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Marketing Execution at the Retail Level
By: Cindy Wendland
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We like to use organic cleaning products at home. One of our favorites is Full Circle. The problem is, we can’t get the product any more at our local grocer. We tried Target and had no luck. We tried Amazon and still no luck. We searched the company website and it appears it is still available. We found it on CoburnsDelivers.com, but we are outside of the New Hope, PA delivery area.

What happens with marketing execution at the retail level to make products available? Ideas, policies, and procedures are generated and then passed down through the company. One manager tells an employee who tells another who tells another. In the pharmaceutical industry, there are compliance managers that ensure their employees are saying and doing the right things, and not saying and not doing the wrong things. Walmart currently has a job opening for a Quality Assurance Manager whose job is to model compliance with company policies and procedures. Whose job is it at our local grocery store to make sure the products (Full Circle All Purpose Cleaner) are refilled on the shelf? It may not be a stocking issue. It may be a fulfillment issue with the manufacturer. 

The same issue is happening with Quaker Rice Cakes. We like the lightly salted ones. They were not on the shelf, so we bought the chocolate ones. We felt a little odd eating them for breakfast but rather enjoyed the flavor with peanut butter and jelly. Now the only flavors left on the shelf for months have been caramel corn and buttered popcorn. The clerk at the grocery store used to ask us, “Did you find everything all right?” Usually the answer was yes. Now they don’t ask, and we really want to tell them, “No, we can’t find the cleaning products or rice cakes we like.”

At company meetings at Full Circle and Quaker, we imagine that people report on product sales, trends, and forecasts. They talk about marketing strategies and plans and new channel opportunities and promotions. All of that is great and exciting and can lead to increased sales and profits. The only problem is if the execution of all that marketing falls short at the retail level and the products are simply not on the shelf. We would like to buy them, but we just can’t.

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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