Director of Digital Marketing at JWT Melbourne, Josie Brown, presented at this year’s Australian Food & Grocery Council. Lending her expertise on improving customer communication, Josie offered practical insights into driving business growth through digital. Read her presentation below.
Fifteen years ago, digital marketing was almost as simple as building your new website. Today, there’s much more to think about. As the Internet and our array of gadgets grow, so does complexity. No doubt, the rapid pace of digital media growth has transformed the way consumers behave and interact with each other and businesses. Today I want to look at how consumer technology fits into business strategy and how it can be used to influence shopper choices and generate sales.
Unlike TV advertising, digital allows you to have an intimate connection with the shopper via mobile, Facebook and email, targeting all the points along the path to purchase. The chance to continue a dialogue directly with your customer post-purchase is also much cheaper and easier now with digital platforms.
Facebook, THE hot topic of 2012 so far, and where 11 million Australians spend more than 25% of their time online, offers a tantalising prospect to marketers – ability to target a mass audience and build a community of fans who talk about your product with friends. Free media! But the Gartner Hype Cycle seems somewhat apt here—Technology creates a ‘because we can’ enthusiasm. Fear of missing out (FOMO) creates a rush to be first. “We need to build an app… we have to get on Pinterest…we must have QR codes!” The panic that competitors might beat us to it and, bingo, here we are today in the trough of disillusionment. This is test-and-learn on a grand scale to reach a point where you know that you’re investing in the right things. Some fundamentals still remain—Sales results only come when technology supports shoppers’ motivations.
Think about human motivations – the rules are still the same
Two questions that unlock what really motivates us to visit websites or use online tools everyday: Is it helpful? And is it fun?
The ultimate definition of a helpful online tool in the pre-store stage is Google. Ensuring that information about your products is visible when a potential shopper is researching your category is as important as having products stocked on the shelf in store. Particularly when your product information comes up in the non-paid organic Google listings, search marketing will deliver incremental sales more effectively than any other advertising spend.
Increasingly, shoppers are also searching from their phones. Helping the shopper by providing, for example, an inspiring recipe as they’re on the way home from work builds relevance at the right time and gets your product on the shopping list. But what about launching new products?
For the launch of Kraft Whipped Peanut Butter earlier this year we created something fun for people to talk about. We allowed customers to trial Peanut Butter like ice cream: we served it in a cone, soft-serve-style, from an ice cream van. It was a hugely disruptive, novel and a fun experience that connected with shoppers emotionally. What took this idea beyond a fun sampling campaign was the role that Facebook played in spreading the word beyond those who saw the van in-person. The Facebook platform gave our audience a chance to interact with the van, talk about the product and share their experiences with their friends far beyond the lot where the van was parked. Fans could even ask the van to come to them.
What was the shopper motivation behind using Facebook?
We understood that Facebook users like to have entertaining news to share with their friends. The experience of visiting the Whipped Van was social currency to share in the form of photos and stories. Asking Facebook users to sign-up for a free jar would not have had the same effect.
So what impact is technology having in the store?
Up to now, it has not been easy to see examples of how grocery brands have been able to use technology in-store to grow sales. The physical store, understandably, remains the domain of the retailer.
When I’m shopping, with my oversized handbag in one hand and shopping basket in the other, it’s just not practical to start trying to tap my phone to check what was on my list or check what’s on special this week. For a Mum, keen to get around the store as simply as possible, she’s just not going to be scanning QR codes and researching at shelf.
A simple change, like mounting your smart device on the trolley, could change things entirely. If it were easy to scan products into the trolley to see related products that are on special, or to see recipe ideas for the sauce you’ve just selected or even be alerted to a new companion product – you would!
The point here is that smart phones bring the promise of an intimate connection with the shopper in-store, but applying some common sense about how and when to use mobile tools makes a huge difference to the usefulness of the technology and consequently the pay-off for you and for them! The Shopper motivation to save money may be enough for a shopper to get the phone out in the grocery aisle, but based on current observations it’s at home, post purchase, that you are most likely to engage consumers.
Post-Purchase experiences provide a way to encourage product consumption and drive re-purchase. In New York, JWT in partnership with our client J&J and Disney launched a game-changing product innovation. Using augmented reality, a whole new media channel was created – the Band Aid. They used smart technology to be helpful – to make kids forget about their scratched limbs. It works commercially because of the high adoption of smart phones – this is not targeting a tech enabled nice market – and, of course, the emotional reward of the Disney magic.
The partnership with Disney secures high quality, unique branded entertainment, which can be updated any time without expensive distribution costs.
To close, what I’ve shown here re-enforces that there is still a LOT to think about with digital’s role in connecting intimately with the shopper, but don’t get overwhelmed! I’ve demonstrated that growth – getting on the shopping list through to getting the pack out of the cupboard – is real when you speak to real human motivations. Be Helpful. Be Fun.
— Josie Brown is the Director of Digital Marketing at JWT Melbourne. With 15 years of experience in the digital space, she has worked on projects for both the agency and client side. Her recent work with JWT include Kraft Foods and Unilever, and she has a wide range of experience across web, mobile, social, email and online advertising.