Have You Started Eating Peanut Butter Again?

Have you started eating peanut butter again? Many consumers are still worried about the widespread salmonella outbreak and continue to shy away. According to research firm Nielsen, in the four-week period ending February 21st Americans purchased 13.3% less peanut butter than in the same period last year. Executives at J.M. Smucker (maker of the Jif brand) said they were seeing weakness in sales due to the outbreak – even though Jif wasn’t tainted – and are running ads reassuring consumers that their brand is safe.

You’ve had your share of challenging assignments. You may not have had to deal with a full-scale product recall; but you’ve been in situations where your product just seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When market factors shift the winds how do you know when it’s time adjust your strategy sails? Well, a major wind shear – like a product recall due to salmonella is obvious; but what about something less obvious?

Ask yourself this question:

“If our current customer strategy is to work, how must the ideal customer behave, and how will they feel?”

If you conclude that the ideal buyer behavior and experience is missing the mark then it’s time to make an adjustment. A simple but often overlooked discipline to ensure that marketing is facilitating strategic alignment and that the marketing mix is still focused on the desired customer behavior and experience is to use a written marketing plan for each marketing strategy developed. There is value to organizing, documenting and writing down a marketing plan. The very process of bringing functional areas together to ask and answer the questions posed in a comprehensive marketing plan will create a road map to guide your total marketing efforts, and help bring strategic alignment.

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