It's trendy today to re-engineer something. Companies and brands do it. Some people re-engineer themselves. Not to be out-done, Brand Marketing is re-engineering itself, too. From the beginning, the editorial focus of this publication has been brand marketing "through the supermarket trade." This reflects the importance of the retailer today in the total marketing plan for fast-moving packaged goods. Such areas as in-store marketing, trade marketing and the entire Efficient Consumer Response initiative have received ample coverage. So has the shift from mass marketing to account-specific strategies. For brand marketers, the supermarket has been the gatekeeper to the consumer. Two of every three purchase decisions are made in the store. Trade partnering, strategic alliances and co-marketing have become part of the marketing mix for progressive manufacturers. But the supermarket, as the traditional link in the flow of goods from the manufacturing plant to the kitchen table, is not as dominant as it once was.
In a speech in February before a group of food writers, C. Manly Molpus, president and chief executive officer of the Grocery Manufacturers of America, explained that one-third of the consumer packaged goods dollar today is spent outside the supermarket. "We're undergoing a landmark shift right now in where people are spending their dollars," he said. According to Nielsen data, the average household shops at 14 different retail channels per year, he said.
"You can compare the proliferation of channels in the grocery industry to that of the television industry. Supermarkets will continue to be the biggest player. But consumers will have many more choices," he said. These choices range from the new supercenter to the warehouse club to the deep-discount drug store, as well as the traditional mass merchant, supermarket and drug chain. Beginning with this issue, Brand Marketing will reflect these choices editorially. Notice the publication name on the top of Page One. The line beneath Brand Marketing has been changed from "Through the Supermarket Trade" to "Through the Food, Drug and Mass Trades."
The supermarket will continue to stand at the center of the editorial coverage. It will dominate the classes of trade for the sale of packaged goods. It will unquestionably change itself to meet the realities of the new marketplace and the new competition. But one-third of the business is now outside the supermarket. That figure will probably increase during the next few years due to the expansion of other classes of trade and consolidation of supermarket retailers. Retailing in general will change dramatically over the next decade. Consequently, the job of brand marketing through the trades will change as well. What this Brave New World will look like -- say in the year 2000 -- is anybody's guess. Only one thing is certain. The new Brand Marketing will be there to tell you about it.