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SymphonyIRI on reaching millennials: New media savvy but hard hit by economy

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — At 50 million strong in the United States today, millennials — defined as adults ages 18 years to 34 years — are demonstrating more volatility and showing less fiscal confidence than average shoppers, revealed a SymphonyIRI Group report released Wednesday.

“Shoppers of all ages, income levels and demographics continue to evaluate and evolve their shopping rituals based on an economy that shows some signs of strength, but still many ongoing signs of weakness," stated Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends, a SymphonyIRI Group publication.

Inaugural findings from SymphonyIRI’s "Shopper Sentiment Index" revealed that millennial shoppers have demonstrated a more cautious and volatile outlook compared with other age groups during the past 18 months. This reflects the environment in which they live at a critical juncture in their adult lives. For various reasons, millennials tend to head larger-than-average-sized households. Meanwhile, they have relatively low levels of household income. They are 11% more likely to have incomes of $25,000 to $49,000; 14% more likely to have incomes of $50,000 to $99,000; but 18% less likely to earn six figures than other Americans.

As an added hardship, the recent recession has hit millennials hard; the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 2011 unemployment rate for this group of 12%, as compared with 9% for the general U.S. population. Underemployment, too, is a significant challenge.

SymphonyIRI’s MarketPulse survey noted that millennials are coping through several money-saving activities. The group is 46% more likely to use at-home beauty treatments to save money, and 31% more likely to cook from scratch or with limited convenience foods to save money. Millennials also are 18% more likely to “self-treat” where possible to avoid spending money on doctor’s visits.


And communication through new media has an outsized impact on millennials. A group that has grown up in the age of digital media and smart devices, this technology-savvy group is the first “always connected” generation. As expected, new media are essential to millennials’ process of learning about CPG products. When making brand decisions, millennials are 262% more likely than the average shopper to be influenced by smartphone apps, 247% are more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites and 216% are more likely to be influenced by in-store touchscreen displays.

SymphonyIRI is offering a free webinar, "Millennial Shoppers: Tapping into the Next Growth Segment," at 2 p.m. EST on July 12. Registration for the webinar, hosted by Viamari, is available here.

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Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle goes (wal)nuts

BY Allison Cerra

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle has introduced a new flavor.

The wafer-thin snack, which is certified kosher and produced in a peanut-free facility, has rolled out its traditional walnut flavor, which joins the current lineup that includes chocolate chip and toffee crunch varieties.

Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle is available at select stores and online at Browniebrittle.com.

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Social media for drug store brands and retailers

BY Bonnie Kintzer

Social media is an important component of ongoing brand marketing, as well as any advertising campaign for a drug store retailer or brand. Integrated communications have the most impact because earned, owned and paid media reinforce and amplify the message. All channels feed off each other; the more frequently a potential customer sees or hears about a brand or retailer, particularly in more than one context or venue, the more likely she is to remember and purchase.

In any campaign or communication, always start with the customer: Who is she, how does she buy, what media does she see, what channels does she shop all day long and what are her interests?

Once you know your customer, you can narrow your focus so your message can be heard. And in social media in particular, the key to being heard is to tweet and post about what is of interest to the customer, not the brand or the retailer.

So, for example, a skin care company can share interesting facts and news about beauty and skin care, in addition to talking about its own products and news.

On Facebook, for example, Rite Aid offers safety suggestions for July 4, tips for using sunscreen on summer vacations, and user-contributed photos of eye-popping nail art.

Look at what your competition is tweeting or posting about, and observe which posts garner the most comments.

A simple question on Rite Aid’s Facebook page, “Do you know what the body’s largest organ is?” received 523 comments. (Correct answer = skin.) Everyone likes to show what they know.

Contests and special events are great ways to build likes and followers without resorting to coupons and discounts. These can be national or store based or both. For example, a retailer can promote or sponsor a charity or community event, such as a marathon or fundraiser. Tying a special event to a specific store will help raise awareness and drive traffic to that location.

A European skincare and color brand launched a one-minute video contest on Facebook. The goal was to introduce and promote its international collection of beauty products in the U.S. The company also hoped to build engagement and create a stream of communication with current and prospective consumers.

The contest asked consumers to share “the essential ingredients of their lives.” Facebook banner ads drove traffic to the contest entry page.

In two weeks, the contest generated 3 million impressions, 1,800 clicks on the contest page, and an additional 3,000 likes.

Another drug store brand, hair care company Infusium, is sponsoring the U.S. synchronized swim team at the Olympics in London this summer. It ran a sweepstakes contest whose winner will attend the Olympics and serve as the honorary captain of the team.

Simultaneously, the company revamped its Facebook community with a new look, more frequent and conversational content, and less of a focus on coupons and discounts.

During the month of May, the company acquired 4,000 new likes. Engagement in the community increased, with 100 or more comments on posts, and more questions about where to find a product instead of coupons. Sharing of posts has also increased.

Knowing your customer and communicating in the right way will pay off with increased engagement and awareness of the retailer or brand.


 Bonnie Kintzer is CEO of Women’s Marketing Inc., the authority on how women consume media. Women’s Marketing Inc. services more than 300 clients in the beauty, fashion and health space by delivering the best integrated advertising solutions in digital, print and out-of-home. Kintzer has built a distinguished career in the media world with a strong focus on revenue creation and re-engineering. She can be reached at bkintzer@womensmarketing.com.

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D.FOOTE says:
Dec-22-2012 07:26 am

Social media plays a vital role in all kinds of business promotion. It's the most popular way nowadays.

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