The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) has developed an industry growth strategy designed to revitalize the image of vending and stimulate growth. The details of this strategy were announced by Craig Hesch, NAMA chairman, during the annual meeting at the NAMA OneShow in Chicago's McCormick Place last week.
"NAMA has designed a strategy to target new target markets and grow existing ones," Hesch said to the standing room only audience. "We will widely communicate the five key purchase factors identified in the research about vending's value, convenience, variety, freshness and reliability. We will position and promote vending as a brand."
The goals for the strategy are:
- Meet the challenges the industry faces and begin growth by generating excitement among consumers about what the channel has to offer today as well as in the future.
- Reinforce positive perceptions and change negative perceptions about vending among both users and non-users, and reposition vending as a preferred, convenient, value-driven retail option.
- Change stereotypes about vending by communicating that the vending experience has changed and continues to evolve based on technology.
- Support the NAMA legislative agenda by incorporating the industry's position on key government issues.
- Communicate the industry's understanding of consumer needs.
The strategy targets Gen Y, ages 18 to 27, because they already enjoy and prefer using vending over convenience and grocery/drug stores and have an affinity for new technology, Hesch said.
"Gen Y truly loves vending," Hesch said. "They would prefer not to wait in line for a beverage or a snack."
NAMA will engage consumers in an interactive dialogue about vending to make it more personal, relevant and meaningful.
The strategy will include four major initiatives.
- Vend.Love.Win. This will be a Facebook contest that will encourage Gen Y and other consumers to upload photos, videos and descriptions of their favorite machines, locations and products. Users will encourage others to "like" their entries, and those with the most "likes" will win prizes. The contest will communicate messages about value, convenience, variety, quality and reliability.
- The Gratitude Tour. A mobile marketing tour will take machines on the road to seven markets with high Gen Y populations with open air events that feature "dream machines." The tour will also grab media attention.
- Putting Vending Online. This initiative will reach Gen Y consumers where they are through a "vendialogue," an interactive buzz built through social media, Websites, blogs, viral videos and Web feeds.
- Vending Vanguard. This will include implied "endorsements" of third parties to reach the target consumer. These include Gen Y though leaders, social/recreational groups, vending industry leaders and college and university campus organizations.
"We need your help about spreading the word about our new growth strategy," Hesch said.