5 Ways to Be a Retailer’s Dream Partner
While having great products is an excellent start, truly winning over the buyers at Global Pet Expo will ultimately require the right strategy for moving those products off the shelf.
So, you’re an exhibitor at Global Pet Expo looking to grow your brand’s presence by winning over the retailers and distributors walking the aisles. And so far, so good—your products are getting a lot of interest from the right people. But that attention is not enough. To turn that initial interest into solid business partnerships you have to be prepared to answer the most important question on every buyer’s mind: How will you move this new inventory off my shelves?
A thoughtful, well-rounded response to this question—and hopefully a bonafide, strategic plan to back it up—is the difference between an experienced, professional manufacturer who is ready for the next level of business and a newbie that isn’t ready for meaningful growth, even if his or her products are worthy of it.
Public relations requires strategy, creative thinking, research, patience and relationship building—it’s an art and a science. Results don’t happen overnight, and even some of the biggest brands need a refresh every once in a while. Not every budget allows for a professional PR strategy, so here are five talking points to make sure you’re prepared to answer every retailer’s most important question:
1. Pitch Trends
Creating demand and awareness of your brand is what retailers care about most, but telling them that you (or your PR agency) will consistently pitch your product for media coverage isn’t a very sophisticated response. In general, the media is less interested in covering products; they want to cover trends. You should have at least five trends—like pop culture, current events, general lifestyle, data-specific and more—that can be leveraged to best support your brand’s message or connect to your specific products.
2. Be Social
Saying that you have a social media presence is not enough. In fact, it’s also not enough to say you regularly share engaging content with your fans and followers on social media. Let buyers know that you understand the important differences between every platform, as well as, how to create campaigns that connect followers directly with key retailers, driving people into stores to buy your product.
Let retailers know that you see the power in co-branded marketing programs with like-minded, non-competitive brands that reach a similar consumer. Inform them that your approach to marketing is creative and attention-grabbing, and you will leverage all existing relationships (and potentially some new ones) to ultimately grow your brand’s awareness, thus driving sales.
4. Think Big-Picture
Of course you have a five-year plan for your company, and filling retailers in on your goals and aspirations is key. It’s important to keep an open conversation going with retailers, so they can tell you what works and what doesn’t work. This way, you can adjust your products and sales plans to match. You want this to be a long-lasting, successful partnership as much as they do. Starting off on the right foot—with a strong, two-sided relationship—will be beneficial for both sides in the long run.
5. Take a Broad and Focused Approach
Campaigns that create positive, national attention are fantastic, no question. But, until your product is available nationwide, you should be prepared to tell retailers that your campaigns focus specifically on their customers. Your company reaches them through various outlets with narrow, specific messaging that drives people into stores. Your company’s advertising dollars go twice as far when targeted to consumers within specific parameters.
Finally, think about how you’re creating buzz here at Global Pet Expo. If you can create excitement and get people talking about your brand and products at the show this week—where countless other brands are competing for the same attention—it will impress retailers. You can help prove your case—that you know how to generate positive attention—and assure buyers that you’ll deliver the same level of awareness on a much larger, consumer scale.
Kerry Sutherland is the founder and CEO of K. Sutherland PR, a boutique agency that specializes in the representation of pet industry and lifestyle product brands. Her 12-plus years of experience in the pet industry has earned her agency numerous awards, but more importantly, the results and media coverage her clients experience on a consistent basis simply cannot be matched in the industry. You can meet Kerry Sutherland at Global Pet Expo by tweeting, DM’ing her on Instagram (@KSutherlandPR), or visiting www.KSutherlandPR.com.