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Veteran Walmart executive dies at 82

BY Marianne Wilson
Influential and longtime Walmart executive Don Soderquist died after complications related to heart surgery. He was 82.
 
Soderquist joined Walmart in 1980 as executive VP of administration and logistics and was a driving force behind the company’s growth. From 1988 to 1999, he served as vice chairman and COO. He retired in 2000 and remained on the Walmart board until 2002. 
 
Soderquist was a key figure in Walmart’s rise to the top of American retailing. During his tenure, the company said its revenue increased from $1 billion to more than $200 billion. 
 
After retirement, Soderquist established The Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics in Northwest Arkansas to provide values-focused development training to future generations of leaders. 
 
In 2005, he wrote the book “The Wal-Mart Way,” to teach others how to apply the lessons that made Walmart successful to their own lives and careers. And to the end, he remained a key adviser to Walmart employees and executives, even doing a presentation in recent months at the retailer’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters, according to the Wall Street Journal. 
Soderquist was also involved in numerous charitable organizations and served on several corporate boards.
 
“Don epitomized the term servant leader,” wrote Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon wrote in a posting on the chain’s website. “He was always thinking of others, provided great feedback and was encouraging to so many people. He had a deep passion for integrity, and it was Don who drafted our original core values. Don became known as the “Keeper of the Culture” after our founder, Sam Walton, passed away because he not only helped define our values – he lived out our culture and spoke passionately about it year after year.”
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Study: Digital revolution transforming shopper marketing

BY Marianne Wilson
Online marketing is sparking radical changes — and growth — in shopper marketing.
 
That’s according to a new report from the ANA (Association of National Advertisers), conducted in partnership with market research firm GfK, which finds that  shopper marketing, long considered an in-store discipline, is evolving into an omnichannel approach designed to reach shoppers at all touchpoints.
 
The report came in the wake of an ANA/PQ Media US Brand Activation Marketing Forecast report, which said that between now and 2020, investment in shopper marketing is expected to increase 5.8% to $18.6 billion, outperforming the growth of total brand marketing spending.
 
“The point of purchase is no longer just in-store, and shopper marketers are struggling to reach consumers across the right touchpoints at the right time,” said ANA president and CEO Bob Liodice. “Our research shows that the new goal of shopper marketing campaigns is to make brick-and-mortar visits mirror the effectiveness of the online environment while delivering a seamless shopper experience.”
 
In a key finding, the study confirmed that mobile has become an important component of shopper marketing campaigns, attempting to engage people in-store and extend a connection post-visit. Mobile is being furthered leveraged pre-visit with geolocation, targeted mobile marketing, and promotional apps.
 
• Shopper marketing has progressed from only driving short-term sales to motivating shopper behavior. While the primary role of shopper marketing has always been to convert shoppers, it now has to deliver a combination of short- and long-term benefits, including driving conversion among shoppers, motivating shopper behavior through levers beyond price, and executing solutions to shopper challenges and purchase barriers.
 
• A dedicated shopper marketing team is more likely to be viewed as a competitive advantage today than it was in the past. Among respondents in organizations with a dedicated shopper marketing team, 51% indicated that shopper marketing was a competitive advantage, and 55% said shopper marketing reflected the convergence of brands, shoppers, and retailers.
 
• When shopper marketing reports to marketing, it likely to be more strategic and more highly valued within the organization. The discipline began to change dramatically as shopper marketers became more strategic and began leveraging shopper insights. When shopper marketing began reporting directly to marketing rather than to sales or other departments, it created greater opportunity for integration.
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Walgreens to open ‘Community’ pharmacy in Michigan

BY Gina Acosta

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Walgreens is opening a new store in Grand Rapids, Mich., but it won't look like any other Walgreens.

The new store at 555 Michigan Street NE will be a smaller, speciality pharmacy that offers only specialty prescription drugs in a 2,000 square-foot space, according to mlive.com. The store is scheduled to open by the end of August.

Walgreens Community pharmacies are specialty pharmacies that provides patient care to help those managing complex conditions including cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C and infertility, the company said.

Earlier this year Walgreens' Specialty Pharmacy unit received full specialty pharmacy accreditation from URAC, an independent health care accrediting organization that assesses quality standards for the health care industry.

“At Walgreens, everything begins with quality of care and having the external validation through URAC is an extraordinary achievement that underscores our commitment to helping patients lead healthier lives,” stated Mike Ellis, Walgreens corporate VP, specialty pharmacy.

Based on industry quality benchmarks, URAC reviewed and certified Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy centralized services based on clinical credentials, operating processes and patient management results, among other core standards.

Walgreens has been expanding its footprint of more than 230 specialty pharmacy locations.
 

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