Through the Retail Looking Glass

  • By David Keene
  • Executive Editor
  • As we delve deeper and deeper into the issues at the heart of the new marketing shift to the retail space, it keeps getting "curiouser and curiouser". And I get that feeling, like Alice, that "I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was. Good-bye, feet."
  • Goodbye feet, indeed. I think we're all feeling that solid ground is receding as we attempt to navigate a new retail environment with changing rules.
  • New rule #1: in this issue, David Sommer explains that consumers no longer have targets painted on their foreheads, and the usual marketing weapons miss the mark. With the demise of the Target Consumer, we now have a new, Opt-In Consumer. And the old model where revenue was driven by turning "consumer targets" into buyers has given way to a world where consumers control the who, what, when and where of "being reached." But even as the consumer enters the store and becomes a shopper, retailers are not really media moguls. Their first priority is to sell more product, to more people, more often, not to monetize their stores as true media. The solution? Marketing executives need to reshape their organizations to create teams based on what is called variously "shopper marketing, FMOT (First Moment Of Truth marketing), Red Zone, category management, collaborative marketing". Sommer and his team at MEC Retail call it Marketing@Retail.
  • New Rule #2: Nothing less than " reshaping organizations" is needed for success in Marketing@Retail. Laura Davis-Taylor, also, reminds us of this in her column in this issue.
  • Good team-building might sound like a trite prescription from a thousand conference PowerPoints, but it's important to focus on the details of this message: It is not a lack of new tools or new techniques, in metrics or anything else, that is holding back the evolution of new models for marketing at retail. The larger problem is the lack of marketing teams that work together, drawing expertise from mass media, Internet, Out-of-Home, and at-retail. (Who should run these teams? Not an easy question to answer. And it's the key question.)
  • New Rule #3: As the marketing teams addressing the retail space are changed, it's going to wreak some havoc with Intellectual Property rights. The question of "who owns what" in this wild west of disrupted media, and new media, and burgeoning retail media, is going to shake things up this year and beyond. (And spill over to the older, traditional, part of the market. There is some controversy in the retail world as some players attempt to change the rules of the game regarding intellectual property rights, with producers of traditional in-store POP displays being asked to sign off all rights to concepts as well as design-the byproduct of this new confusion of changing marketing teams. In our next issue we'll examine IP issues in detail.)
  • All the new rules have one thing in common: the changing nature of the marketing team, with players from disciplines that heretofore had no direct working relationship now scoping each other across the retail landscape, all of them having lost site of their feet and lost their footing in mass media, and in retail, and all asking the same question: Who owns the retail space?