Economic downturns invariably force us to reevaluate our operational procedures in an effort to find ways to accomplish more with less and rededicate ourselves to our core business objectives. When under pressure, business leaders often choose to “slash and burn” instead of looking for ways to make their company more efficient in the long run.
Efficiency in marketing involves lowering acquisition costs while raising customer acquisition rates. Efficiency is defined as a higher taste-to-purchase ratio at a lower cost of in-store demo production in field marketing parlance. There are many ways to achieve this goal, but many of them are in conflict with one another, so finding the right balance might take some consideration.
Gift 1: Who are the “right” people for the job?
For example, think about how an experienced and well-trained brand ambassador is much more likely to engage shoppers and turn them into customers during an in-store sampling event than a minimum-wage temp from a staffing agency. On the other hand, the hourly wage of experienced brand ambassadors and the cost of training may not justify the increased conversion rate they deliver.
That is where data* can provide much-needed clarity. An average brand ambassador with one year of in-store marketing experience engages and converts customers 83% more than an average temp, who costs 33% less per hour. Still, these numbers only tell part of the story: organizing, coordinating, and managing people with less experience takes much more time and effort. The funds come from your marketing budget, so it doesn’t matter if these initiatives are carried out by your in-house staff or a staffing firm.
Gift 2: What is more valuable, Administration or Selling?
You can also make your customer engagement marketing strategy more effective by taking a closer look at the overhead costs that come with running it. They include such costs as recruiting, onboarding, training, and managing brand ambassadors. If you give these tasks to your store sampling partners, they will charge you for their overhead costs, which are often the same as or more than the cost of labor. It might be a sensible choice depending on the caliber of their staff, how many events you want to host in a specific amount of time, and the region you want to serve. Nevertheless, it will eat up almost half of your marketing budget without allowing you to develop.
Knowing the differences between a national or local staffing agency and a specialized demo company is crucial. The distinction is easily illustrated as a difference between Tinder and eHarmony:
If you are looking for fast coverage of a large number of retail locations, the staffing agency is your choice. But forming a partnership with a demo company with a local market and expertise in the same product category as you are more likely to lead to the lowest cost per customer.
You have complete control over the caliber of your team and the cost you shell out for administration when it comes to hiring, educating, and managing your in-store field marketing staff. It makes no difference whether they are workers or contractors.
With store sampling management software, at least 50% of administrative tasks could be easily automated for a small fraction of what they cost now, and there would be other benefits that aren’t easy to find:
- More funds for getting more shoppers’ face time.
- More intelligence for making events much more effective.
Gift 3: Are you in the right stores?
Growing CPG companies frequently take the “more is better” stance in order to secure as much shelf space as possible as quickly as possible during the “good times.” Recessionary times necessitate a more sober and laser-like focus.
Are you engaging the right shoppers with your in-store marketing events?
Are you chasing the stores with too low or too high traffic?
Do you spend too much to reimburse travel time between the events?
During this time of economic uncertainty, the best thing to do is to look over the facts and use the available marketing budget where and when it matters most. The safety of your crew and boat are far more important in a storm than your sailing speed.
This means that you should only hold demos in stores that see regular foot traffic and only on the days and hours that your best prospective customers are most likely to attend your in-store sampling event.
There are better strategies than throwing money at a wall to see what sticks in times of abundance. During periods of scarcity, it is suicidal.