Case Studies

Mariano’s – A Grocery Retailer Looking for a Full Service Agency


This is a case study about a parent company trying to find a new agency for its high-end grocery chain, Mariano’s, and it general market brand Pick ‘n Save.

Roundy’s was looking for a new, full service agency that could deliver both strategic smarts and a full complement of resources (both digital/social and traditional) to help support their two brands: Mariano’s and Pick ‘n Save.  They were interested in finding an agency that had strong grocery retail experience.

Mariano’s, a high-end grocery chain based in Chicago, was looking for a new marketing agency to support their growing business.  They were facing increasing competition from a growing Whole Foods brand and other on-line retailers that were making inroads into the Chicago market.

Pick ‘n Save, a value positioned grocery chain based in Wisconsin, was soon going to be facing a threat with the entrance of Meijer into their markets.

Search Requirements
Roundy’s was looking for a full service agency that could do all the things a full service agency does, but really needed some extra fire power in the areas of digital and social media – platforms that their millennial consumers rely on for information every day.  They were also interested in finding a smart agency that could help them manage some of the strategic challenges facing the brands today and going forward.

Agency Selection
RSW/AgencySearch reviewed the credentials of both independent and larger networked agencies for the assignment.  Interestingly some of the larger networked agencies found that they needed to bring in partner agencies in order to deliver at the level that Mariano’s required – making it a less attractive financial proposition for the lead agency (given they’d have to split up the retainer).

RSW/AgencySearch tapped into its database of over 6,000 agencies and with the geographic and other search requirements in-hand, reviewed over 20 agencies initially.  This list was narrowed down with a set of pre-qualifying questions to approximately 10 agencies – each of which were interviewed to better qualify their credentials.  7 agencies were sent an RFI developed by RSW/AgencySearch (and approved by the client).  From that list 3 agencies were selected to participate in the final pitch presentation.  Each of these agencies participated in a pre-pitch Q&A/Chemistry call with Roundy’s marketing management, where questions were answered and insights gathered to help the agencies prepare for the presentation.

All three agencies presented at Roundy’s headquarters.  After a round of follow-up questions, Cramer-Krasselt, a larger mid-size independent agency with offices in Chicago and Milwaukee, was ultimately selected.

Feedback from both the client and the agency has been extremely positive to-date.

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