Avoid the ivory tower syndrome, get your hands dirty once in a while

How often do you get out of your office, away from the constant drip feed of emails and sometimes unnecessary internal meetings, and see for yourself how your product or service is received in the market place? Most of us don’t do this enough. Once or twice a year just doesn’t cut it. It won’t provide the rounded insight you need to determine how your product is performing.

Planned days in trade can also paint a very different picture from the real one as field sales teams frantically call on outlets the day before they are visited from people in the office. Merchandising displays are prominent, all products are faced up and packed on shelf and point of sale is in abundance. This really is far from reality and you get a blinkered view. If you want to see the real picture, just go out on a spur of the moment and see for yourself the competitive market and plethora of brands all competing for space and visibility.

Even more insightful is doing the job of a field sales person for a day or two yourself. Talking to your customers and consumers. Gaining their feedback and thoughts. Aim to sell in a new product line, or new display and listen to the challenges you get back. This experience is invaluable. It can help you to shape how your business needs to do things differently, perhaps remove a product line altogether as you realise there are too many SKUs on shelf, or that your display unit is just to big to fit in a small isle.

Diageo, the producers of brands such as Guinness, Smirnoff and Baileys, sent all their office staff out every Christmas to merchandise in Grocery stores, from CEO to reception staff, to HR and Marketing teams. Everyone out for the month of December. There were two benefits; one it ensured that their product was on shelf when it mattered most, but two it provided the office staff an insight to the job of a merchandiser. Understanding that perhaps the outer case box of a product could be designed to be easier to open. Or the branding on the box just wasn’t visible enough when searching in the back of the store. Or that competitors were executing display more effectively. It also gave them opportunity to talk to consumers, understand what they buy in the drinks aisle and why they were buying it.

So don’t be shy, get out from behind your desk and go out and see for yourself how your products or services are performing in the market place, get the real picture that can then help you make some adjustments in your planning and strategies. Go and get your hands dirty…

If you have identified some opportunities from your trade visits and need some support to make some positive changes, get in touch and we can help you deliver them:

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