LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- In a presentation last week aimed at the CPG manufacturing community, Margaret Bigley, Pathmark's director of marketing, called for closer ties between her marketing/loyalty department and brand marketers.
Speaking at GEMCON (Global Electronic Marketing Conference) 2003 held here at Disney's Contemporary Resort, Bigley declared, "I want to get rid of the brick wall, and open the door to my office and invite all of you in," referring to CPG manufacturers. GEMCON 2003, which ran from Nov. 9 to 11, was sponsored by Retail Systems Consulting, Naples, Fla.
Bigley also responded with alarm to an informal survey of retailers at the conference, mainly marketing and loyalty executives, 69% of whom said they have not developed a close working relationship with category managers in their organizations. She said, "I'd be lost without my category managers," who often provide her access to CPG companies. Developing "one-to-one relationships" with CPG firms was the main emphasis in Bigley's presentation. Afterwards, she told SN that marketers at Pathmark, Carteret, N.J., have developed such relationships with major CPG companies like Procter & Gamble and Kraft, but would like to cultivate them with "the next rung" of CPG manufacturers.
Bigley outlined several ways in which these ties can be forged, such as targeting specific purchasing behaviors, including groups ranging from 3,000 to 300,000 shoppers, and even "stealth marketing."
Other strategies Bigley cited include collaborating on category strategies such as planograms, line extensions and price elasticity, and on marketing plans such as new item launches, ethnic items and seasonal products. "I'm dying to do some new item launches," she said.
She also mentioned the possibility of doing cooperative programs and cross-merchandising with several brands and manufacturers. "We're trying to bring together multiple brands and companies to do some seasonal mailings," she said.
Bigley also explained Pathmark's need for resources from manufacturers to support data analysis, software and data warehouse development and customer communications.
She cited a major cereal company that commissioned a class to help Pathmark analyze data in the cereal category. "I can't tell you how valuable that was to us," she said. "So it's not always coming with a bag of money; it's just helping us identify the opportunities."