in place that you’re able to track this stuff and record it and monitor, I don’t think that you need as much some would say a ginormous team to be able to kind of manage all this. It’s purposefully, the book is written for that sole person to be able to do it and then apply it to their business and their brand as it grows, and then be able to kind of use the same process, but apply it when you’ve got two people working for you, you’ve got five people or you got brokers involved. You’ve got somebody doing supply chain. But you know I’m being purposefully long-winded ’cause I am very passionate about this. No, the sole person can do this and I do not think it has to be outsourced.

In large part as you said earlier, you could hire consultants to help you do this and a lot of those people will serve a really great purpose, but in some cases you might not be able to afford it. I think my book, I don’t think it’s the best book in the world but I tried very hard to just kind of break everything down so you can figure it our for yourself and that you can be educated. Then when that opportunity does present itself to hire a consultant to do sales marketing that you’ve got sort of a framework from which you kind of know how to navigate as I keep saying, the rules of the road of the industry.

Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). No, that’s good to hear ’cause again, there’ll be a … I’m sure there’s somebody listening who’s like, “Okay, if I’m putting X percent into trade promotion, I can’t afford to hire somebody to do that for me. Given a choice between the two, great. Put it into those trade promotions and make it work.”

John: Absolutely. Always put the money into you know … Put the money into your product and certainly into the consumer experience because at the end of the day, in some cases you’re going to be hand in mouth as you’re starting out and you want those sales. You want that feedback from customers. Again, you go into a big box retailer or even a smaller natural food store, you’re competing with a lot of other items. In some cases, those are some legacy, very mature brands that have all sorts of corporate dollars behind them. But that doesn’t mean your product or your brand doesn’t have its own rightful day in court or in the customers’ shopping carts and shopping bags.

Whenever possible, I guess I am sort of passionate about this. It’s such a bland topic but it is so critically important once you kind of find yourself lucky enough to be on the shelves. How do you make this stuff? How do you get trial? How do you get your loyal following is by essentially doing hopefully the things that I describe here to kind of get it into the shopping cart and into their mouths.

Jennifer: You know, one of the other things that I love that you did is that you also devoted a chapter to post-promotion analysis. I personally as an entrepreneur, I am a big believer in … I think one of the great things about being an entrepreneur is that you can take risks that in bigger companies would just take you longer to get approved.

John: That’s right.

Jennifer: Okay, well let’s see if this is going to work.

John: Totally.

Jennifer: But by the same token, then you need to go back and see if those work and that needs to be more than just you being like, “Yeah, that was fun. I really liked that.” So I love that you have this post-promotion analysis with steps to help food producers determine whether or not their promotion worked the way that they had hoped against whatever that goal is that they had set for themselves.

John: Right, totally.

Jennifer: I assume that, but correct me if I’m wrong. There’s got to be some promotions that just knock it out of the ballpark and potentially surprise you, whereas there are others that just fall. You’re like, “I thought this was going to be incredible and it just falls totally flat.” Have you seen stuff like that before?

John: Without a doubt, and in some cases because we’re entrepreneurs and because we’re just starting out, we do get to take those risks and you’re not going to know until you try. You know? You are making the assumption any time you go into any sort of a new market or new retailer as to how your brand is going to perform. In some cases, it could be the greatest thing since sliced bread where in other markets, you kind of try to apply the same trade book and it entirely falls flat. So there isn’t a one rule of the road as it relates to applying the same trade marketing plan across geographies or for that matter across retailer or distributors as well.

In the case of some examples that have really worked well for us in the past, more on the club side is on the demo sort of expense. Demos I categorize as a trade promotion because you’re being required to do them by the retailer if you’re on the shelf at Costco or Sams for example. There’s some examples where we had an item out in California, both northern California and southern California, and our demos did incredibly well and we were totally stoked and the repeat purchase after the fact was great and we have a story to go back to the buyers. Whereas we took the same item … I can’t remember if it was the southeast division or whatnot. Again, same playbook of let’s do two demos over this time period and nothing happened, you know. It was just like, well, okay.

You don’t kind of know in some cases until you try and with each trade promotion opportunity and with each new market, you are going to certainly learn about your customer, your consumers, how the brand is interacting with them. But then at the end of the day ultimately most distributors and retailers are going to give you all sorts of good information because they have to from an accounting standpoint when they deduct the trade promotions. They’re going to give you all sorts of good information and you can get buried in it really fast, but all of that information is there for you then to kind of retroactively go back and say, “All right, I made some assumptions.” Again, in the book I go through what I call creating a [inaudible 00:28:15]. I made some assumptions from a [inaudible 00:28:18] standpoint and didn’t hold true. Ultimately you just kind of equip yourself with more knowledge that you can apply to the next trade promotion opportunity or the next headquarter call.

There are no guarantees obviously with any of these tactics, but certainly some will work better in certain markets than in others.

Jennifer: Another thing I’m wondering about is I know that a lot of the folks listening sometimes will go to trade shows, either big specialty fancy foods shows or natural products expo, or even just smaller, more regional trade shows. In a trade show like setting, you don’t have time if you’re meeting somebody for the first time, if they’re literally walking by your booth and you haven’t set up a buyer meeting with them. If they’re walking by your booth, you don’t really have time to say, “Hey, here’s my whole trade promotion plan or trade marketing plan.” Is it something … Should you have it written on your sales sheet somewhere, trade promotions available, happy to discuss? Should you convey that information if it is so important to the buyer? Should you convey that you do A, have a plan and are happy to talk about that?

John: Well I don’t think there’s any doubt that being able to quickly and confidently convey to a buyer that you know what you’re doing, you’ll never go wrong. At fancy food or even a UNFI tabletop for that matter or expo, you’re only going to get let’s call it anywhere from 30 seconds to a handful of minutes with the buyer. I think being able to demonstrate and confidently convey that you kind of … Hey, if we’re given the opportunity, we’ve got a great promotion plan that we have used in other markets that we could apply. Letting them know that you know what you’re doing I think goes back to what we talked about earlier. You’re supporting them as much as you’re trying to get the stuff in the shelves.

I think that undoubtedly can make a difference when a buyer thinks about, “All right, who do I want to sit down and spend time with? Who’s going to kind of … I don’t want to say waste my time, but be less valuable than other opportunities. Hey, this is a brand. They’re young, they’re small, but it sounds like they know what they’re doing and I’d love to talk with them.” It can be verbally conveyed. It can be simple, depending on the show. You can say, “Promotions available or demos available,” things of that nature. But I think just conveying that you know what you’re doing and you know the vernacular I think goes a long way.

Jennifer: You know, it reminded me that there was early in the book, one of the things … It was one of those moments that kind of switched my thinking on this was that you mentioned that buyers aren’t just expecting you to use promotions to sell your product. ‘Cause I think we as the producers, we always think promotions will help us with inventory turns and that’s good for us, but that buyers are also looking for you to do it because it certainly helps them and their numbers, but it also helps just get people into the stores and keep people in the stores, and keep people buying more. To be thinking about it from the buyers’ standpoint as well is just as important. You mentioned some of those challenges that they’re up against, so you as a producer, what can I do to make their life as easy as possible and have my product give them the best success?

John: Absolutely. It’s a really competitive market these guys are competing in. We as consumers have all sorts of choices, particularly now with different grocery delivery services and whatnot. We have all sorts of opportunities and options at our disposal from which we can buy in some cases the very same item. I think as retail, particularly in the world of Amazon and Whole Foods, I see Kroger at least at the time of this podcast reporting some really great numbers this morning. So they’re certainly in the grocery game. It’s very, very competitive. In some cases, they’re working off of very razor-thin margins and they want to do everything in their power to not only serve their customer but their shareholders as well.

It’s part of the game here if you will that we as brand owners and as marketers need to kind of contribute to their success in that capacity. That’s where your dollars in many cases are going. It’s not just their bottom line, but it’s just making sure that stuff is moving through their registers so they can then in turn say, “Hey, this is to the customers and consumers, this is the store you want to shop at.” In the case of shareholders, we’re very successful at it. It’s all part of it.

Jennifer: Well John, thank you so much. Again, for those listening, if you’ve listened to other podcasts, yes, I am passionate and excited but I have to say, if you are going to be selling at retail, whether through distributors or direct to stores, I absolutely think you need to go out and buy this book unless you’re like, “Hey, I’m coming from a long prior career of doing trade promotions.” But this is the only thing that I have seen that I feel is tangible for food entrepreneurs or smaller food producers where you can take it and run with it, and have those meetings with the buyers where you’re talking the talk, and that they trust that they’re willing to take a chance on you. Absolutely recommend it, and John, thank you so much for coming on today.

John: Hey, thanks so much. Hopefully this was valuable to you and your listeners and certainly I’ve got my contact information across social media, so reach out with questions. I’d love to talk shop and help out.

Jennifer: Oh, I appreciate that. I know yeah, folks do love it when they know they’ve got somebody else they can talk to about this as needed. So thank you so much.

John: You got it. Thank you.
Jennifer: Thanks.

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