Research in focus: (Un)conventional channels: consumer brand marketing in emerging markets
Tried and true activities, such as promotion and advertising, do not greatly influence typical sales channels in Brazil, such as bakeries and grocery stores, while other actions, such as offering relationship programs and varying package sizes, make a difference.
Objective: To assess the influence of marketing on sales in different channels, such as supermarkets and traditional retail outlets (i.e., bakeries and grocery stores) in an emerging market environment.
• Utilization of two databases. The first contains monthly audit data for 360 types of soda, covering a period of four years, from supermarkets and traditional retail stores in 120 Brazilian cities. Variables such as sales, prices, product variety (package sizes), market coverage, participation of product exposure relative to the category in the stores audited, and existing discounts and promotions are covered. The second database is made available by one of the brands analyzed and includes expenditures by marketing activity.
• Statistical analysis of the data using a multivariate analysis technique for time series (i.e., vector autoregression – VAR – with residual decomposition).
• Despite being important in mature markets, some marketing activities (such as promotions and advertising) do not have the same effect on sales intensity in traditional channels in emerging markets.
• Variety, such as in package size, price, shelf exposure and advertising, has a larger long-term effect on sales in supermarket chains than on sales in traditional retail outlets. Large networks have more automated information systems for making decisions than do traditional retail outlets, which are mainly based on stock availability.
• Of all the elements of the marketing mix, both in traditional channels (because it is easy to stock smaller sizes) and in supermarkets (new options are a way of expanding space and visibility), package size offers the greatest returns over the long term.
• Sales losses due to price adjustments are smaller in bakeries and grocery stores. Relationship programs help support price increases within these channels.
• The marketing activities traditionally used in mature markets do not generate the same results in other channels. Companies must therefore adapt the elements of the marketing mix to suit each retail format.
• Despite the importance attributed to traditional channels (bakeries and grocery stores) in emerging markets, it is not easy for consumer product manufacturers to drive sales in this format vs. supermarkets. Package size is the factor that has the strongest effect.