Are you a new supplier thinking of calling on Walmart for the first time? Or, are you an existing Walmart Supplier and want to pitch new products to your buyer? When preparing for that meeting, it’s essential to plan for questions about your product: cost, margin, distribution, and other operational or merchandising basics. However, when seeking Walmart’s buy-in to promote your product with feature space or possible advertising opportunities, your buyer will want to know one thing: what is your marketing plan?
Stephenie Sullivan is a marketing consultant located in NorthWest Arkansas. She sat in as our special guest on the 8th & Walton Conference Call podcast to share her expertise in creating marketing plans. With years of experience working with Walmart and suppliers, Sullivan shared unique insight into what Walmart expects and how suppliers can better prepare.
“Walmart is looking for your strategic marketing plan,” Sullivan explains, “That marketing plan lays out a roadmap for the Walmart merchandising and marketing teams to include your items in their corporate initiatives.
“A well-done marketing plan allows the supplier to work with the buyer to determine key in-store promotional opportunities (displays, signage, etc.) to educate the consumer about your new item.”
During our podcast interview, Sullivan also detailed what suppliers need to consider when putting that marketing plan together to present to Walmart:
- Where to begin when marketing a new item
- What questions Walmart will ask
- How marketing trends are changing, and which are not effective
- Understanding how marketing through Walmart differs from other retailers
- When and how to use social media
- Knowing how Millennials are changing the way we market
Putting together a strategic marketing plan that will answer all your buyer’s questions takes experience. A veteran marketing professional like Sullivan has watched the landscape evolve and understands how the consumer’s trust has shifted. “Millennials, for example, don’t trust corporate messaging,” she observes, “however, social media influencers are on the rise. The short videos and memes they create have a huge impact and are growing in popularity.”
For more insight from Stephenie Sullivan on how to put your marketing plan together for Walmart, listen to her complete interview by clicking the play button at the top of this article.