Aldi has started its biggest marketing campaign yet in Belgium. For the first time, the German discounter comes out all guns blazing to highlight a string of positive results in quality comparisons.
Largest margeting budget ever
With a wave of ads on television and radio, large billboards, and campaigns in newspapers and online, Aldi Belgium spends its largest marketing budget ever this autumn. "In fact, we already started a new chapter in our marketing approach at the end of 2017," says Isabel Henderick, who heads the discounter's Belgian marketing and communication department. "Before, we were limited in the newspapers, but we communicated mainly through our own channels. This feels like a new milestone."
The television ads show images of the 'try it yourself' tour, in which Aldi invited passers-by to blindfold-test the difference between Aldi's private labels and major brands. "We focus on one clear message: that of quality. Because even though we have evolved a lot, as a discounter you may have to prove something more in that area", says Henderick.
That message has been the same for a year now: Aldi's products score just as well as the well-known national brands, both according to lab research and to consumers. The baseline however has changed somewhat, from "Aldi scores as well as you-know-who" to the slightly more explicit "Aldi products score as well as A-brands". The 'defeated' major brands do not show on the ads or posters, but they are displayed in Aldi's website bewezenkwaliteit.be ("proven quality"), as to "leave everyone in his dignity."
Variation and surprise in a changing flyer
Aldi's product range is limited to 1250 to 1300 references, but it is constantly changing. "We follow the trends on the market: we see that organic food is an emerging phenomenon, and we are therefore expanding our offer. Currently, our organic market share amounts to 6 % with a limited number of products, which means that we are not yet in our 'fair share'." A continuing demand by consumers also brought Aldi to finally embrace major brands: "Brands bring extra complexity, but they also meet a need of our shoppers. We limit the assortment to around forty 'must-haves' and on top of that we have the temporary trademark campaigns on Friday. That way brands contribute to variety and surprise for the shoppers."
The discounter's flyer, which is published every week on 4.6 million copies, remains the flagship of Aldi's communication. "It is now 28 pages thick and has a fresher lay-out with an appealing use of colour: we have swapped our old and somewhat aggressive red and dark blue for light blue. The folder starts with discounts from the fixed assortment, then the fresh specials on page two ("That is what brings customers to the store"), novelties on page three, then the weekly specials in food and frozen foods, followed by the non-food promotions of Wednesday, the weekend specials with major brands and finally the non-food actions of Saturday.
In addition to that flyer, several thematic specials are published around assortments that remain on sale for longer than one week - like the recent autumn wine special and "pure autumn happiness". In these publications there is more space for the story and for recipes. Finally, Aldi has also launched a new inspirational magazine this year, with room for recipes, craft ideas, social responsibility stories ...
All in all, things are going great for the discounter: turnover and market share are rising, as is the number of employees. The renovation of the stores is also going according to plan and Henderick is "pleasantly surprised by the results. The concept is working!" She concludes:" We have recently made big leaps and we strongly believe that we are now laying the foundation for a successful future."