Saturday, October 16, 2010

IMC Retail Plan: Research, Plan, Implement and Evalulate

Sample Retail Level Audit of the Brand Image and Performance
Prepared by Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D. 2010
This task and audit memorandum is designed to apply the experience and thinking of the Department of Integrated Marketing Communications and Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D. to retail, single site business. Many of the ideas most often applied to larger consumer goods and business to business level companies have been adapted to a retail firm located in a single site. However, the importance of the application of modern marketing practices to strengthen the store and store owner brand is just as important and may be more important since the stakes are relatively higher for the personal success of the business owner. As with any application of strategic thought and tactics; the memo is really a list of hopefully powerful suggestions that may stimulate the owner to devise his own version of his branding strategy.
First, the memo identifies a number of questions that should be answered in the eyes of the business consumer, in this case member or student. The research steps first ask the brander to understand the consumer, the employee, the co-branding partners, the lending institution, the media, community, business organizations and other stakeholders or publics at the retail level. The retail level IMC communication strategy includes these four steps: Research, plan, implementation, evaluation. See attachment for questions asked at each step for high level professional performance. Each step constantly reminds the branding manager to consider the information gathered primarily in step one (research).
Research is important to gather facts, insights, understanding of the consumer, prospective member, and other critical stakeholders who may heavily influence the consumer’s perspective of the quality and importance of the store and owner brand.
1. Run the “Brand contact audit” and take notes. Ask a current, friendly member to walk through with you recording all his/her comments on their impressions starting in the parking lot.
2. Discuss the brand contact ideas from the impressionable consultant:
1. Where do I park, can I park on the side or is that for the restaurant?
2. Where is the gym? I see the sign but I don’t see the windows. Is that the door?
3. Is it safe to enter? I am in 15 feet and I still don’t know if it is really open?
4. “Wow! Look at all those people in the class; it looks great".
5. Is it the right place?
6. Will someone welcome me? Why don’t they notice me?
7. Was there bell that sounded when I entered?
8. Should I leave now?
9. Where do I wait? Where do I sit? Is my car safe?
10. What is going on here? Do they have my centers of interest?
11. Where are the showers, lockers and toilets?
12. Is that coffee or water for me?
13. Do I like the music?
14. Why is the lighting so harsh?
15. Why are the walls so beat-up?
16. I like the wooden and rubber floors.
17. Do they have shower stalls?
18. Should they have more mirrors? I don’t really like mirrors.
19. Will the class welcome me?
20. Where do I put my purse, bag, and coat?
21. Do they have “cubbies?”?
22. How much is it (wall chart)
23. Do they have personal training? Are these the people? Do they have a female trainer?
24. Where are their pictures and credentials?
25. Is it really, really, really clean.
26. Is the science part real? Can I have an article to take home? Do you have a website link on science?
27. More.

3. Audit of all your communications.
1. All printed materials, contracts, brochures, ads, letters, emails, website, billing notices, exercise sheets, directions to the gym, story of the owner, page of valuable links to website to learn, brochure on science testing device and article confirming its validity.
2. Call your store and gather an impression of how this communications works for brand building. Leave a message and check if it arrives in a timely way. Leave a message for specific trainers.
3. Leave a message on your website.
4. List of all “competitors” that you would like to compare yourself to. Other gyms big and little. Churches, schools, other non-gym gyms. Spas. Home exercise equipment stores?
5. List all formal and informal co-branding agreement and actions taken and date of next action.
a. All stores in the shopping mall and across the street, on each corner.
b. Other business partners including hospitals, doctors, dentists, schools, coaches and gym teachers, university Greek and independent houses, bike shops, sporting goods,
Etc. to place your materials and ask for rewarded referrals.
4. Focus groups and other face to face human research – each idea is an option.
1. Run 5 Post class 30 minute discussion with rewards (drawing for a prize)
2. Offer surveys for all visiting with reward (drawing for a prize)
3. Offer a survey on website
4. Email to members a free survey on “survey monkey”
5. Conduct exit interviews of members who have not renewed, have announced they are leaving because of dissatisfaction with service, price or moving from the area.
6. Interviews with customers you know have left due to service complaints in the past 6 months
7. Find and review of stories and any research on gym management and marketing
8. Locate research materials from suppliers (equipment) of their exercise related research.
9. Conduct general government and social research on exercise
10. Review and locate current scientific and supplier data on your scientific testing systems

5. Gather feedback from conferences, events, meetings
1. Data from show sponsors (pre and post surveys, trends, speakers)
2. Data from specific industry booths
3. Collect data on the floor and events of specific interest to your goals and ideas
4. Arrange to run a focus group at event for a free lunch for about 9 people.
5. Interview people watching people running at half marathons, marathons, 5Ks. What would they like to accomplish in the next 6 months to a year? Would they like to participate in the event
6. See questions on the score sheet attached.
7. more
1. Prepare new product plans that include new audiences identified above and from your own experience and study of competitors
a. Elderly and deals with senior centers
b. People planning to get in shape for an event (party, season, run, family, doctor, trip, etc.)
c. All motivations need to be examined.
d. New equipment ordered or needed to compete (crazy exercise equipment in bike shop)
e. Recent birth mothers with babies in tow
f. Father’s preparing to give away the bride
g. Unemployed professionals who want to look fit, energized and great (team with spa)
2. From the audit above plan to improve the brand contact points
a. Plan specific decorating, remodeling, reorganization and new machines.
b. Use a form to list contact points:
i. List contact point, e.g. front door, front hallway entrance,
ii. List positive or negative impression,
iii. List how important it seems to be to the consumer,
iv. Quote the consumer on if the contact is positive, negative or neutral to them
v. Note improvement s needed on the brand contact point.
3. Use MBO (management by objectives) to plan your statements of success.
a. Mission is your broadest statement of what words represent your reason for being in business and serving others
b. Goals are general statement of what new and continuing actions you wish to do to improve your branding offering. Help recent birth mothers to XXX
c. Objectives are very specific intentions of the plan. By X date, Y person will increase memberships by Z% with a renewal rate of A. The cost of each new member will not exceed $B. Or, By X date, Y person will create a consumer contact database for a cost not exceeding $Z. The database will be used to contact A consumers by B date with offer C. etc.
4. Plan for the personal branding goals of Tony, but plan to improve the store contact points and brand before launching a personal brand to the media or other stakeholders.
a. Conduct a personal brand audit of Tony
b. Develop goals, objectives
c. Devise a list of communication actions that are more personality driven
5. See the questions on the score sheet.

1. Develop an 24 month schedule of action (over two budget periods and two seasons)
2. Test and do your marketing product and communication ideas.
3. Be opportunistic but follow the plan.
4. Measure everything
5. Have fun doing it
6. See question on the score sheet

1. Measure everything
2. Take before and after pictures of the store, the owner and the customers.
3. Re-interview members, consumers
4. Redo the brand contact audit
5. Measure and report on all consumer data, finances profits, costs, per customer acquisition costs, lifetime value of the consumer/member, value of leads from co-branders, etc.
6. See the questions on the score sheet
7. More
Rewrite you corporate statements, if needed. Start over.

Clarke Caywood, Ph.D. 847 2420901.