cute pug puppy dog wearing winter hat with "Happy Monday" and a heart on a small chalkboard to the dog's right.
Editorial

Hey Marketers, Stop Dreading the Monday Retail Trading Meeting

5 minute read
Stuart Russell avatar
The key reason these meetings are so tough for marketing teams is technical — but there's a way to make things better.

The Monday trading meeting is a solidified weekly feature for those that work in retail. It’s become part and parcel of the retail drumbeat. The purpose of these meetings is to look back at the previous week of trade and to agree on the strategy for the week ahead.

The marketing team plays a crucial role in these meetings. They are the ones often responsible for bringing the data points and insights from that past week, and act as the executants of the top-of-funnel strategy. 

But, with only 26% of customers buying from specific brands, and low levels of high-street footfall, many retailers have resorted to cutting customer experience programs and marketing budgets. In fact, despite the relative growth over the past year, marketing budgets remain lower than before the pandemic. Alongside a number of other factors, this has caused many marketers to start dreading the Monday trading meet.

Why Are Mondays So Hard for Marketers?

It’s certainly true that the macroeconomic factors currently affecting the retail industry aren't making the Monday trading meeting easier. But, the key reason these meetings are so tough for marketing teams is technical. Assuming that the “previous week” only ended a few hours before the meeting (at midnight on the Sunday), marketers have little time to consolidate online and offline transactions, layer it with the known customer data and surface meaningful insights that will enable the customer experience strategy for the following week. 

Secondly, it is the disparity of objectives which makes these meetings really challenging. While the C-Suite is looking at the bigger picture, the trading or category managers are focused on traffic and product specific KPIs, leaving marketing in the middle, trying to balance customer-centricity and commercial pressure. 

Addressing all of the stakeholders’ needs and expectations, while implementing a sensible marketing plan is no mean feat, especially when the availability and confidence in the data is all relative.

However, there is light at the end of this tunnel.  

Related Article: Crushing Marketing in Times of Financial Hardship for Customers

Covering All Bases for Marketing

To shift some of the dread, marketing teams must start by overcoming the technical hurdle first. As such, consolidating various sources of data as quickly as possible is crucial. But, also using tools which enable decision-makers to investigate last week’s results, and simulate next week’s plan, easily will save time and drive efficiency. If an analyst needs to spend hours slicing and dicing data every time someone is asking a question, the analysis just won’t happen fast enough.

Another way to make Monday trading meetings less daunting is to focus on the metrics which give a complete view of progress. Trading meetings are traditionally focused around traffic and transactions which is of course fair to some extent; sales are the business’ life supply. 

The risk, however, is to miss the bigger picture — to only pay attention to next week and be blind to the broader, longer term opportunity. It is like driving at night and only seeing a few meters ahead; you need to switch on the headlamps and check out what’s coming further ahead, as there might be an opportunity to take a different road. 

Learning Opportunities

Ultimately, as much as generating transactions for next week is important, the team should know whether or not it comes at a cost. In that regard, bringing additional metrics such as Lifetime Value and even Future Lifetime value will provide a useful, and complete, perspective of activity.

Related Article: Is Value Realization the Secret to Customer Lifetime Loyalty?

Balancing the Stakeholders’ Priority

Martech, supported by customer data, can also help marketing teams solve the issue around the disparity in objectives prioritized by leadership. Stakeholders, such as category managers, often have vastly overlapping needs for audience attention. Everyone’s product or message is a priority, and marketing is the gatekeeper of the customer’s inbox, safeguarding against over-communication and unsustainable marketing pressure. 

Yet, analysis of all this data, and the process of extracting key insights, is difficult, time-consuming and virtually impossible to optimize by hand unless you have a skilled technical analyst. But even then, making advanced calculations for the umpteenth time with slightly different parameters certainly isn’t going to win marketing teams' friends in the analysis team.

Here, looking to utilize machine learning is key in making preparing for Monday trading meetings a little more manageable. The strategy and direction should remain under the marketing team’s control, but the actual number crunching should be automated, and quick! 

The Magic of 'Aha' Moments in Marketing

Marketers love "aha" moments, especially when they occur during the Monday trading meetings. An "aha" moment is the instant when they uncover new insight, put their finger on something meaningful, prove that a strategy is delivering according to plan or find a new way of looking at a situation. ‘Aha!’ moments provide the clarity needed to make decisions and implement a marketing strategy. These insights could be positive signs emerging through the vastness of data, the identification of a shift in behavior, an emerging trend or the missing link between insight and action. 

Having more "aha" moments is key to ensuring marketers actually look forward to the Monday meeting. But how can marketers create more of these magic moments? Well, advanced behavioral analysis tools are critical in surfacing more of these coveted "aha!" moments. Even when your brand is suffering from lower sales volumes, there are useful insights to be gleaned, and finding them can often mean diverging from the traditional high level customer metrics and drilling into more detailed analysis. For example, transactions today may not present overly positive results, but specific segment trends might provide reassurance that improvement is under way. 

In the end, identifying and sharing these "aha" moments and insights will make it much easier to align everyone behind the strategy for the week ahead. By strategically using martech to hurdle over both the technical challenge, and close the disparity between objectives, marketers might one day start looking forward to the Monday trading meeting. 

About the author

Stuart Russell

Stuart Russell has 20 years of experience in CRM and data marketing in client-side, consultancy and agency-side roles. Stuart leads Planning-inc’s strategic and growth initiatives as Chief Strategy Officer.

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