Every chain has some form of a weekly marketing bulletin. And every chain has a certain percentage or managers who miss vital information contained within said bulletin.
These are the managers who, when a miscue is discovered, say; “Whoa! How’d I miss that?”
That’s a good reason for category managers or directors to be deliberate and brief when writing these bulletins.
The term “reader-friendly” is cliché but imperative to writing a bulletin everyone can comprehend. This doesn’t mean the bulletin covers topics superficially. As a machine has no unnecessary parts, neither should business writing.
It’s best to begin with what the produce managers should anticipate in the coming week, especially what merchandising execution is expected. Typically, a short paragraph or two is all that’s needed, detailing expectations of product, placement, price and promotion of ad or seasonal items.
Following this, follow up with a brief analysis of the previous week’s ad results. This might compare the projected case-per-store averages against what actually sold.
Next to this, another listing with upcoming ad items, projected per store. This lets managers see how they do compared to the average store moves, and thus helps them develop accurate forecasts.
Some chains include information on upcoming volume ad items and post distribution shipments from the warehouse to the stores in order to get displays built early.
Based on several factors, a bulletin may contain other direction, such as things that are working (or not) or other observations made by the director or supervisors during the week.
The best bulletins I’ve seen divide the notes into two categories, “marketing notes” and “other notes.”
Marketing notes contain more detail than the projected ad listings. Within a few points, the bulletin may direct where certain end caps should face or list minimal case amounts expected per display. The bulletin might suggest a building multiple displays or tie-in with ther departments or products.
Other notes detail issues such as company announcements, new store opening news or other noteworthy items, such as any special achievements or success stories.
No matter what the format, a marketing bulletin should be concise, containing the most important information in the shortest amount of space.
After all, there’s work to be done.
Armand Lobato works for the Idaho Potato Commission. His 30 years of experience in the produce business span a range of foodservice and retail positions. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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