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Have you seen the ultimate blueprint for seafood marketing?

There is a master plan for selling more seafood. Now get out and use it.

If only we had a year-long seafood marketing blueprint that the supply chain could use to choreograph monthly promotional campaigns with retailers across America.

We do, you say? Yes, we do.

Fresh off the presses from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) is just such a blueprint in the form of a month-by-month marketing calendar.

FMI is the preeminent food retail trade association, representing 1,225 food retailers who operate nearly 40,000 stores across the United States.

The idea for the calendar came during a meeting of FMI’s Seafood Strategy Committee last October, said Rick Stein, vice president of Fresh Foods at FMI.

The committee includes major retailers such as Publix, Albertsons, Safeway, Ahold and others. It also includes suppliers such as Trident Seafoods, Eastern Fish, Clearwater Seafoods, and Bumble Bee, as well as the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) FishWise and the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA).

“The conversation in the fall of 2015 with this whole committee together was what could we start to do to promote more consumption and inform consumers or employees of a positive message,” said Stein.

The committee landed on the idea of creating a monthly seafood marketing theme that would convey a positive message about seafood, and each of the retailers could tactically determine how they wanted to approach that theme, whether they wanted to do it in their advertising, internally with employee messaging, through social media, or some other way, he said.

“How they talk to the consumer or how they talk to their employees, they could determine that, but we would kind of give them the theme," Stein said.

The committee met again in March at the Boston Seafood Show and developed monthly themes, which range from nutrition in January to grilling in June and tailgating with seafood in September.

“In January, fitness and nutrition is a huge area. People are doing New Year’s resolutions, people are really focused on eating better. What a great time to talk about the health benefits of seafood, the idea of eating seafood twice a week. So for January we decided that nutrition was the large theme,” Stein said.

“We took the nuances of these themes and decided it gave our members the ability to do [promotions] differently, but the theme would really resonate with consumers.”

The calendar officially launched this month to coincide with National Seafood Month.

But don’t mistake this for just a retail marketing effort. The calendar approach is designed to infect the entire supply chain.

“The vision of the committee is that this would be embraced by all parts of the industry, including the supply chain," said Stein, who has decades of experience in the supermarket sector with Safeway.

"We’re encouraging suppliers to bring these themes when they’re presenting promotions and opportunities to our retailers. Now, not only does the retailer have that theme in mind, but now you have suppliers bringing the theme to retailer as well where they can execute on it.”

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