Retail Marketing Agency
How a retail marketing agency can help you adapt and evolve
Positioning is the solid foundation every retail business needs.
Like stores and dining establishments, your retail marketing agency partner has to keep up with the changes demanded by your customers and clientele. The shopping experience may always be changing, but a customer’s thrill of discovery and sharing what they found never does. And whatever the occasion, a day out must be special every time.
Some ad agencies just don’t get retail. Or have a good feel for the retail business. Innis Maggiore does. That’s why we’ve been the retail and restaurant marketing services choice for client after client, year after year.
Part of it is understanding the shopper or diner. A retailer shouldn’t think of their shoppers as walking wallets, so neither should your agency. Customers seek an ever-increasing degree of convenience and personalization that should be reflected in your advertising and marketing. Of course, that impacts everything from marketing strategy to creative to the media employed.
Similarly, your shoppers aren’t walking credit cards ready to be processed, but real live people to whom the entire experience means everything. After all, unless they’ve mentioned that it’s a birthday or anniversary, you can’t know if they’re treating themselves to a rare day out, they usually can’t afford; a way to raise their spirits after a tough day at work; a reunion with a friend they haven’t seen for ages; or a special lunch celebration after hearing the great news of complete remission after months of cancer treatment. Every retail touch is an occasion that needs to be as perfect as possible.
That’s why Innis Maggiore believes in marketing with authenticity and personalization that considers that each touch will mean something utterly unique and singularly special.
Decades of expertise in retail marketing and restaurant marketing services.
Retail and restaurants fall into several main subcategories, which include big box, malls and lifestyle centers, grocery and drug, mass merchandise, convenience stores, and luxury retailers for the former; along with fine dining, fast casual, and quick service restaurants (QSR) for the latter.
Innis Maggiore has extensive experience across these categories — retailers such as BellStores, Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods, Gasser Jewelers, Custom Auto Body, Lehman’s, England Furniture, Rainbow Rentals, Quonset Hut, plus restaurants that include KFC, Krispy Kreme, BAM! Health Cuisine, Kraus’ Pizza, and Old Carolina Barbecue. We also market the products that go into those stores and into those restaurants via foodservice — from milk, pasta sauce and chicken to snacks and candy to hand sanitizer, OTC health products and cleaners.
Like you, we can’t assume to “own” the customer. Omni-choice shoppers are today’s reality, as they seek more distinctive and immersive experiences; digitally enabled shopping with more drive-thrus, pick-ups and fulfillment centers; in-store food halls or groceraunts; and an attention to sustainability and ethically sourced products.
Following the travel industry, the restaurant business has had the greatest and most lingering impact from the pandemic. As with retail, an increased emphasis on multiple drive-thrus and the emergence of dedicated drive-thru facilities (we’re the agency of record for Fred Olivieri Construction, which built the first Chipotlane Digital Kitchen) has changed the nature of dining transactions. Still, Innis Maggiore’s restaurant marketing services keep up with the diner’s demand for dining experiences with the emphasis on “experience;” the value of personalization; inventive and diversified cuisines that feature locally sourced ingredients; and a feeling of royal treatment in exchange for loyal patronage.
While retail remains one of the top spending categories in marketing, long gone are the days when ad agencies for retail could get away with being the most aggressive advertiser and watch market share mount. Today, insights and technologies and metrics have become as important as new products, sales and helpful service. The ever-changing retail and restaurant situations require marketing that’s far more sophisticated, predictive, and customized than ever before.
Innis Maggiore works with our store and dining marketing partners to deliver the right message at the right time in moments that matter and measure the impact. That could mean a connected TV effort in concert with a digital and social program or a geofenced coupon offer tied to billboard placements around key retailers or restaurants.
Customer-centric strategies drive smart marketing endeavors that are focused on connections with consumers, utilizing compelling storytelling, timely and meaningful content, and creating an “insights engine” among other factors. As a leading retail ad agency, Innis Maggiore employs shopper marketing to engage consumers throughout their paths toward purchase, from awareness to consideration to conversion.
Retail and restaurants need positioning, too.
One might associate brand positioning with consumer-packaged goods, but any category of business — whether product or service — can benefit from having a clearly differentiated brand in order to stand out in the marketplace against competitors.
After all, aside from contract products/private label, the items in one retailer’s building are the same available to another retailer in the same category. Go into any section of a store, seek out any product category, and stand in front of its display. You’re dazzled by foot after foot of shelf after shelf displaying products that basically look the same. How about the glut of chicken places and gourmet burger joints? What makes one different from the other in the mind of the consumer?
Without positioning, nothing. With positioning, everything.
As America’s #1 Positioning Ad Agency, Innis Maggiore continues to put positioning strategy first and then base tactics on a brand’s differentiation. Innis Maggiore is the only full-service agency with decades of experience as a retail marketing services agency and restaurant marketing services agency that helps companies establish their brand position as a core part of an overall marketing strategy.
It only makes sense. Why waste money funding tactic after tactic with random message after random message when your retail or restaurant marketing can focus on one brand message to cut through the tremendous amount of marketing clutter that exists today? What else is left but a strong brand position to make store or dining marketing stronger, more effective, and more efficient?
The less differentiation within a retail or restaurant category, the more money it takes to market that store or dining establishment. Innis Maggiore believes in using brand positioning to focus all of your marketing efforts and limit your marketing spending, while other marketing agencies for retailers or restaurants look like they’re perfectly willing to waste your money.
Groundbreaking PR shovels on the publicity for a new location
Everybody likes doughnuts. And everybody who likes doughnuts is nuts about Krispy Kreme. But for any retailer, having a product people like isn’t enough. People have to know you’re there, and they have to show up and show up early.
The opening is crucial: A new retailer — in any category — must have “boffo box office” when they first open their doors. That takes preparation, media prodding, and news with about as much buzz as you’d get from eating three or four of those glazed wonders.
The Innis Maggiore PR group is all about news. And its work on the introduction of Krispy Kreme’s doughnut theatre to the Youngstown market was all about results, generating an estimated value of 400,000 impressions over TV, newspaper, and radio.
Innis Maggiore controlled the tempo of a four-month program to expertly and efficiently build up to project landmarks. The groundbreaking was truly an event. Much more than a couple of bigwigs wielding shovels, Innis Maggiore’s premiere publicity moment was a multi-faceted, community-involving, and news-grabbing landmark.
400 people attended. Government, business, and community leaders played an active role. The groundbreaking itself had a newsworthy cause-related angle, as area kids dug for fundraising certificates to be used to benefit the area United Way.
In-studio and on-camera talent tried Krispy Kremes right on the air (as a result of our high-profile, well-timed deliveries), and then a line started forming at the store 15 hours prior to the doors opening.
Express Oil Change
Positioning against the dreaded auto dealers was a sure strategy
Express Oil Change found itself in the crowded quick lube/single-service automotive care retailer segment. Like Jiffy Lube, Midas Muffler, Firestone Tires, et al., they saw the category limiting and the margins ever shrinking.
Innis Maggiore suggested creating a new middle category — above the quick lubes and the one-service providers, but below the acknowledged experts, the auto dealer. While customers believe the dealers know the most, they also feel trapped into going to them, ripped off by higher prices, and ignored about convenience and respect for their time. In short, many hate the dealers.
That let us elevate Express Oil Change & Service Center as the good guys, in essence The Anti-Dealer we tagged “The Auto Dealer Service Alternative,” for “car care by people who care.” New radio spots, featuring the calming, friendly persuasion of Lindsay Wagner, along with acquisition direct mail and service-expanding cross promotional pieces and point-of-sale formed the foundation of the initiative.
Same store sales increases were strong, with year-over-year hikes of 10.6% in oil change revenue and 7.1% in total revenue (showing the overall benefit of the repositioning campaign).
BAM! Healthy Cuisine
A local good-for-you eatery gets a healthy facelift
What do you do when you’re invisible to your customers? Come to America’s #1 Positioning Ad Agency, of course.
BAM! Healthy Cuisine, a local fast casual restaurant concept with a unique approach to healthy eating, had an awareness and visibility problem. While the original location was well known, the latest branch was tucked into a newer shopping plaza and was invisible to the road. And once people did get close enough to see BAM!, they couldn’t tell whether it was a restaurant or grocery store.
This translated into a significant traffic problem, dramatically impacting store sales performance. Innis Maggiore’s first step was to clearly communicate exactly what BAM! does in the first place. We used their 30’ window space to erect a massive banner that simply said “Restaurant + Curbside2Go.”
Next, to solve the awareness problem, we proposed a full re-introduction campaign using a hyper-local approach utilizing an oversized, double-sided 9”x12” postcard, email, and Facebook advertising.
The results were phenomenal. Same-store sales were up $7,000 year-over-year in May, $9,000 in June, and $7,000 through the first two weeks of July. The oversized direct mail piece produced a 12% redemption rate, compared to the average of 1.5%-2% for most direct mail campaigns. About 90% of these redemptions were from new customers, with upward-trending repeat visits.
Multi-cultural marketing personalizes the shopping experience
Our work for this national rent-to-own chain of stores incorporated Spanish-language TV, radio, and related consumer elements guided by the agency’s research.
For Hispanic Americans 18+, the message was about providing for yourself and your family with name brands and pride of ownership. After all, though “renting” is the process, ultimately “owning” is the goal. We directed materials specifically to this audience, often with different creative rather than a mere translation. The marketing investment was appropriate for long-term potential, as this segment is extremely brand loyal.
Together with Spanish-language TV vehicles, radio was both important and accessible based on statistics at the time (12 million annually listened to Spanish-language radio; 32% only to Spanish broadcasts; 63% were more likely to buy a product/service advertised in Latino-oriented publication or on such a program).
Similarly, Spanish-speaking direct marketing lists played a significant role. Hispanic Americans who speak Spanish at home do not get a lot of mail in Spanish, so when they do they tend to open, while the average US Hispanic HH receives 85% less DM pieces a year than Anglos.
For African Americans 18+, we employed the same message about name brands and pride of ownership, with an additional angle about getting products in the home now as a driver (i.e., wanting things owned by friends and neighbors). This segment showed the largest percent rating of any for rent-to-own, but we were careful to remain sensitive and avoid aggressively targeting low-income African Americans.
Media research showed a strong potential for radio (Urban, Contemporary Hits, Jazz, Gospel, select Talk); good for magazines (Ebony, Jet, Essence, Vibe, Source); that cable was essential (BET, Lifetime, USA, TNT, MTV); a strong need to add Sunday newspapers; and to pay attention to online marketing opportunities.
We developed the themeline, “You’re the Boss” to carry through Rainbow’s external advertising, internal communications, and even new associate training. In each of our television commercials, we spun yarns in which a customer looks for a good deal and finds it at Rainbow Rentals. In each case, the bilingual store manager tells the customer (in English or Spanish), “You’re the Boss.”
This endeavor was part of an overall program that was based on a new creative strategy with messaging relevant to their demographics, along with a new market- and need-based media strategy that eliminated waste. The total project reversed two years of negative performance, exceeded the prior year, and Rainbow’s ambitious forecast, while delivering greater reach for same media budget.
Old Carolina Barbecue
Fast and high #s for slow and low Q
Barbecuing is a passion. To do it well, it requires a commitment to the tradition of slow-cooking meats to achieve that hallmark smoky flavor. Old Carolina not only embraces that tradition — they live it. This local fast casual chain made a smart early decision by employing Innis Maggiore to bring their brand position as the area’s only Carolina-style BBQ to life in a comprehensive package of restaurant marketing support that differentiated them while letting their authenticity shine through.
We created permanent signage, menu boards, a website, direct marketing, collateral, sales promotion print and POS, and even a summertime series featuring a local band outside the restaurants on a flatbed truck.
In only six months, Innis Maggiore increased Facebook fan “Likes” for Old Carolina by nearly 500 people (or 47%) for the growing chain. We did so by deploying a monthly posting schedule incorporating polls, trivia, menu specials, contests, photos, “True Q” news, new store construction updates, event information, and barbecue grilling tips — keeping fans engaged and encouraging them to interact with the Facebook page.
Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods
Repositioning isn’t a DIY project
Baird Brothers makes beautiful home improvement products from floors and stairwells to moulding and interior doors. The challenge was finding a way to turn a 50-year-old family sawmill into a multi-channel retailer. Only local folks knew they had a store and would be as likely to associate it with cutting boards and Ohio State branded merch as with Baird’s core building products.
We rebranded the sawmill to Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods, emphasizing Baird's high-end quality and using award-winning TV, collateral and direct marketing, paid search, and a new e-commerce website. The perception of local purchasers rose to the level appropriate to the Baird Brothers’ craftsmanship, while the website now generates online sales by shipping 10,000 different premium custom products throughout the country.