Is Your Distribution Network Working for You?
If you have ever played a team sport, you recognize quickly that some teams are better than others. In some cases, a team without any apparent star talent rises through the standings to become a contender for first place. How do they do it? You may notice that the team members are all talking to each other and discussing plays. When they are advancing on the goal, they shout encouragement and suggestions from the bench. Through hard effort, they often score.
Now, apply this analogy to your team: the distribution network. Are your channel partners in the game? Are they working for you and your brands?
In the summer of 2019, Stratus completed a series of Brand Focus360 surveys with Canadian farmers. One of the markets studied was canola fungicides, a market that has a relatively small number of effective products targeting important diseases. The study examined various metrics ranging from grower brand perceptions to channel effort to promotions.
Focusing on channel effort, we asked farmers a series of questions about their canola fungicide brands in context to their interactions with retailers. Of particular interest was the prevalence of brand discussions, the level of recommendation about the brand, and whether the farmers ultimately used the brand.
From the dataset, let’s examine three brands depicted in the chart below. For Brand A, the retailers are certainly engaging with the farmers and discussing the brand (37.5%) more so than the net all brands.
However, they are not providing a lot of high recommendations about Brand A to their farmers in these discussions (18.7%). The result: sub-par use of Brand A (9.4%). The channel started strong but failed to follow through.
Now consider Brand B. It is receiving an average effort from their retailers: brand discussions and discussions with high recommendations are no different than the net all brands. Yet, their sales success with Brand B is well above the net all brands. Imagine where Brand B’s sales could be if its growth was not hindered by the lackluster effort by the channel.
Finally, Brand C. In this case retailer discussions about the brand with farmers, the level of high recommendations offered about the brand, and the resulting sales success are all above the net all brands. Clearly the channel is excited about Brand C and fully engaged in the process of selling it to their customers.
So, what about your brand? Is your team of retailers excited about discussing, recommending, and closing the sale of your brand?
In 2020, Stratus will field Brand Focus360 studies in many crops and crop protection categories across Canada. Their results will provide companies who purchase them with strategic insights for brand positioning, channel evaluations, promotions, and more. They are essential contributions to a company’s long-range planning process and resource allocation.