“It’s who you know” and other myths of FMCG marketing strategies

28MAY “It’s who you know” – a look at this FMCG marketing myth


Chris Driver, Client Developer Director at Acosta Europe, takes a look back at some of the phrases and approaches that he has encountered across his career.

16 years into my career and I’m bored of hearing the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” being trotted out as the immutable truth of FMCG marketing.

It’s frequently used to explain away how and where a product achieves shelf space or penetration. It implies something sneaky, underhand and that success is not achieved on its own merit.

At Acosta Europe, we have never subscribed to that way of thinking.

We’re realists of course, and we understand the value of networks – the knowledge and contacts we have built up, both individually and as a team, are critical to our commercial success.

However, we also understand the importance of authenticity. We know that ever-more discerning consumers demand transparency and are increasingly turning to brands that match their values and speak directly to them. In a rapidly changing retail landscape, consumers give instant feedback on product experience through social media. If your product has not earned the right to its space on the shelf, or if you have not carefully considered the role that your product will play within its category, then it will fail.

This is where the Acosta Europe team can help – and as a taster, here are three top tips for succeeding in UK retail for emerging brands.

1) Fail to prepare, prepare to fail – ironically one marketing phrase we can get behind. Putting the hard work upfront; ensuring you map out the category, your consumers, and your competitors will pay dividends. Knowing where you fit and what you can offer to new and existing consumers will be critical for success.

2) Persevere – it can take time to be an “instant hit”. Behind every overnight success there is more often than not a painstaking and meticulous planning process.

3) Listen, don’t fill the air – you may have done loads of great work and developed the perfect product, but if you fail to understand the retailer’s requirements, or have not listened to what they are telling you, you will have a problem. As hard as it is to hear, the buyer cares more about their company than your brand, so be sure to be asking the right questions.

We can help new and emerging brands get over the obstacle of “who you know” – connecting manufacturers, retailers and consumers to develop powerful marketing strategies.

Find out how we work with you to bridge these gaps and develop your brands to reach their potential, drop us a message today.