The Impact Collaborative Planning Has on Promotion Performance

The Impact Collaborative Planning Has on Promotion Performance

Merchant & Marketing Perspective

Collaboration exists all around us. It serves as a way for people to work together under a shared purpose or goal. When groups effectively collaborate, processes are improved, communication is enhanced, and results are achieved. 


Within the retail space, collaboration is essential for all business functions including Supply Chain, Operations, and Promotions. 


For Promotions in particular, collaboration plays a critical role in the planning process – both from an internal (Marketing & Merchandising) and external (Retail & Vendor)  perspective.


Our two-part blog series will dive into the current state of collaborative planning and how strategic collaboration improves promotion performance. 


The first blog of the series will focus on internal collaboration – specifically with merchants and marketing.

Table of Contents

Why Marketing & Merchants are Invested in Promotion Performance

Internal collaboration exists between merchants and marketing when managing promotions. It is important to note that each party has distinct objectives when running a promotion.

While Merchants aim to optimize merchandise objectives (e.g., increase product margin), the Marketing team strives to maximize advertising objectives (e.g., boost the returns on ad spend).


Despite these differing objectives, both parties collaborate together to achieve a shared major goal – meeting the campaign objectives. (e.g., grow private label).

Internal Collaboration Today

When planning a promotion, merchants and marketing often collaborate through various channels and systems, such as email, excel, and legacy systems. 


Today, collaboration is often done in a siloed manner. For example, when planning a circular, the merchant for a particular category is given instructions (from marketing) to provide two slots on the front page. The merchant doesn’t have context to the overall goals and decisions of the event such as what the other slots will feature, or if there is an opportunity to feature complimentary products.Additionally, both merchants and marketing are making decisions without forecasted performance.


Here is a visual representation of today’s collaborative workflow between merchants and marketing:

Though this current system isn’t necessarily broken, there are pain points retailers should be aware of:

  • Inefficiency: When collaborating in different systems like Excel, email, and legacy systems, there is a higher chance of miscommunication and difficulty with decision-making.
  • Lack of Visibility: Merchants are only given specific requirements for their product category. They do not have access to what is being featured next to their promotion, or the overall goals behind the event. Being left in the dark can lead to merchants not submitting the most effective promotions.
  • Decisions Not Driven by Data: Both Merchants and Marketing don’t have access to forecasted data on how an event or promotion will perform, limiting promotion effectiveness.

The Future of Internal Collaboration

While the current method of collaboration between merchants and marketing works, there are two major areas that can improve internal collaboration:

Today, the current workflow operates like this: Marketing → Merchants → Marketing 


But what if there could be more room for collaboration and coordination? Here is a visual representation of what this relationship could look like:

  1. When marketing plans the event, they involve merchants to provide any insights on how promotions previously performed. This can help marketing set a more strategic objective.
  2. Marketing defines the objective for the event and communicates with Merchants:
    Invite multiple merchants to submit to desirable space (e.g., front page). This incents merchants to submit their best offers. Invite merchants to submit to specific space (e.g., 4 slots on page 3). Even in this case though, merchants have visibility to the entire event. This gives the merchant context.
  3. Marketing to have multiple options to choose from, with the ability to review forecasted performance.
  4. Marketing has all of the information needed to make a decision on the best promotion to use for their event.

To ensure the above workflow runs smoothly, it is important for merchants and marketing to move away from disparate collaboration and instead work together in one space.

One system provides efficiency and overall financial benefits for both Merchants and Marketing.

  • Improved Efficiency: Rather than communicating with individual merchants in unique email threads, marketing has the ability to push out a request to all category merchants involved.
  • Increased ROI: Working in one space allows for heightened collaboration and clarity. Merchants have the ability to see the objective for the event, what other merchants have submitted for their category, allowing them to make the best decision.

Discover how Cognira’s PromoAI solution provides Marketing and Merchants with a single platform to collaborate and coordinate on Campaigns, Events, and Promotions.

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About Cognira

About Cognira

Cognira is the leading artificial intelligence solutions provider for retailers. Cognira is passionate about helping retailers unlock valuable, transformative business insights from their data.

We know retail. We love data.

To learn more, check out our website at or contact us today to get started. 

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