Marketing: A Discussion for Retail Dietitians, Part 3: Layering Techniques
& Co-Marketing Partnerships

Marketing: A Discussion for Retail Dietitians, Part 3: Layering Techniques
& Co-Marketing Partnerships

March 18, 2015
Business Skills

By Karen Buch RDN, LDN

After Marketing: A Discussion for Retail Dietitians, Part 2 was published in RDBA Weekly, I received questions from readers asking for me to expand on how to create co-marketing partnerships and to describe some of the layering techniques that can be used to amplify these efforts.

First, I recommend aligning consumer nutrition education, communications and co-marketing plans with seasonal holidays, national observances, consumer trends and your retailer’s sales program. This approach allows retail RDs to anticipate what will be most important and appealing to customers while ensuring that the plan is integrated with (rather than competing against) the retailer’s overarching marketing plan. Let’s step through a few examples. 

Is your retailer planning a canned foods or pantry stock-up sale? Consider developing a co-marketing overlay with industry partners such as Cans Get You Cooking, Canned Foods Alliance and vendor suppliers of healthful canned staples such as soup, beans, tomatoes and other canned vegetables and fruits. As a layering technique, you can work with your merchandising team to create an in-store display of featured items and create point-of-purchase signage. Partner with your social media team to create a recipe contest and require that entrants include of at least one canned food ingredient. Encourage participants to submit a photo of their prepared dish and allow customers to vote for their favorite entry to further enhance customer engagement. Send a free Guide to Stocking a Healthy Pantry to all participants and develop a prize structure for random drawings or top votes.

Does your retailer celebrate Frozen Foods Month in March? Try selecting healthful frozen foods that you can combine with ingredients from various departments throughout the store to create quick and easy weekly recipes. Include the recipe itself or the QR code in the ad circular near a key ingredients ad block. As a layering technique, offer recipe cards near in-store displays of key ingredients or use signs with QR codes to link to each recipe or recipe instructional video. Create weekly blog and social media posts featuring the recipes. By working with your merchandising teams to offer TPRs (temporary price reductions) on the key ingredients helps reinforce the consumer message that the healthful choice can also be the affordable choice.

Will your retailer observe Earth Day in April? If so, you can develop consumer communications that explain organic, conventional and sustainable farming practices, highlight sustainable seafood and locally-grown items, and provide real-world examples of how your retailer partners with and supports its farmer suppliers. As a layering technique, echo these messages in your media pitches, blog and social media posts, in-store magazine, in-store radio messages, e-blasts and call-outs placed near related items in the ad circular.

Slotting all of your themed events into a planning calendar several months in advance will help to guide your activities and content while keeping you and your team organized and on track from concept to execution. For more, watch for
Marketing: A Discussion for Retail Dietitians, Part 4.

About the Author
Karen Buch, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who specializes in retail dietetics and food & nutrition communications. As one of the first supermarket dietitians, she is a recognized trailblazer and expert at translating nutrition science into practical solutions for consumers. Karen is owner and principal consultant at Nutrition Connections LLC, chair of the Food & Culinary Professionals Supermarket/Retail subgroup and contributing author to RDBA Weekly. You can connect with her on twitter @karenbuch and visit