We aim to be the Dutch leader in local retail marketing by working closely with retailers.
The grocery industry is becoming increasingly homogenized, and yet there can be vast differences between individual supermarkets. While the banner and logo outside the store may tell you it is part of a national chain, there are so many factors at play that individual stores often cannot be compared. The neighbourhood where the store is located, the available floor space, the level of competition and the properties of the physical location are just a few examples of these factors, which all greatly affect a store’s identity, image and level of success.
Standing out in a contracting market
Isn’t it odd that supermarkets that may appear identical on the face of it in reality couldn’t be any more different? Retailers and franchisees, faced with restrictions in their franchise contracts, are having a harder time achieving and maintaining a competitive advantage, yet in this contracting market they are required more than ever to compete for consumers’ attention and euros. Our Managing Director, Carl Dahmen, spotted an opportunity in this crowded market with its inherent contradictions.
Connecting retailers with brands
Before going into retail marketing Carl used to work as a supermarket manager, and at the time he felt there simply weren’t enough opportunities for his store to stand out in the local market. When he later worked as a retail specialist at Coca-Cola, he realized that he didn’t have access to the kind of tools needed to support franchisees individually and at the local level. He concluded that marketing campaigns were used mainly as tools to achieve the targets and goals of a specific brand or corporate group and that the interests of local retailers tended to fall by the wayside. He felt this was strange, as both brand account managers and retailers felt a need for unique promotional campaigns at the local level. It was then that Carl came up with his idea of launching a completely new concept with the following two goals:
- Helping retailers to build a competitive advantage in the local market and supporting them at the operational level;
- Giving premium brands – literally – the freedom to promote their products.
Opportunities with local businesses
He established a brand-new company, InMarkt, whose team acted as a facilitating partner and creative think tank in charge of new product launches, promotional campaigns (including customer loyalty campaigns) and special offers from development to implementation. We knew from the outset that we would be using our tried-and-tested bottom-up approach. Instead of trying to get a foot in the door at major retail groups that are hounded by hundreds of other businesses every day, we decided we wanted to achieve success by taking a small-scale, personal approach and working with local retailers.
“Dream Big, Start Small”
As a brand-new company, we really had to go out there and persuade people first, and we soon realized it would take a little longer to achieve our dreams than we initially thought. We decided to start modestly, in keeping with the hierarchical and traditional nature of the retail market. The energetic and ambitious retailers we talked to instantly understood what we had in mind and jumped right on board. That’s when we knew we were ready to go!
Growing at your own pace
But a good idea is just the start – execution is just as important, as is getting people to support you by impressing them with your sheer perseverance. It is our people who make our company great. We believed in and invested in their talent, and together we laid the foundation for a solid company. We are now ready for the future. Our employees are given a lot of freedom, the opportunity to further develop their strengths and to create their own career path. Our team of curious and ambitious professionals is inspiring to others and without a doubt the main driver of our success.
Establishing ourselves with premium brands and white-label brands
Major companies soon noticed our team’s strong performance and drive, and we began entering into partnerships with leading brands such as Bel, Stegeman, Struik and Unilever. A growing number of premium brands saw the successful results we achieved with our strategy in conjunction with supermarkets. At the same time, we also became eager to develop increasingly creative campaigns. We were positively bursting with ideas! The success of a promotional campaign tends to be related to people’s price perception of the brand involved. Customer loyalty programmes are a good example in the sense that the more exclusive the product for which customers can earn points, the more successful the promotion. We decided to start developing these types of products ourselves and use them for our campaigns. InMarkt Products was born!
Colour in the world of retail
We continue to dominate the market today with our own maverick strategy, and our expertise continues to grow in both breadth and depth. We have set ourselves a goal: all players in the Dutch retail landscape must be familiar with our company by 2020, so that we’ll be able to support even more businesses in the food retail industry and beyond and serve as their strategic partner when it comes to positioning and growth. We have also built these types of partnerships with brands and products that are looking to expand beyond their formats and are exploring new channels for promoting their products. We work with our partners to make the world of retail a more colourful place!