Re­tail brands have al­ways been good at grab­bing at­ten­tion in the clut­ter and sig­nalling their good deals. But it’s not as sim­ple as it once was and re­tail spe­cial­ists are in­creas­ingly need­ing to show an un­der­stand­ing of the en­tire shop­per jour­ney if they

New Zealand Marketing - - Nielsen -

Re­tail ad­ver­tis­ing has al­ways been at the cen­tre of the spe­cial­ist ver­sus gen­er­al­ist de­bate. Tra­di­tional re­tail, trade and be­low the line work has been shaped by the need to bal­ance sup­port­ing both mar­ket­ing and sales teams, and meet­ing the de­mands of con­strained re­tail en­vi­ron­ments.

Gen­er­al­ists and main­stream agen­cies have typ­i­cally never shied away from re­tail clients and the rev­enue they of­fer. How­ever, some have failed to un­der­stand the op­er­a­tional in­tri­ca­cies of re­tail and some have held re­tail in dis­re­gard as lack­ing the cre­ativ­ity and in­tel­lec­tual chal­lenge of the great above the line per­sua­sion game.

In re­al­ity, most agen­cies han­dling re­tail work in New Zealand are nei­ther ex­clu­sive spe­cial­ists nor gen­er­al­ists. They tend to be some­where in­be­tween, with a strength or two, but are open to any wider op­por­tu­ni­ties that are met ei­ther in-house, through sup­ple­men­tary free­lancers, or with friendly part­ner busi­nesses they blend with. The New Zealand mar­ket is of­ten seen as too small to sup­port pure spe­cial­ists in the re­tail area.

“The sup­ply side of to­day’s hy­brid agen­cies is char­ac­terised by a fluid model of en­thu­si­as­tic sales op­ti­mism and a scram­bling struc­tural adap­ta­tion,” says En­ergi’s Lew Bent­ley. “While this might be ad­e­quate in some sit­u­a­tions it is more about will­ing­ness to serve than cre­at­ing cat­e­gory lead­er­ship.”

A sig­nif­i­cant truth about

re­tail is that un­til very re­cently it has not evolved much at all and its dy­nam­ics were rel­a­tively sim­ple. As re­tail ex­pert Dou­glas Stephens puts it: “For al­most its en­tire 200-year his­tory re­tail has barely evolved from a big room with stuff in it that you can buy.”

But Bent­ley be­lieves things have changed mas­sively in re­cent times, and will con­tinue to change quickly. Re­tail has mor­phed into a mix of mod­els from bricks and mor­tar, to ecom­merce, and sub­scrip­tions. We can now click and col­lect, or have it de­liv­ered. We can shop around the cor­ner, or glob­ally.

“The re­tail world is be­ing rad­i­cally dis­rupted in many dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories,” ex­plains Bent­ley. Shop­ping is be­com­ing more ex­pe­ri­en­tial, more in­no­va­tive and there is a greater con­nec­tion be­tween our re­tail be­hav­iour and other parts of our lives. Mu­sic shops barely ex­ist any­more. Over 60 per­cent of us now buy Christ­mas presents from over­seas. Eight per­cent of us have our gro­ceries de­liv­ered directly to our home each week.

These changes in re­tail bring a dis­rup­tion to the spe­cial­ist ver­sus gen­er­al­ist de­bate. It is no longer enough to tick a box on your web­site claim­ing you do re­tail ad­ver­tis­ing too. These dis­rup­tive times re­quire a ded­i­ca­tion to lead­er­ship in re­tail strat­egy, cre­ativ­ity and the mas­tery of tech­nol­ogy.

Ac­cord­ing to Bent­ley, con­tem­po­rary re­tail work re­quires insight into how shop­pers (as op­posed to con­sumers) be­have, how chan­nel strate­gies work, a much more com­plex un­der­stand­ing of how to com­mand space and present brands cre­atively, and how to in­te­grate brand ac­tiv­ity and cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ences.

En­ergi has de­vel­oped its own de­mand gen­er­a­tion strate­gic plan­ning tool – De­mand­scope – build­ing ca­pa­bil­ity with shop­ping tech­nol­ogy to en­hance both on­line and in-store ex­pe­ri­ences. This new ap­proach is be­ing well re­ceived by ex­ist­ing clients and it is open­ing up new op­por­tu­ni­ties with new clients.

There are lots of agen­cies that do re­tail work. For many, the cadence of the sec­tor means reg­u­lar billing – and, in some rare cases, re­tail­ers such as New World and Rebel Sport (and, judg­ing by last year’s Christ­mas ad, Farm­ers) are among the most pro­gres­sive when it comes to brand build­ing through cre­ative, emo­tional ad­ver­tis­ing. Ray­dar is an ex­am­ple of an agency that is pri­mar­ily fo­cused on shop­per mar­ket­ing, a dis­ci­pline that has grown as more FMCG mar­ket­ing bud­gets are spent in-store on pro­mo­tions.

“Ray­dar’s phi­los­o­phy is

that shop­per [mar­ket­ing] is a mind­set, not a chan­nel,” says man­ag­ing direc­tor Troy Fuller. “While we do spe­cialise in in-store com­mu­ni­ca­tion, we be­lieve we must lever­age a full me­dia mix in or­der to max­imise the ef­fec­tive­ness of our work. Although we don’t nec­es­sar­ily spe­cialise in ex­e­cut­ing in pre-store me­dia chan­nels, we cer­tainly con­sider our­selves chan­nel neu­tral in how we de­liver shop­per strat­egy and cre­ative.”

In most client re­la­tion­ships Ray­dar is the sole shop­per mar­ket­ing agency, work­ing across the full range of ac­tiv­ity, but it is a core phi­los­o­phy that they play nicely with oth­ers. It means be­ing good peo­ple to work with and al­ways putting the client’s in­ter­ests be­fore their own. Ray­dar works re­ally well with Colenso on shared clients, but also has strong re­la­tion­ships with other, like­minded, non-clemenger Group agen­cies such as Milk, Satel­lite, Uni­fied and Im­pact PR.

Ray­dar has been through con­sid­er­able changes in the last few years. Firstly, it has de­vel­oped a re­ally strong plan­ning team with a spe­cialty in un­der­stand­ing shop­pers, how they make de­ci­sions and what makes them buy. As a con­se­quence, Fuller sees its cre­ative prod­uct as be­ing far stronger than be­fore. “No longer is shop­per mar­ket­ing just about the ra­tio­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion of func­tional ben­e­fits,” he says. “There is now far more scope to de­liver cre­ativ­ity through­out the en­tire shop­per jour­ney.”

These dis­rup­tive times re­quire a ded­i­ca­tion to lead­er­ship in re­tail strat­egy, cre­ativ­ity and the mas­tery of tech­nol­ogy.

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