I’m sitting at my desk. Through my window, I can see Windsor Castle. Concorde has just flown overhead, the playing fields of Eton are behind me and there is not a cloud in the sky. The county of Berkshire, United Kindom at this time of year can be delightful. The year in 1991. It’s my first day at RHM. My first day as a Trade Marketing Manager. My first day in flour.
With those stats, you’re already asking “ Why did I leave an Account Managers role at Black and Decker (B&D) for flour”? Remember in 1991 B&D were at the top of their game… and flour was, well…just flour?
As my husband will tell you I had been banging on about this new thing called trade marketing for over a year. I was first introduced to it through working in the sheds. Remember Focus, Payless and Texas?
As an Account Manager, I was front and centre in this new trade initiative. The problem was Trade Marketing was eating my lunch. The more I looked into it, the more I wanted to be a part of this new initiative.
RHM was a great choice for me. It was a fabulous introduction. I worked with many inspiring people ‘in flour’ who encouraged me to develop my newly found passion for trade marketing. It was time to move to United Biscuits and grow. I grew in capability, team management, P&L, ROI and skills. I had a blast securing Category Captaincy for some great brands in Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s, ASDA and Morrisons. In that Time trade marketing had morphed into category management or category development depending on where trade marketing was in the cycle.
In 2003 I knew it was time to leave United Biscuits. I looked at my team of 57 people and smiled. I had made the right choice in 1991. After eight years at United Biscuits and 5 years at RHM, I was ready to go it alone.
In 2004 I co-founded Big River Solutions and became an entrepreneur. My vision was always to be boutique, high end and agile. Over the years, I have managed to keep to that mantra. Not all the time. Just most of the time.
In that time, we have helped clients drive some impressive projects across the EU, Africa, South America, Canada and the USA. Along the way, the business has evolved into a sharp, strong and streamlined category and shopper marketing consultancy with our clients at the heart of our future.
Fourteen years on Big River Solutions continues to evolve. Trade marketing or category management is now known as shopper marketing. We now have a comprehensive range of solutions across the 4 pillars of people, practice, process, principles. All set within the Category and Shopper discipline. We have a great team with many inspiring clients who are with us for a very long term. In two weeks we’re off to deliver category management training in Mexico and Columbia. What’s not to like?
We learned early on that a great solution depends on robust project management to deliver the right client outcome… and here is the point of this article.
Category management and shopper marketing will continue to evolve. Those who think it’s a forgotten cousin may want to reconsider.
Here is the test. Answer these 5 questions:
- Look at what you do today and ask yourself will it be relevant tomorrow?
- Do I have the tools I need to pinpoint what my shopper looks like, behaves like and desires?
- Do I understand where my brand fits in the shopper decision tree
- Does my brand entice the shopper into the store?
- Is the retailer a fan?
To know your shopper is to have a business.
If you have answered ‘no’ to these questions… contact me today. We could have the solution!
If you have answered ‘yes’…call me anyway.