BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores experienced positive results from an integrated, in-store promotional program supporting a new product launch in the child care category, according to Bob Connolly, the retailer's executive vice president, marketing and consumer communications.
He made the comments during a presentation at the annual conference in Chicago of the Promotion Marketing Association, New York.
This past fall, Wal-Mart relied on heavy in-store marketing for the introduction of redesigned Pull-Ups training pants from Kimberly-Clark, Dallas. The pants were revamped with new Disney-themed, gender-specific graphics: Disney-Pixar's Buzz Lightyear for boys, and Disney's classic princesses -- Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White -- for girls.
Along with external promotional efforts that included direct-mail and freestanding inserts, Wal-Mart supported the launch with diverse in-store tools, including at-shelf, point-of-sale materials; floor graphics; in-store television; standees; and store-associate communications, including buttons and stickers.
"It was an integrated rollout plan," Connolly said. "The whole store got behind it."
The result was a 40% increase in brand sales at Wal-Mart in the eight weeks after the event, vs. the eight weeks prior to the event.
"This was a result of what happened in-store," said Connolly.
Meanwhile, sales were up only 5% at food, drug and mass merchandisers (excluding Wal-Mart) combined for the same period.
Integrated communication efforts like Wal-Mart's are critical to building awareness and generating trial of Kimberly-Clark brands because they enable the manufacturer to speak with consumers directly at the point of sale, Jeff Dawson, marketing director, Kimberly Clark, told SN.
While the Wal-Mart program is part of a broader initiative in how Kimberly-Clark goes to market with key accounts, it was unique in terms of synergies created between the manufacturer's national effort and vehicles specific to Wal-Mart's business model, according to Dawson.
For instance, "we worked directly with Wal-Mart associates to help them understand what we were trying to do," Dawson noted.
Integrated marketing was the prevailing theme of this year's PMA conference. Along with Connolly, speakers included Don Schultz, professor emeritus, integrated marketing communications, Northwestern University; and Lisa Klauser, vice president, integrated marketing, Unilever Bestfoods North America (UBF-NA), Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
Klauser stressed the need for integrated marketing communications involving the manufacturer and the retailer.
"One of the biggest growth opportunities is the partnership between manufacturers and retailers," she said.
While many marketers and retailers execute relationship marketing separately, there's a significant need for collaborative efforts, she said. Since both parties have different levels of experience and expertise, partnerships can provide a powerful business-building opportunity.
"There's so much knowledge on both sides of the fence," Klauser said, adding that UBF-NA has worked with other retailers in joint customer relationship marketing, or co-CRM, efforts, including Albertsons' Jewel/Osco division in a program that promoted its Lipton Side Dishes and "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" brands.