Rewriting the rules on successful merchandising and display
CHICAGO — Being safe can make one sorry. Because it’s the unconventional that captures a consumer’s attention, and that’s just as true for designers of display units as it is for anything else. Indeed, it’s often the displays that deviate most from the norm that have the greatest impact and the greatest potential to get a shopper to stop, shop and buy.
That was the key message Leslie Clifford, executive director strategic planning at Geometry Global, and Nick Patterson, associate director of shopper marketing for Procter & Gamble, had for Shopper Marketing Expo attendees, during an Oct. 10 breakout session, “Breaking the Rules the Right Way.”
“Today’s shoppers are feeling very empowered. And they don’t view shopping as a mere transaction — one price to get a product. It’s really an experience that they feel they’re entitled to — customized solutions and trial and experimenting,” Clifford said.
Delivering on the customer experience is key. The challenge is delivering that customer experience while also satisfying performance measures both from the retailer’s perspective as well as the manufacturer’s needs.
The basic rules retailers commonly associate with promotional display include:
- The display must align with the retailer’s broader corporate strategies;
- It must drive sufficient sales;
- It must fall within the seasonal calendar; and
- It must be unique.
But manufacturers have rules of their own, and sometimes those rules don’t perfectly mesh with the retailer’s rules. In addition to aligning with a retailer’s corporate strategies, a display unit also has to live up to the manufacturer’s strategies.
Displays need to drive sufficient sales for the retailers, and at the same time, they need to clear time and shipment hurdles at the manufacturer.
For retailers, displays need to comply with the season; for manufacturers, displays need to be up and seen against a promotional calendar.
While the retailer wants exclusive programs, creating individual promotions retailer by retailer only adds to the cost of doing business for the manufacturer.
Even rules that should seem to be in alignment often are not. For instance, retailers want resources allocated against support for shopper marketing, and manufacturers want to dedicate those resources. But, for a retailer, it’s more efficient to have those dollars applied against a category; for the manufacturer, those funds are supposed to be applied to lifting the prominence of their brands exclusively.
Leslie Clifford, executive director strategic planning at Geometry Global, and Nick Patterson, associate director of shopper marketing for Procter & Gamble
The solution? There’s no need to actually break any of the rules, suggested Patterson; but, rather bend or rewrite them so that they meet three needs: the retailer’s needs, the manufacturer’s needs and the customer’s needs.
One way to do that is to identify the personal priorities of the retail decision-maker; in other words, find an internal stakeholder and align your initiatives against their pet projects. “Find out what their motivations and their interests are,” Patterson suggested. “If you can [convince] that internal stakeholder to be a champion of yours for a particular program, it often makes things a lot easier.”
Patterson shared a personal anecdote involving Walmart and Procter & Gamble’s desire to breathe some life into the liquid detergent category with the use of shelf-talkers and in-store signage. “Walmart had — and still does — a very strong policy on ‘clean store,’” he said. “It happened to be at that time that Walmart had a strong desire to drive sustainability,” he said. “We looked at our laundry care compaction project, which was taking our laundry business and taking half the plastic and half the water out of [it] — huge sustainability win on multiple fronts from product supply to the consumer to manufacturer.”
Instead of approaching Walmart with an in-store signage program that would run counter to Walmart’s clean store initiative, Patterson said, P&G highlighted its sustainability effort. “We’ve got a great story to tell in one of your biggest categories around sustainability. Let’s use [in-store signage] as a way to talk to your shoppers,” he said. “The idea was we had combined messaging on sustainability along with product messaging, and that allowed us to bend some rules and understand the actual lift from doing something like this in the category. It turned out to be a great initiative.”
It’s also important to look beyond the rule itself, and focus on goals and needs — for instance, how each stakeholder is incentivized, Patterson said.
Finally, communication and transparency are also crucial elements of a display program’s success. Manufacturers and retailers should write a program brief around any promotion so that expectations become a known quantity before the display is shipped, Patterson suggested.
Revolutionary times call for new shopper ‘marketing manifesto’
CHICAGO — A seismic shift in how people interact with technology, consume media and forge bonds with brands is forcing manufacturers, retailers and agencies to rethink how they go about business in order to win over consumers. The reality is we are living in a revolutionary period, and for marketers, that means a new marketing manifesto.
“You are living in what is called a ‘revolutionary period.’ … This is a massively disruptive time. It is not normal. It is not business as usual,” Aidan Tracey, president of AMG-Acosta Mosaic Group, told attendees of the Shopper Marketing Expo seminar “A New Marketing Manifesto: What Brands, Retailers and Agencies Need to Ask Themselves for 2014.” The session walked participants through a “new marketing manifesto” — an approach that showcases the evolving role of experiences to drive storytelling across a range of media platforms and retail environments.
Aidan Tracey, president of AMG-Acosta Mosaic Group
Demonstrating his passion for new forms of media and for creating innovative ways for brands to better connect with consumers, Tracey argued that marketers surround today’s consumers in three key environments:
- The shopping environment — in-store or online;
- Experientially — direct-to-consumer connections outside of retail; and
“Connecting all three of those things is very difficult, and you have to make sure you have the right partners at the table,” Tracey said. Acosta Mosaic Group is a full service marketing services business created by the merger of Acosta and Mosaic Sales Solutions in July 2012. Prior to the merger, Tracey was the CEO of Mosaic.
To help attendees with their future planning in the midst of today’s revolution, Tracey outlined five key questions that retailers and agencies need to ask themselves for 2014:
- What are we changing in the way we do planning for 2014?
- What links do your agencies have to actual in-store execution at key retailers? If none, do you have an agency at the table that does?
- How quickly can we get real-time information from the field to affect the way we plan?
- Where are our ideas being generated?
- How are we measuring ROI?
Bringing it all to life and helping attendees connect the dots on how consumers are changing the game, Tracey highlighted Red Bull and its freefall from space campaign as a best-in-class example.
In 2012, Austrian extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos team pulled off a stunt that no doubt caught the world’s attention — parachuting from the edge of space. The campaign became the largest branded event in social media history with 8 million simultaneous YouTube views and generated $60 million in earned media within the first two days, with scores of major news outlets covering the event.
“An experiential-type program becomes the heart of what you do because it is no longer reliant on just a television campaign to be successful. It can permeate all forms of media,” Tracey said.
For more DSN coverage from the Shopper Marketing Expo, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Shopper-Marketing-Expo.
Leveraging game-based technology to engage shoppers, drive loyalty
CHICAGO — What helps build loyalty, but is not considered a loyalty program? What is fun, exciting and rewarding, and at the same time strategic, planned and designed to drive trips and/or purchases?
Gamification. It’s the latest buzzword among brand marketers, and it’s gaining traction as early adopters begin to revolutionize the way customer engagement is done.
The reasons behind gamification are simple. It not only engages the consumer, it derives a commitment from the consumer; it not only engenders loyalty, it creates brand advocates; and gamified consumers not only become repeat purchasers, they also act as billboards for the brand.
“It’s a way to use technology a lot of times on a very personal level,” noted Scott Shamberg, SVP growth and emerging commerce at TPN, during a breakout session at the 2013 Shopper Marketing Expo here, on Oct. 10. “You can customize the program to meet the insights you already have about your target,” he said. “You can match those insights with game mechanics to drive further engagement.”
Successful gamification strategies are based on five strategies: a value exchange, acknowledgement, “bragability,” the utilization of mobile, and social networks and status. “At its core, you tap into this idea of everybody wanting their 15 minutes of fame,” Shamberg said. “That’s what Facebook, to an extent, tapped into.”
How do you gamify?
More and more, gamification is becoming an industry in and of itself, and the options available to marketers are akin to buying a home: build a gamification platform from the ground up, buy a currently-existing platform and customize it to the brand, or rent a gamification platform.
Each of the strategies has its own pros and cons, noted Sarah Ortman, senior group manager of consumer and shopper promotions for Clorox. “[For example], the pro of building your own customer gaming experience is you get exactly what you want,” she said. “The challenge is there is a lot of planning and resourcing. And there is investment and risk that’s inherent,” she added. Building from the ground up also could take the most time to bring the program to market.
Buying a pre-existing platform and customizing the experience may be more cost-effective and also represents a faster turnaround to market. However, the experience may not be fully customizable.
Finally, renting represents the fastest speed to market, but the brand doesn’t own the community or experience. An example of a successful rental experience is Target’s partnership with Shopkick. Target wanted to reward its loyal guests during the entire shopping process, as well as further engage them in store and at shelf, Ortman noted. Target partnered with Shopkick and rewarded its guests with “kicks” for browsing products online, visiting select stores or participating in “scan missions” in which participants have to scan certain products at shelf. Those “kicks” can then be used toward the purchase of gift cards. Shopkick’s game-centric platform further enhanced the shopping experience, Ortman noted.
For those marketers serious about deploying a gamification platform, Shamberg and Ortman shared a list of the eight questions every marketer should ask before taking the next step:
- Is the gamification initiative grounded in insights and strategies?
- Do you have the right team in place to support and sustain it once you build it?
- Do you have an existing loyalty base you are engaging? If not, do you know the audience size that would indicate success and how you would reach them?
- Do you know the investment level you are willing to commit to creation and maintenance?
- Are you equipped with the technology and prepared to respond to the pace of change?
- Have you defined success metrics?
- Do you have a clearly defined payoff for the consumer and the brand?
- Does your customer purchase online or in-store? How does this program support this behavior?
For more DSN coverage from the Shopper Marketing Expo, visit DrugStoreNews.com/Shopper-Marketing-Expo.