A three-year customer plan covering everything from marketing to general merchandising buying briefs and in-store demonstrations has just been signed off. Previously, plans would not extend beyond 12 months. 

Sarah Warby, Sainsbury’s marketing director told Marketing Week the change is to aid “joined up thinking”. 

“We have restructured the way we take things to market, the way we activate our good ideas to make sure it looks like we were all in the same room having the idea simultaneously. Therefore if you restructure how you do that at the coal face, at the same time you restructure how you plan.

“We now have a much longer planning time horizon and much more co-ordination.”

Warby adds the switch did not require additional resource, just a different approach.  

“I’ve got a bigger central planning resource. But all you need is a couple of really good co-ordinators and planners to orchestrate and align everybody else, you don’t need to change everyone else, that would be open-heart surgery for the business.”

The move to long-term planning is a sign of growing confidence by the retailer after a sustained period of outperforming the market. Sainsbury’s was awarded Marketing Week and YouGov’s Brand of the Year title at the Engage awards in May.

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