SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Supermarkets need to concentrate their marketing dollars within the store and in their immediate drawing area, according to an expert in neighborhood marketing.
"Foundational marketing is the biggest breakthrough in the way that we do business," said Tom Feltenstein, chairman of the Neighborhood Marketing Institute, Palm Beach, Fla.
He described foundational marketing as "everything that you do within the four walls of your facility," and suggested that 60% of a store's marketing dollars be spent within those four walls.
"Think of your stores as a medium. Your stores are better than radio, newspaper, direct mail and any other advertising vehicle you can think of. POP really stands for point-of-persuasion. Inside your facilities are message centers, and supermarkets do a much better job of selling within their facilities than do restaurants."
Feltenstein, who spoke here last month at the annual convention of the New York State Food Merchants Association/New Jersey Food Council, is also president of Tom Feltenstein Enterprises, a Palm Beach-based consulting firm specializing in marketing and business management.
He suggested retailers go "door-to-door" to drum up business and develop strategic marketing alliances with "traffic generators" such as schools, factories, noncompeting stores and houses of worship.
"Is there any church or synagogue that isn't looking for money? Talk to a priest and do a joint promotion with a church. It is phenomenal what happens. You'll see thousands of dollars and people coming into your facilities who never even dreamt of coming in before."
To find out the draw of a store, Feltenstein suggests retailers post a neighborhood map in the store. Using two different colored dots, the manager should ask customers where they live and where they were before they came into the store and place a different colored dot on each location.
"You will instantly identify your trading area, and I would propose that no more dollars be spent outside that area which is defined as your immediate trading area. It won't cost you an extra penny to do this, and every time we have done this and concentrated on these immediate areas, we have hit a lot of home runs," he said.
Supermarkets would see the greatest sales gains if they concentrate their advertising during peak traffic periods, such as around the holidays, he added.
Feltenstein suggests instead of targeting new customers, supermarkets should try to increase sales to existing customers.
"If you can get your average customer to make one more visit a month, you could almost double your sales. It costs five times more money to get a new customer to come in. I'm always curious as to why we devote so much energy into bringing new blood in when we really haven't taken good enough care of the ones that we already have," he said.