Lexmark Offered the Apple Store Value Beyond Printing

Despite its apparent misfit with the Apple Store panache, Lexmark announced last month that it successfully secured distribution of a new Lexmark-branded All-in-One Printer called “Interact” in Apple Stores and at store.apple.com. So how did Lexmark accomplish the seemingly impossible? By enacting a retail leverage strategy that aligned the Lexmark brand and product offering with the needs, wants, and expectations of the interconnected, tech & fashion-forward, high performance Apple-nation.

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Costco Minus Coke Illustrates Retail Leverage

Coke and Costco are about to find out, together, who has retail leverage in this relationship. The only question is how long will it take? One party will eventually have to make concessions, or more concessions than the other guy, and for those of us keeping score at home, it should be obvious who the winner is.

Think about other categories. At its most basic form, Retail Leverage comes down to who needs who more.

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First 100 Days of Retail Leverage

What Makes Retail Leverage Tick?

Challenger brand marketers have to be more creative and do more with less. Inspiration can be found anytime, anywhere. We look for ideas in business and trade publications, store walk-thrus, weekly circulars, pop culture. The 3 contributors behind Retail Leverage have lived this daily for a combined 40 years (and with challenger brands, there definitely is a “dog years” multiplier in terms of experience). We hope that by sharing our ideas, inspiration and commentary we can help others – and we think we are.

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Can Airport Kiosks Help You Gain Retail Leverage? They Did For NEAT!

NEAT! organized its retail leverage strategy around airport kiosks. They built a base of success in airports. Their first retailer was their own channel. They believe this gave them their best chance to succeed. Today, Neat’s products are found on the shelves of the largest Office Superstore chains – Staples, Office Depot and Office Max, many regional retailers and on the websites of such behemoths as Amazon.com.

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Maximizing Test Store Performance (A Must-Read for Challenger Brands at Retail)


What should you do when your fate at retail is dependent on your product’s performance in a handful of “test stores?” If your sell-through is strong, then your product line gets rolled out to all stores nationally – if not, then your door practically closes forever at that retailer with that product line, even down the road when the “new and improved” version hits the market. The real question that we all struggle with is “Should my company put forth any efforts to stimulate demand in a test store environment, even though we know that those efforts will not likely be replicated upon national roll-out?” The answer is an unequivocal, “yes!”

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What The Bleep Is POWERMAT And How Did They Get Retail Leverage?

When you start breaking down Powermat’s launch strategy, you’ll realize they are using a hybrid of retail leverage strategies. More importantly, they are doing it on a scale much more relevant to challenger brand marketers used to dealing with 7 figure budgets.
1) Offer Program or Product Exclusivity (sort of)
2) Have Something So Big “They” Can’t Ignore

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The Ad Agency Dilemma – Retail Leverage Friend or Foe?

Our problems become their problems. Here in-lies a potential conflict – an ad agency is a business and its goal is to encourage its clients to spend as many marketing dollars with the agency as possible. While this is a very understandable desire, it may limit the challenger brand’s ability to use its marketing dollars to gain retail leverage as sometimes critical investments need to be made to support the retailer which may cut out the agency’s interests.

3 ways challenger brands can motivate their ad agencies to support their need for retail leverage:
1. Check your agency’s “Retail Leverage” I.Q.
2. Teach your ad agency about your business – not just your brand.
3. Implement an Incentive-Based Agency Fee System

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The P Word

The secret 6th entry in the 5 sure-fire ways to get Retail Leverage is Price. I feel dirty even saying it.

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Kick the 360 Marketing Plan to the Curb

The powerpoint presentation can look dreadfully similar on the number of marketing communication vehicles you can use whether you are on a $5M Marcom plan or a $50 Marcom plan.

Put simply, unless you are the Geicos or Capital Ones of the world that have MARCOM budgets that dwarf the size of most companies’ total revenues and the GDP of some small countries, pick a…one…uno…a SINGLE communication vehicle that meets these criteria listed below to deliver maximum impact.


1. Makes Sense Strategically (long vs. short story to tell? Reach vs. Frequency goals? Close to a Retail Sale? Etc…)
2. Reaches Your Target Audience – (obvious you want to shout where your target customers can hear you)
3. Penetrates Enough to Be Heard – (your budget should be able to support a high level of reach/frequency over time)

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How To Build A Culture Geared Toward Retail Leverage

Five Ways To Build A Culture Geared Toward Retail Leverage:
1. Tie each corporate executive’s bonus to growth at a “pet” retailer
2. Have the sales team do some heavy lifting during National Sales Meetings.
3. Require product managers to model profit pool for their category at key retailers.
4. Shop together and learn.
5. Don’t enable the “Desktop Marketer.”

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