[Example] How To Market Your Independent Retail Business

By Bob Phibbs

retail marketing

Wondering how to market your retail business without discounts?

When retailers decide to get away from couponing, a wonderful thing happens.

Value is defined.

More customers walk in.

Sales increase.

I've been preaching this for nearly twenty years. So I was intrigued when Clark Hermanson, one of my Facebook fans emailed me several of his ads the business had previously run in the Chicago Tribune.

Much like any other nursery center, the same marketing formula had been used to create each ad. They all offered sale prices on featured sponsors’ chemicals and then a bit of generic text highlighting their own in-season items.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with these ads like the one on the left, except everyone in nursery and garden centers is doing the exact same thing.

And when you just do what the other guys do as well, you become price-driven.

You become a commodity.

You become a nobody trying to say "look at me.

Oh, I hear you out there. "But Bob, we need the sponsors' money to get our names out there. It doesn’t matter what the featured products are or that they take up half of the ad space. It just matters that now we have money to run the ads to get our names out there."

Well yes, I understand what you are saying, but to what extent is that type of generic memorable to your customers?

To what extent will it help frame your store as THE store for customers to go to? Will that ad get them to drive past the big-box with 69 cent annuals, $4 hoses and all the ancillary stuff they might need?

That's when Clark realized the greatest thing they had going for their nursery center was their history. But how could he sell it most effectively?

That's when they came up with this ...

how to market retail business

 

 

 

 

 

 

answers to marketing your business

Do you notice what is missing?

The price, price, price.

Pesche's decided to remove the sales angle from all of their ads. They wanted to stand out on their own.

They wanted their customers to know they were better than the other guys and thumb their nose at the other guys at the same time ; something I did fairly notoriously with Starbucks.

Notice their ads meant shopping at the independent meant you got something better.

Something personal.

Something that could only work for that one store at that one location.

It features the specialness of that one independent retailer.

Clark told me, "Customers are not running around trying to find out who has $1.00 off Miracle Gro this week. Those ads didn’t differentiate us. Now with our story instead, it’s been our best month in our 86-year history, partly due to weather, but mostly due to the ads which most of our new customers are mentioning.”

In Sum

You will never be able to justify your marketing costs; it's true.

Putting a coupon in the ad doesn't prove reach or effectiveness; it just means there are people who look for coupons in ads and use them.

You measure your brand by sales, by leads, by new customers bragging about how they drove past your competitor to discover you.

And remember

retail how to market your business

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