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Building awareness, driving trips and growing the basket — together

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — In order to win in today’s shopper environment, retailers and suppliers need to approach marketing programs in a whole different way — together. It all comes down to two key words: shared media.

That was the message two highly savvy marketers had for Shopper Marketing Expo attendees, during Wednesday morning’s opening keynote session. Jocelyn Wong, chief marketing officer for Family Dollar, and Alison Lewis, SVP marketing North America for the Coca-Cola Co., explained how traditional marketing models are being replaced by a new, higher form of collaboration between enlightened retailers and manufacturers — a model where partners develop a common audience and a common message in an effort to drive trips, induce trial and engender loyalty among consumers.

Jocelyn Wong

That’s because a one-size-fits all marketing program just doesn’t drive the consumer traffic it once did; and few retailers, if any, have a one-size-fits-all view of their customers any more. Retailers don’t seem themselves as a collection of stores; today, they see themselves as brands in their own right.

“Retailers are starting to demand customization,” Wong explained. “Retailers are no longer just place[s] where you go to buy things. [They] have become powerhouse brands, and as they start to think of themselves more as brands, there’s a need for greater collaboration [with suppliers],” she said.

By definition, “shared media” implies close collaboration between retailer and supplier from inception all the way through execution of a marketing program. When executed effectively, this strategic approach to shopper communication along the path to purchase helps transform the entire shopping experience, and helps connect the dots between the manufacturer’s objectives and a retailer’s traffic and conversion goals.

“The world has changed,” Lewis said. “The new school is much more about how we work together; to think about how do we get to the win-win-win between the retailer, the brand and the shopper — and it has to be a three-way win across all of those groups. We’re in a world now of co-creation; not just deal-making.”

Wong and Lewis identified five key steps and two critical phases, in which retailers and suppliers must work together in order to build a successful, customized promotion. The first phase is foundation building, which starts with an assessment of the shared insights a CPG company’s brand and a retailer’s brand hold in common, strategy development and alignment — what are the goals the retailer and manufacturer need to reach in order for the program to be considered a success?

The second phase is the actual creation of the program. This is major departure from the past, when program creation is where retailers and CPG companies started their collaboration, Wong and Lewis explained. “In the past, the focus was much more on the building of programs and not as much on the front end [assessment and alignment of brand strategies],” Lewis said. “The foundation building is a really important piece.” This “creation” phase is where the program moves from development to execution and measurement.

To bring the message home in a meaningful and relevant way, Wong and Lewis detailed an important program for which Family Dollar and Coca-Cola partnered together. The campaign needed to help meet an important goal for Family Dollar: helping to raise awareness among its customers for the number of value-priced, mainstream brands available at its stores — an area in which Family Dollar had not traditionally received a lot of credit from customers, and a perception it desperately wanted to change — as well as to drive trips and grow the market basket.

Critical to these types of programs is a keen understanding of the retailer and its target customer, Wong explained. As much as 65% of Family Dollar’s customer base has an annual household income of less than $40,000, she noted; 30% of its customers have an annual income of less than $20,000.

“I want [partners] to empathize with our customer. It’s not just about knowing that she doesn’t make a lot of money; that she’s struggling,” Wong said. “When you actually get to know our customer, you will find that she is tough, resilient … and she’s proud [and] optimistic.”

Aimed at helping enable Family Dollar customers to “say yes to moments of happiness,” as the program was dubbed, the companies collaborated on a comprehensive social media outreach through Twitter and Facebook, Wong said. The message was “[When] you think about snacking for your family, think about Coca-Cola.” Other important components of the program included in-store point-of-purchase material, freestanding inserts and bus station ad placements.

“That’s how we really thought about bringing the whole plan together,” Wong said. “The importance of it is not really the tactical elements, but it’s the thinking that went into it and the insights that actually led to what the plan could be.”

 For more news from the Shopper Marketing Expo, visit DrugStoreNews.com/shopper-marketing-expo.

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Breakfast symposium examines how to engage the omnichannel shopper

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Omnichannel marketing is a popular buzzword when talking about the future of retail. But there could be a serious disconnect between the rubber and the road across many companies pursuing omnichannel initiatives, a panel of shopper marketing experts explained to Shopper Marketing Expo attendees in Chicago Wednesday morning.

The special breakfast session, “Shopper Marketing in a Digital World: The Omnichannel Opportunity,” examined a critical challenge to engaging the omnichannel consumer, as many companies continue to compartmentalize their organizations, forcing shopper marketers to contend with an old-school silo mentality. “Shopper marketers need to adapt and evolve their strategies to meet the ever-changing needs of the consumer by engaging them where they are, in what context and delivering the experience they want,” noted moderator Chris Lobdell, VP sales central region for DataXu. “We’re seeing more sophisticated shopper marketers use their digital advertising investment as research,” Lobdell continued.

According to DataXu research, shopper marketers are expected to spend almost $3.5 billion in digital advertising, representing a 15% increase over 2012 digital ad spends. The reason is simple — 8-of-the-top-10 resources consumers use for research are digital. Digital advertising drives an average 21% in-store sales lift, with 1-in-4 campaigns actually driving sales lifts of more than 40%.

The panelists — all members of Path to Purchase Institute’s annual report, “Who’s Who in Shopper Marketing,” an exclusive group of leaders who have been recognized as industry trendsetters — talked extensively about operating in today’s digitized world and what that means for the future of omnichannel marketing.

Moderator Chris Lobdell of DataXu; Alicia Smestad of Nsight Connect; Roberto Siewczynski of Panavista; Stephanie Kovner-Bryant of Retailigence; and Matt Wise of ePrize

How do leading shopper marketing executives define omnichannel marketing? “Omnichannel is pretty simple — you start the transaction anywhere and you finish it anywhere,” said Roberto Siewczynski, EVP business development and strategy for Panavista. “As you start thinking about manufacturers vs. retailers, the thought process becomes a little more complex. Where does the CPG company engage [the consumer]? Where does the retailer engage [her]? And how is this delicate dance balanced?”

“There isn’t a path to purchase, anymore,” added Stephanie Kovner-Bryant, a member of the board of advisers of Retailigence, which describes itself as “a hyper-local marketing platform, serving both retailers and brand manufacturers, that utilizes brick-and-mortar inventory data obtained directly from retailers to turn online consumers into offline buyers,” according to the company’s website. Retailigence distributes local store inventory-based advertising via its own network of location-based application partners, mobile ad networks, mobile ad exchanges, search providers and social networks.

“People come in and out all along different points, and we need to be where they are with as much information as they need or want to activate against the final purchase,” Kovner-Bryant explained.
And omnichannel marketing remains a moving target. It’s not static like POP advertising at the shelf or other traditional shopper marketing vehicles. “When we talk about the next 36 months, we see a sea of change in the communication between the brand and the consumer,” noted Matt Wise, CEO of ePrize. “Where before there was a push out to the consumer, and we would talk about one-to-one marketing, the reality was you really couldn’t do one-to-one marketing,” he said. “When we talk about omnichannel marketing, the [chief marketing officers] of the world have to start to think, ‘Now I can speak to individuals via their smartphone; how is that going to affect all of my marketing because that [becomes] the primary tool with which I can talk to my consumer?’”

A key question is how do you measure these efforts? Even with the ready availability of data on consumer shopping behavior across omnichannel platforms, there is still some question as to how best to measure the return on investment behind omnichannel marketing.

“We’re at a real impasse in terms of measurement,” noted Alicia Smestad, president of Nsight Connect. “It’s not ‘click-through’ rate; it’s really an engagement metric,” she said. “In [one] digital program [that] we offer, we’ve measured four times the volume movement [versus] just the click-through [rate] or the incremental coupons that we measure alone. So we know there are eyeballs and there is an impact. … There is not one measurement tool for every program. You really have to understand the specific business objectives and the specific behavior objectives, and craft a measurement approach to go with each one of those [objectives].”

Omnichannel marketing may even change the way loyalty programs are implemented, suggested Wise, evolving from a linear purchase occasion-reward to a more robust purchase occasion-consumer engagement opportunity. “So often brands — both retailers and CPG players — use loyalty as an incentive to join a program, but not as a conversation piece,” Wise said. Ads, in-store displays and actual consumption are the traditional touchpoints brands have with consumers. Omnichannel marketing creates a fourth touchpoint, he said. “That will be the change, where people will move away from traditional programs … to a program where [the brand uses the loyalty points] to spark a conversation with the consumer.” 

 For more news from the Shopper Marketing Expo, visit DrugStoreNews.com/shopper-marketing-expo.

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Building the brand experience from inception to the shelf

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And if you sell to consumers who believe what you believe — consumers who buy into the “why” — you’ll not only have a fiercely loyal consumer, you’ll have a brand ambassador.

That was one of the key takeaways at the “Architecting a Brand Experience from Concept Through Retail Execution” symposium held here at Navy Pier, Tuesday afternoon, as attendees of the 2013 Shopper Marketing Expo absorbed insights from some of the leading creators of “brand experience” today.

“It is no longer relevant for a brand to have a unique selling feature,” Rob Wallace, managing partner of the global brand identity strategy and package design consultancy Wallace Church, told attendees. “We have to disrupt category conventions, transcend category cues and transform consumers in the process. That is the hallmark of our most successful brands.”

As an example of how to successfully build a brand experience from the ground up, Sean Patrick Harrington, founder of the premium skin care line Previse, which is positioned to help prevent niche skin conditions, talked about just how crucial identifying a brand’s name is to the process. “[With Previse], we wanted to be authentic, transparent, easy,” he said. “We chose the word ‘previse’ because it means to foresee or know in advance. … This is what we gave to Wallace Church [who consulted on the brand development process] — a passion for prevention.”

Presenters Rob Wallace, Doug Van Andel, Sean Patrick Harrington and Lily Lev-Glick walk a group from the Shopper Marketing Expo through building a brand from inception to sell-through.

Symposium presenters identified some best practices in helping to differentiate a brand from a sea of sameness, and creating an authentic brand experience on shelf. It begins with analyzing the category and the consumer buying the category.

Previse, for example, had been formulated to be gender agnostic — appealing to men as much as women because even though women, as the healthcare gatekeepers for their families, typically buy skincare, there were not many solutions for men. “Male grooming in this category is exploding. It’s an untapped opportunity,” Wallace said, but it creates a challenge — how do you communicate to men without alienating women?

That leads to the research integration process, which explores the elements of consumer and shopper research that should be integrated into the brand development process. The research should help list the key drivers or attributes of a category directly correlated to purchase intent. When those key drivers are perceived by the shopper to be a strong part of a product’s offering, it helps to move the product off shelf and into the market basket.

When you evaluate how well the brand does across these key drivers, “those are the attributes that are going to be your brand differentiators,” noted Lily Lev-Glick, founder and chief insights officer for the shopper insights and in-store strategy consultancy Shopper Sense. “More importantly, [if] you do this for all of your competitive brands, you will see where everyone falls.”

That helps marketers define why the new product exists — not just as a differentiator from what’s already on the shelf, but in terms of defining the vision and mission behind the new product. This feeds into the why behind the buy.

There are actually five steps that need to happen before implementing the product design and brand story, Wallace explained: Create a position statement; correlate that statement so that it explains the “why” behind the product; convert the statement into a visually impactful message; test the visual among consumers; and present that “visual brief” to the advertising, promotion and merchandising teams. “Follow these five steps before you begin the design development process and you will streamline the experience at every consumer interaction,” Wallace said. “Now this brand tells its own story. This brand has continuity and consistency. It has relevant disruption and innovation in the category. It tells a different story than anything else in the category, and begins to really reflect the experience and essence around the brand.”

Once those five steps have been addressed, it’s time to approach retail distribution and create a shopper-marketing plan. “You’re not just dealing with the brand and all the brand has to face,” noted Doug Van Andel, global creative director for the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, the brand story needs to dovetail with a retailer’s brand identity. “You’ve got a brand that stands for a particular kind of ‘why,’ and then you’ve got a retailer that stands for a particular kind of ‘why.’ Somewhere in the middle, you have shopper intimacy,” he said. “You have to have some understanding that there is some overlap between the brand that is relevant to the retailer and that the retailer has to live up to [its own brand expectations]. … If you take a close look at a Target shopper vs. a Walmart shopper, they are different people.” It’s important to understand where the brand values overlap, Van Andel said.

In the closing segment, attendees were invited to participate in a mock competition to create a program for the launch of Previse Skincare into the supermarket channel and other mass outlets, which is planned for the coming year. The winning presentation, which was selected on site by the presenters, was rewarded with an all-expense-paid, one-week vacation in Long Bay, in the British Virgin Island Tortola. To help spark creativity a group of marketing students was also in attendance, as an added bonus, Wallace told DSN. “I lecture at Columbia Business School’s MBA program and at the [School of Visual Arts] Masters in Branding program, and find that students’ contributions bring a fresh perspective and enthusiasm that drives design thinking and creative problem solving even further,” he said.

For more DSN coverage from Shopper Marketing Expo 2013, visit DrugStoreNews.com/shopper-marketing-expo.

 

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