One Blog |March 9, 2011 | Point-of-Sale Marketing Management

Guest Marketing at-Retail Blog - by Walter Marcinowski

Mark Fullerton

OnTrak’s customers are beer, wine and spirits distributors and suppliers from all over the United States. So it should come as no surprise that several of us here at OnTrak are members of the LinkedIn Group - Beer Wine Spirits Network

Recently I came across a group posting written by Walter Marcinowski. If you don’t know Walter, I encourage you to join this LinkedIn Group where he is a regular contributor. After you read several of his posts, you may begin to feel that you do know him.

Walter’s topic is reposted here in its entirety with his permission.

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“small brands BIG DISTRIBUTORS”

“The last few trade shows that I have attended have been very interesting in new product development and launch. The entrepreneurs who are in their first year are always very bubbly about their product and proud to say they are being distributed by one of the national distributor groups. After a year or so their tune changes dramatically. The mix of a small new brand and a major distributor is like oil and water. It just doesn’t work unless you have some soap. That soap is called marketing dollars.

If you have a dream of starting your own winery or spirits brand you need to plan well. That dream needs proper financing and that financing needs to emphasize a marketing and promotions budget. If you plan on going with a national distributor you need to plan on spending about $1 million dollars per state for the big ones like NY and CA and about $300K for the smaller ones like Nebraska. If you don’t have that kind of money budgeted do not go with a major distributor! You will be lost six months into the program if your product is not an immediate success.

The entire operating model for the big nationals is to service their major houses like Pernod, Diageo, Remy, William Grant, etc. These companies have full marketing and promotions platforms, strategies and three tier programs with budgets for each. You have little chance for survival against these programs in that arena.

If your budget is limited you need to find a small aggressive and eager distributor in your hood and work the brand with them. Plan to spend most of your money on marketing, promotions and tastings. You should also put your own brand ambassador on the street and if you can’t afford one then tag you’re it! Then lay out your battle plan and take over zip code after zip code until you have saturated them fanning out from your location.

Build it and they will come. 

Thousands of these small brands will be slowly shed in the next few years from the larger distributors as they consolidate further. The time you have spent with them will have done you little good other than to learn an expensive lesson.

The key for a small brand to have success is to grow your brand to a level of success and then have them come to you. When you start with your small distributor you should include a buy-out clause which will reward them should you move your product to a National, this will also make it easier and cleaner to do so. Then you should receive a modicum of support and a real chance at success.”

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Although Walter’s discussion does not specifically use the terms POS, POP, Shopper Marketing or Marketing at-Retail, I read his words as a primer on Marketing at-Retail. As Walter says, “[your] financing needs to emphasize a marketing and promotions budget.” And, “Plan to spend most of your money on marketing, promotions and tastings.”

As you learn more about the incredible sales-power of Marketing at-Retail promotions, you may conclude you need the appropriate tools to help you measure their effectivity and efficiency in order to have “a real chance at success.”

Thanks to Walter Marcinowski for allowing us to repost his writing.

— Mark Fullerton

For more information about our products go to: or call 800.513.9194.

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About Walter Marcinowski

Mr. Marcinowski is the CEO of Walmar International. He has over 25 years experience in International Marketing, Promotions, New Product Development, Licensing, Product Placement, Sales, and ON Line Media. His strong CPG brand building agency background coupled with his specialization in promotional marketing has led to great success in the Beverage, Entertainment and On-Line Marketing Industries, resulting in Global awards and numerous product successes. He has significant experience in brand management within the Wine & Spirits and Entertainment Industries with a client list comprised of numerous global brands.

For more information on Walmar click on

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