Remember this? NRM, Business Marketing Award, 1995

Why, isn’t that Sarah Kennedy, now chief executive of Fonterra retailer RD1? Yes it is, but who is she with?

Back in 1995 Kennedy was Sarah Liddell, marketing director of rural supplier company NRM. And she had a problem. NRM were leaders in feed stock, particularly with one that looked like German breakfast cereal. Some genius gave it a name: Moozli.

So far, so good, except that being market leader often leads to complacency and contempt. By the time Liddell took charge, sales were plummeting and cheap competitors were stealing share.

Kennedy and the NRM crew chatted long and hard with farmers. The news wasn’t good. The product was inferior, costly and packaging fell apart. After listening to their beef, NRM reconstituted the formula, lowered the price and redesigned the packaging, with the ingenious idea that the bag, once empty, turned into a calf cover.

The strategy was set and a paltry $60,000 was spent on media. But it worked: the relaunched product resulted in a massive reduction in complaints (from 500 returns a month to ten) and almost doubled sales in one year.

NRM won the 1995 Business Marketing Award and Sarah Kennedy went on to become cheif executive of Healtheries, the successful supplements and health business.

Marketing Awards, eh? Good for your career. So best make sure you enter here.

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