Supermarkets – an example of struggling to be different

I see in Marketinmorrisons-edlp-2014-46_460g Week today that…’Morrisons strips messaging back in search of value perception boost’.

They’re getting rid of their ‘I’m cheaper’ message. And, surprise surprise, focusing on low prices. Read the Marketing Week article here. And of course, it’s not just these two. Tesco have been battering on the price war door, and the ‘higher end’ supermarkets have become fearful so have  followed suit in their own way.

Now this isn’t really new news. But it does highlight just how difficult it is for supermarkets to compete in the current day and age where us consumers constantly seek price competition.

IMG_76673All the brands will already have their Christmas campaigns well and truly settled, TV adverts in post production, middle management planning store layouts and starting to brief store managers on the plans….it will be interesting to see which of the big players sticks their necks out and attempts to woo customers without driving home that their Christmas shopping trolley will be cheaper with them than elsewhere.

But away from the supermarkets, for business owners and marketeers one key lesson is clear isn’t it? Only one can be cheaper.

However, and it’s a big however, along with the vast majority of people, I don’t switch between supermarkets every week based upon prices. I have a built up loyalty to one brand, which is driven by convenience. Tesco is a mile away. Any of the other main players are over 5 miles away. I have subsequently built up a loyalty to Tesco, I’m used to their store layout, I like some of their own brand products, and I’m a big fan of their new petrol price loyalty scheme (it’s not lost on me that it helps me save money!). Nothing yet will pull me towards another supermarket.

So where does that leave us when we consider the marketing of our own businesses? I’d suggest customer loyalty is something to focus on.

  • How can you generate a level of customer loyalty that means you’re unlikely to lose them.
  • What happens if your competitor(s) start to try and win your customers by offering the same for less?
  • Where’s the added value to them continuing to purchase from you?
  • How can you communicate with your customer base to make them know they are valued?
  • What can you offer them that means they know they’d lose out if they did decide to go elsewhere?
  • At the heart of it all what does your brand stand for?

And don’t forget your marketing material (from your website through to your newsletters and promotional activity) is a key tool in getting your messages across. It must be consistent. It must be professionally designed. And it must be crystal clear in the way it communicates to your customers the benefits to them of sticking with you.

REMEMBER. Unless you want to be the cheapest, you’ve got to somehow be different!