Making the start line means nothing if your product doesn’t get out of the gates fast

Making the start line means nothing if your product doesn’t get out of the gates fast

You’ve developed a great brand identity, a killer product and an enviable rapport with retailers on your journey to market. But before you start patting yourself on the back you should know that the hard work has only just started.

In this article we’ll look beyond gaining a listing and explore the importance of having a post-launch plan to make sure that your hard work isn’t all for nothing.

You shouldn’t be surprised to hear that getting a foothold in the FMCG market is a complicated and fickle business. If you are a brand owner you’ll not only be required to show great fortitude in getting your products to market, but once they hit the shelves you’ll also have to demonstrate a number of other skills – acting both proactively and reactively, showing a single-minded determination yet great flexibility.

Easy to say and hard to implement?

Absolutely. But if you really want to establish your brand as a force to be reckoned with, you need to get out of the gates fast and then have a strategy for keeping your nose in front of the competition as you negotiate the inevitable hurdles.

In my last article ‘There’s never been a more important time to position your brand with care‘, I addressed the importance of working alongside retailers to find the right niche in a cluttered marketplace. We focused on why building a brand on the right foundations could help gain an initial listing and find an angle that would appeal to the end consumer.

As any brand owner will tell you, however, that success can be incredibly short-lived if you don’t have the processes in place to respond quickly to those first few days on the shelves. No matter how good your proposition or how strong the relationship you have built up with your retailer, poor performance in the early weeks of trading or during a key promotional period will condemn your product to the list of “also rans”.

At The Mothership Group we’ve worked with many brands to address this issue. Even businesses with a good track record for product promotions know what it can be like to watch a launch go awry. The best-laid plans can come unstuck if retailer implementation isn’t up to scratch.

Product positioning errors, pricing problems and failure to get the stock on shelf altogether: these are just some of the mistakes that can be part and parcel of rolling out a national campaign. With more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, we’ve seen many occasions when a good product has been scuppered due to a haphazard first week. While field sales has an important role to play in resolving implementation issues, all too often the damage is done by the time a problem has been diagnosed and trying to fix it by that point can sometimes be too late.

Whether it’s fine-tuning a promotion or overhauling a product launch altogether, the brands we work with want in-store answers in real-time. And through crowdsourcing, we can help them to achieve this, quickly and effectively.

What is crowdsourcing and why do you need it in your life?

Crowdsourcing uses consumers to let you know what’s going on with your brand in-store – wherever you are in the UK. In so many aspects of life we are now accustomed to having big data and analytics at our fingertips. That can make it incredibly frustrating to be detached from what is going on in retail outlets around the country. But through crowdsourcing, you can get your questions answered and accurate data collated quickly from anywhere across the nation.

From auditing promotional compliance and availability to a full mystery shopper service, crowdsourcing makes it easy to get a snapshot of your product’s implementation. And most importantly, you can take corrective action to remedy problems before they torpedo your whole activity.

At The Mothership Group, we offer crowdsourcing services through our own sister company, RedWigWam, to provide the fastest and most affordable solution for brands to gain insight and valuable data from Day 1 of their activity. With >40,000 people nationwide ready and waiting, we fill 98% of our roles in 4 hours so that you can have eyes on the ground in any outlet when you need them most. No waiting for the next call cycle or the next week to get a team out there – this is an almost instant solution.

Getting product out of the gates

At its best, crowdsourcing gets you clear, actionable feedback from the first minute your stockists launch your product or promotion, enabling you to make corrections or improvements just 90 minutes after launch on Day 1.

Over our time in retail/FMCG we have seen cases where 50% of a retailer’s shops have failed to implement a promotion correctly – a mistake that has a direct impact on sales. Having consumers in these shops and capturing photo of such problems can be hugely important when reviewing a promotion’s success with that stockist.

The FMCG market has always been fickle. But in the current economic climate and during a time of uncertainty, the window of opportunity for your brand to make a real impact has never been narrower. It’s for that reason that waiting a week or even a day to measure success is as useful as shutting the stable door after the proverbial horse has bolted.

To reiterate my earlier point, getting out of the gates fast is crucial.

Seeing the wood for the trees

It’s important to point out that a shaky first few days of a new activity isn’t always down to stores. There are times when a business simply misjudges their positioning and need to quickly adapt their proposition to make it fly.

For those brands launching something new and innovative, crowdsourcing can be an important early source of feedback from consumers. Gauging the response of early adopters can help you to work more swiftly on making adaptations and changes quickly. Even if it is too late to tweak your promotion, this fast feedback will inform your strategy going forward. Being able to pre-empt criticism and present solutions or improvements to retailers as soon as your product comes off the gondola end can help you keep those trade relationships strong when targets are not met.

At The Mothership Group we work closely with brand owners to interpret and respond to the data we collect. Not only does our unique approach to crowdsourcing allow us to keep our finger on the pulse of the shop floor, our expertise also makes us qualified to recommend improvements that will enhance their offering to retailers and consumers.

Working with The Mothership Group

We love to work with both established brands looking to innovate and new up-and-comers with a vision for disrupting the market. Our end-to-end service means that we can support brands from concept development right through to the successful delivery of a campaign or project. 

If you want to know more about how The Mothership Group can help your brand gain important market insight and develop a clear, targeted brand strategy, get in touch with on LinkedIn or by emailing Catherine@themothershipgroup.com.