In the annual banner group feature of the June issue of National Liquor News, Gavin Saunders, CEO of Liquor Marketing Group (LMG), discusses the group’s unwavering focus and how it contributes to success and opportunities for 2021 and beyond.

National Liquor News: How has LMG been faring in 2021 so far?

Gavin Saunders: LMG has continued its market-leading performance of 2020 into calendar year 2021, including posting growth for both March and April 2021, being the first two months of COVID impact in the prior year.

LMG has recorded +24.3 per cent growth in the 12 months to April 2021, continuing the momentum of the previous four years; we have now posted 16 consecutive quarters of growth for our retailers. Critical to driving this performance has been our consistent focus on understanding our shoppers and growing our customer base. Through our strong marketing and promotional programs, we have managed to maintain our existing buyers while significantly increasing the number of new shoppers to our Bottlemart, Sip’n Save, Harry Brown and Thirsty Camel WA stores.

NLN: Reflecting on 2020, is there one thing that stands out for you?

GS: Our greatest lesson from 2020 was to never lose contact with your customers. Along with supporting retailers, staff and supplier partners, LMG recognised the importance of maintaining and enhancing our marketing to maintain offers to our existing customers and attract new shoppers.

The impact of this was evident in our performance during the COVID-19 period. Bottlemart enjoyed the highest percentage of planned purchases through our marketing and promotions with a +10 per cent increase in customer count and 13 per cent growth in spend per customer providing like-for-like scan sales growth of +24.3 per cent for the 12 months to April 2021.

NLN: What is the focus at LMG at the moment?

GS: LMG’s focus never changes. We exist to provide exceptional support to our members and provide them with the best tools and opportunities to help them succeed. Effectively meeting shoppers’ needs must be at the heart of this focus – and lifting the quality of planning and collaboration between our teams, suppliers and our retailers is the key to alignment, and ultimately, success.

We want to give our shoppers a reason to ‘keep coming back’. We are continuously finding ways to disrupt price by working with our supplier partners to implement multifaceted and integrated marketing plans that reach and resonate with our shoppers.

NLN: What are the biggest opportunities for LMG for the rest of 2021?

GS: Enhancing our digital marketing and e-commerce platforms. Our members will benefit from our strong investment in digital catalogues, social media activity and geotargeting to reach local customers that are unique to our members’ stores.

NLN: What are the key things you’re working on to support your members?

GS: We will continue to invest heavily in innovation, technology, e-commerce, digital marketing and enhancing our current systems to help our members make better decisions
with access to more actionable data and insights. Additionally, LMG’s retailer store refresh was initiated in May 2021, providing our retailers with the opportunity to enhance their in-store environment.

NLN: What are the biggest strengths of LMG right now?

GS: LMG’s strength comes from our strong retailers and committed LMG team. Being a membership-owned and governed group, structure is also a strength, which allowed us to make decisions and invest for member benefit during the uncertainties over the past
year. Examples include investing in additional marketing when other retailers pulled back,
paying member rebates six weeks early in March 2020 to support members’ cash flow and
the commitment of the LMG team throughout the most challenging periods of restrictions to find all ways possible to support members.

Find this interview and the rest of the annual banner group feature in the June issue of National Liquor News.

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Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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