How to Sell Steak at Walmart: Find New Ways to Talk About An Old Product.

It’s been pretty amazing. Every now and then, you work on a marketing program where as soon as you do it, you see the results, and nobody is questioning whether you’ve actually seen it or not. With so many marketing programs, there will be doubters. But this one has really had a big impact so far.

Walmart CMO Stephen Quinn on steak marketing – Ad Age interview 6/25/2012


Which word – Walmart, steak, summer grilling -does not belong in the same sentence?

According to Walmart, they all belong in the same sentence.  Here’s what the company announced two months ago:

Customers across the country can now enjoy Walmart’s premium selection and wide assortment of top quality USDA Choice steak, including T-bone, NY Strip, Filet, Ribeye, and Top Sirloin, at a great price. This new steak offering is available in Walmart stores nationwide just in time for the busy summer grilling season.

Say what you want about Walmart, but it’s interesting to track how the low-price giant is trying to build sales in a surprising category.  Walmart’s steak marketing is a good example of a strategy I refer to as “making news.”  This means finding and/or creating relevant message point news about your brand or product.  It’s especially applicable for mature products that don’t easily lend themselves to product improvement or innovations – steak, for example.

Essentially, Walmart is relaunching its presence across beef product lines with a money-back price guarantee, a clever Q&A social media video series, and a tried-but-still effective product “switcheroo” event marketing program. Continue reading