Predicting sales is both an art and a science. Balancing between excess inventory and out-of-stocks can be a struggle in ordinary times for any brand. Simple mistakes can be extremely costly. Learn creative strategies in Trade Marketing Essentials



Hello and thank you for joining us today. This is the Brand Secrets and Strategies Podcast #177

Welcome to the Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast where the focus is on empowering brands and raising the bar.

I’m your host Dan Lohman. This weekly show is dedicated to getting your brand on the shelf and keeping it there.

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Predicting sales is both an art and a science. Balancing between excess inventory and out-of-stocks can be a struggle in ordinary times for any brand. Simple mistakes can be extremely costly. Learn creative strategies in Trade Marketing Essentials.

Hello and thank you for joining us today. This is the Brand Secrets and Strategies Podcast Session 177. Would you like to know an easy strategy to help you forecast more effectively, especially during these trying times? If you do, then you're in the right place. Thank you for listening. I would like to share one free, easy downloadable guide, something that you can use to grow sustainable sales. I'll talk more about that at the end of the podcast, so you're going to want to stay tuned. If you like the show, please share it with a friend. Subscribe and leave a review. Remember, this show is about you and it's for you. The goal here is to help you get your products onto more store shelves and into the hands of more consumers. And don't forget to go back and listen to previous episodes where I might solve some of your most pressing bottlenecks, you know, the things that keep you up at night.

Welcome. I've been getting a lot of questions around the area of trade marketing, especially in the area of forecasting and planning. This is something that every brand needs to do and needs to do very, very well, especially during these trying times. The reason this matter is because if you get too much stock, well, that's a lot of inventory and that's inventory that you're not going to turn very fast, it ties up your capital. And conversely, if you don't have enough product to support sales, well, that creates a lot of out of stocks and then retailers could discontinue it. You've got to get this right. There are a lot of creative strategies that you can use to help you understand what consumer takeaway is going to be, and that's really what this is about. One of the first things I talk to brands about is you've got to understand who the consumer is that buys your product. How they use your product, what they do with the product after they take it home. How do they celebrate when they're with friends and family?

Now, I'm not talking about the generic commoditized consumer female head of household, 2.3 kids. Get to understand what's unique about that consumer that buys your product. How do they use it? How do they share it? Et cetera. This is exactly why I created my free Turnkey Sales Story Strategies Course. In that course, you'll learn how to build a foundation for your brand around the consumer that buys it. The next thing you want to do is you want to understand the category. What's going on in the category at each given moment? Every category has seasonality. Right now, what's going on at shelf because of the virus is unique and different. This is something we've never seen before. So how do you plan for that? That's going to be a little bit harder. Let's cover the basics and then we'll come back to that.

One of the things you can do is you need to know your numbers. If you know what the seasonality is within the category, for example, if you look at soup season, people buy more soup when it's colder, they don't eat it when it's warmer, cold and flu season, when is that? If you can understand those variables and then planning your forecasting and your budgets and how much proud of you in the ship, how much part of you're going to produce around that, that's going to help you a lot. One of the easiest strategies that I came with years ago for brands that don't have a lot of capital is going into different retailers in your community, talk to the grocery manager, ask them how many cases of different brands they stock on an average week. Now, this isn't very scientific, but it'll give you some feel as to what the consumers are buying.

So, again, you know who your consumer is. You can say to the grocery manager, "How many people are buying similar products," similar to your product? And then ask them how many products they're buying of other products as well. And this will give you a good benchmark. Do that with several different retailers. And if you can, do that in several different markets, and that'll give you a little bit of direction in terms of how to do your basic forecasting. If you're thinking about how consumers use your product, it all ties back to how much product is going onto the shelf, how much product's going out of the register? Those are the important dynamics that you need to be focused on. Now, as far as what's going on in the industry today with the virus and people overstocking certain items, et cetera, I want to caution you that a lot of the products that are being sold today where you're getting a huge, huge spike in sales are commodities, things that people are not going to be buying down the road.

For example, you cannot use more toilet paper or for the most part people don't use more toilet paper just because they bought it. Now, let me explain. If you have a gallon of milk in your house and you go to get milk every day and you've got that full gallon of milk, you're probably going to drink a lot more than you would if you had very little. When you get down to the last little bit of what's left at the bottom of your milk jug, you're going to want to slow down your consumption because you don't want to be the last person to drink it. You don't want to deprive other people in your house. Therefore, the consumer that buys milk, using this example, if they've got a lot of milk around, they're going to consume it more freely. They're going to go through it faster.

However, conversely, people are not going to use a lot more toilet paper next month than they did last month. The reason for that is consumer demand within that category doesn't change dramatically. This is why you need to understand, what is a traditional demand for those products? So what I'm getting at is a lot of the people that are pantry loading for toilet paper and a lot of those other items, facial tissue, et cetera, those are people that are buying a lot of product today, but they're not going to be buying a lot of product down the road. Therefore, a supply chain should be able to catch up. At least we hope so. My point is that as you begin to understand consumer takeaway, what are the things that are driving that takeaway? What are things that motivate consumers to buy one product over another product, to hoard, to buy additional products, to weather the storm, et cetera? Then you can better adjust your planning and your forecasting so that you can better meet the needs, other retailers, you work with.

Another thing you can do is reach out to your retail partners. They know exactly what they sell in an average week. Ask them for their guidance, for their help. Tell them what you want to do, what you're trying to understand. Ask them if you promote your product at this price point, then how much product do they think they're going to need to be able to support their customers? Now, obviously, you should know this on your own, but if you're a new brand and you're starting out and you can't afford all the tools, all the resources, and if you can't afford to have a talented category manager do this work for you to understand how to properly plan, this is one easy way to get started. By understanding what consumer takeaway is and understanding consumer demand throughout different seasons of the year, different seasons with every product's life cycle, et cetera, that's going to help you more effectively plan and forecast your sales.

It's going to also help you do a better job of making sure you've got enough of the ingredients on hand, enough of the packaging, enough of everything else on hand to be able to supply their products that you have. I hope this was helpful. This week's free downloadable guide is my Trade Marketing Essentials: Everything You Need To Know To Grow And Scale Your Brand. This free download is going to help give you the foundation that you can build upon. You can get it by going to the website and you can get there by going to 177. Thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you in the next show.

Thanks again for joining us today. Make sure to stop over at for the show notes along with more great brand building articles and resources. Check out my free course Turnkey Sales Story Strategies, your roadmap to success. You can find that on my website or at Please subscribe to the podcast, leave a review, and recommend it to your friends and colleagues.

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Until next time, this is Dan Lohman with Brand Secrets and Strategies where the focus is on empowering brands and raising the bar.

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Trade marketing includes everything required to promote your brand. It’s your growth engine and the largest item on your P&L. Most trade spending is wasted. Every brand seeks to maximize their promotional ROI. There is a better way to grow sales & profits.

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