By RDBA CEO Phil Lempert
As your role as retail dietitian continues to evolve and expand within your organization it is even more critical to understand your consumers’ needs, wants and demands so you don’t miss the mark when launching a new product or service. Marketing your services (and selected products) is all about creating value for your customers.
Philip Kotler is the renowned marketing professor and author of over fifty marketing college-level textbooks. His was one of the first I studied and have always used his reference to Maslow’s Theory as a basis for my marketing and advertising programs. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we have basic physical needs for air, water, food, clothing, warmth, and safety; social needs for belongings and affection; and individual needs for knowledge and self-expression. I would suggest that in today’s environment, Maslow might well have added “health” to the basic physical needs.
In the marketplace Kotler says, "marketers cannot create these needs; they are a basic part of the human makeup." Do your health and wellness oriented products and services meet the Maslow/Kotler tests? If they do, the likelihood for your success in the marketplace is great.
Most marketers agree that “wants” are dictated by culture, what your friends and family are saying, the influences of advertising and marketing; and “demand” is what occurs when your shoppers have the buying power to act on their wants. Unfortunately, most of us have a limit to our buying power so we, and our shoppers, have to decide what products and services offer the most satisfaction and value in order for us to make that decision to purchase.
The place to start this understanding of the marketplace is finding out who is in your store, and who is buying which brands and services - learn what makes your customers tick and message and market appropriately. Topline is to stay close to your shoppers.
For the customers you have a direct relationship, price as the primary trigger for store visits and purchases isn’t sustainable, while price is important to them, it is not their priority. And point-of-sale data goes only so far in developing an understanding of what you are promoting.
Today’s retail banner battle for market share relies on building customer relationships. It is all about developing a retail brand experience. Retail Dietitians that do not get to know their customers intimately and drive the value of the relationship won’t have their programs survive. If your retail brand is not relevant to them, your customers will find another retail brand that is relevant to their health and wellness needs.
Work within your organization to get access to the data you need: your store’s customer demographics and psychographics, population forecasts for upcoming changes in your geographical area, and customer purchase history.
Reach out to your marketing and advertising groups to develop automated campaigns that are triggered by certain purchases and lifestage changes including newborns, birthdays and disease states that you can discover by working closely with your pharmacy department.
Your role as a retail dietitian is critical to improving the comprehension of shoppers: reading labels, understanding nutritional needs, and most importantly empowering them to make the changes in their diets and lifestyles that will improve their lives. Understanding who they are is the first step.