Welcome to another episode of The Marketer’s Edge, a series designed to share senior level marketing perspective about marketer challenges, opportunities, and agency relationships. Our goal is to help marketers and agencies learn from other marketers across different industries. Today we are speaking with Michael La Kier, Vice President of Brand Development for IGA, Inc.

IGA, Inc.

The Independent Grocers Alliance (IGA) was founded in 1926 to bring family owned, local grocery stores together under the IGA brand. Nearly a century later, the support of a nationally known brand is still giving IGA grocers the ability to better compete, while at the same time, allowing them to stay true to who they are—hometown store owners in a position to meet the needs of their unique communities. Today, communities across the U.S. are being served by second, third and even fourth generation local IGA grocers.

What We Discussed:

In today’s interview with Michael La Kier, we discussed a wide variety of issues:

  • Michael’s role and responsibilities as Vice President of Brand Development for IGA.
  • IGA’s unique business model and its support for independent retailers.
  • The shift in IGA’s branding strategy to emphasize retailer individuality.
  • Michael’s varied background including advisory work, teaching, CMO position, and role as managing editor at Shopper Matters, and how being a lifelong learner has helped him leverage  experiences across industries.
  • The potential for lamb products in the U.S. market based on his experience with World Select Cuts.
  • The transition from Coca-Cola to startup consultancy and the challenges faced.
  • Response Media’s approach to consumer relationships and data usage.
  • The application of analytics in understanding customers at a local level for IGA stores.
  • Community engagement by local IGA store owners and corporate support.
  • IGA’s internal teams and use of external agencies for marketing purposes.
  • Challenges facing agencies in the retail sector post-COVID, such as supply chain issues, inflation, and changes in digital marketing.
  • The evolving landscape of agencies and the importance of transparency and business understanding in agency-client relationships.
  • Advice for marketers considering bringing a new agency on board.
  • Advice for agencies trying to win business: understanding the client’s business, patience in business development, and empathetic communication strategies.

Thanks Michael for a great interview!

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