Retail Insider, in partnership with Novomind, held its latest Zoom Cocktail Hour with Mark Palmer, co-founder of Cawston Press and LA Brewery Kombucha, who talked about the role of marketing during these changing times for retail.

Mark recalled his early days in the industry at Green & Black’s where he was marketing director for the pioneering ethical chocolate brand up to its sale to Cadbury. This deal proved difficult for some customers to accept and the issue of small brands selling out to larger corporates continues to be an issue.

His next move was to Pret A Manger where his role as marketing director, and latterly as advisor, ensured he was instrumental in developing the company’s distinctive voice within the UK and overseas. Mark told the senior retail executives on the Zoom call how Pret’s private equity backer at the time Bridgepoint was a great partner and the two companies were harmoniously aligned on the growth objectives for the food chain during this key expansionary phase.

Catch some of Mark’s insights right here.

Mark highlighted how Covid-19 has prompted a scaling back of marketing budgets by retailers and he is supportive of this in the short-term until things settle down. This is not the only disruptive element facing retailers though as he recognises the growth in brands adopting a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model.  

For marketers this might not be a bad thing because the effect of marketing across these direct routes to the customer is clearly demonstrable. This is unlike in other areas where it has often been problematic demonstrating the worth of advertising and other forms of marketing.

Mark predicts the use of technology within the marketing discipline will become increasingly important and that more retailers will find their marketing “powered by technology”. The result will be many traditional agencies finding it difficult to keep up with events.

Retail Insider would very much like to thank Mark Palmer for sharing his experiences and insights into the role of marketing and branding and also to Novomind for supporting this series of Retail Insider Zoom Cocktail Hours.

Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider