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4 Insights to Help Grocers and Food Brands Drive Sales

4 Insights to Help Grocers and Food Brands Drive Sales

Published on by John Findlay.

Keep the basket size large and the purchase frequency high! 

Keep the basket size large and the purchase frequency high! 

In the last couple of years we’ve been able to help our food marketing  (i.e., grocery and food brands) clients increase basket size and purchase frequency.  I thought I’d share some of our food marketing insight.

A Recipe for Success

One thing our grocery & food brand clients have in common is they all use recipes to promote their products.  Makes sense, right?  Nest your products within great recipes and folks’ll need to buy your stuff so they can make the meals.  Trouble is, if everyone’s using the same tactic, how can we make sure our recipes cut through the butter? (I know, it’s too much...).  

One tactic we’ve used with great success is gamification.  We’ve challenged consumers to do everything from collecting to guessing ingredients, and the results have been outstanding.  By gamifying our clients’ recipes we’ve been able to prompt longer and deeper engagement, social sharing, and sales of specific products.   Here’s a gamified recipe promo we built for one of our grocery clients!


A friend of mine’s mom used to collect anything with a duck on it.  I first noticed it while sitting in their kitchen one day.  Everywhere I looked were things with ducks on them. Paintings, napkins, spoon handles, you name it.  It occurred to me that her house was full of things she would not otherwise have bought were they not ducked up, if you will.  Well, it turns out she wasn’t all that unusual.  People like to collect things and they’ll go out of their way to do so.  We’ve found that including collectibles in our promotions will motivate people to buy more products and return to our clients’ stores more frequently.  Duck ya!

Backend Integration, Now That’s Loyalty!

One the challenges with we face when tasked with driving sales is how to track purchases.  Of course the knee jerk reaction is to try to integrate our promotion DBs with the client’s POS (‘nough acronyms for ya?!).  Trouble is most data warehousing companies aren’t set up for exporting data and their tech teams are too busy to build custom solutions.  So POS usually turns out to be a PITA.  

What has worked well is integration with our client’s loyalty databases. Loyalty members already have profiles and their purchases are already being tracked so all we’ve gotta do is link loyalty card numbers to the data we import and boom, we can track and reward for purchase.

On a side note, we’ve also developed some great tactics for driving new loyalty program registrations.  So backend integration can be a real one-two punch!

Digital Coupons

I know what you’re thinking; No sh*!t, knocking a few shekels off the price of a product is going to prompt some sales.  It’s certainly not going to result in less sales!  Thanks for the insight baldy

That’s not what’s new though.  What’s new is the distribution tactics.  We all know coupons work.  But what are we getting out of them?  Well, typically it’s a short term spike in sales, right?  But what we’ve found is that by incorporating them into a promotion we can increase our R-O-coupon-I.  We’ve had great success using them as secondary prizing to reward participants for doing nice things for us like opting into our email list, sharing with friends, joining our social communities, and so on.  And the best part is, those coupons have still prompted promotion participants to buy our clients products to boot.  Not bad, huh?


Grocery Marketing - Get the most from your Loyalty Program

Published on by Romeo Maione.

People have an intimate connection to grocery stores. The average consumer spends a heck of a lot of time in them and knows their go-to store like the back of their hand. The grocery store is both a cornerstone of the community and an important part of consumers’ lives.

The soda aisle is usually approached with a healthy mix of shame and excitement

The soda aisle is usually approached with a healthy mix of shame and excitement

So it makes sense that loyalty programs are so popular with grocery marketers. The necessity of a grocery store combined with the intimacy and personal nature of food makes brand connection and loyalty a natural psychological fit. The best loyalty programs serve as a relationship between a consumer and a brand, solidifying the connection between them and making sure both parties get something out of it. 

Ideally, you want your loyalty program to be three things: digital, personal and gamified. 



Ever looked a recipe up online? Made a shopping list on your smartphone? Downloaded a coupon? Googled prices? Yeah, well, you’re not alone. These are all things that more than 75% of women have done before shopping.

Snapchatting is an important part of the grocery shopping process

Snapchatting is an important part of the grocery shopping process

In a recent survey, more than 80% of women under 65 used their smartphone at some point in the grocery shopping process. This means a loyalty program that isn’t fully digital (and mobile accessible) shouldn’t make the cut. 

Going digital also means you can get tons of valuable data about your consumers. Digital loyalty programs make it so easy to build a valuable and detailed customer profile on a loyalty member. You won’t just know what products to target them with, but when to target them! Imagine being able to email a consumer the night before their big shop to promote the products you want them to buy? That’s marketing manna. It also makes the connection between consumer and brand more personal. 


People want to have a connection with a brand. Good loyalty programs are about creating a conversation. If people feel like they’re conversing with a creepy corporate automaton they’ll check out and lose any real sense of brand loyalty. 

Here’s one great trick for creating a personal, conversational tone. Ask your loyalty members through email what they think you could improve on and post the results. 

Don’t be afraid of negative feedback! Showing that you’re able to listen to your consumer base, take criticism, and explain decisions makes your brand seem like it’s made of people and not eerily enthusiastic robots. You can also offer exclusive deals and promotions to loyalty members This will help make them feel special and catered to. You can also make these fun! Which is why the best loyalty programs are also


This one’s a little trickier and you might need some help. First off, what do I mean? A “gamified” loyalty program uses game tactics to make brand loyalty fun and addictive (check out our blog post for a primer on gamification!). Instead of just doing their weekly grocery shop loyalty members can get double points for purchasing select products, or try and maximize their score in a shopping game for a chance to win a prize. It makes shopping (and planning for shopping), more fun and engaging. The best loyalty programs also manage to gamify learning about new products and their value propositions.  

This is good for consumers and marketers. While the consumer is having fun, marketers can incentivize the purchase of select items and influence consumers in surgical, targeted ways. 

If a loyalty program is digital, personal and gamified, then you’ve got the recipe for success. 

Shoot, I just realized I only made one food pun in this whole post.


It's Time to Put TV in its Place

Published on by John Findlay.

The other day I came across this article in which Kimberly-Clark’s CMO Clive Sirkin challenges TV-driven marketing methodologies and I thought; someone should congratulate the guy for sticking his neck out.  

I know what you’re thinking; what a freakin’ brown-noser congratulating Kimberly-Clark’s CMO.  In my defense, he and I are neither acquainted nor are we connected on LinkedIn, so I doubt if word of this post will reach him!

Yellow pages.jpg

The last century called, they want their marketing plan back!

I think it’s about time some high profile marketers started to challenge the TV-first methodology.  While once the deserved holy grail, TV is now that aging superstar athlete at whom foolish general managers are still willing to throw megabucks, despite precipitously declining production.  Where TV differs from our aged athletic heroes is that it will never have to retire.  It’ll always have a role to play, however diminished.  So, like Sirkin, I’m not claiming that marketers should abandon TV, but they sure should reevaluate its position within the marketing mix.


Big Data - Except on TV

Doesn’t anyone else find it funny that in the age of big data we still pile the majority of our marketing dollars into a medium that we can’t accurately measure?  But even if we can’t measure it there are a few obvious signs that its halcyon days are over.   I don’t know about you but I don’t suffer TV ads much anymore.  To start with, my wife and I have two small children so we have to PVR our shows and watch them around our kids’ schedules.  Think we we sit through the commercials when we rerun the shows?  And, if we do watch live TV we flip the channel or mute those ridiculously loud commercials.  The bottom line is we don’t watch TV ads.

But let’s assume my wife and I are mavericks; crazy, PVRing, channel changing aberrations.  Maybe the majority of sane North American TV-watching citizenry sits and watches commercials attentively.   Trouble is, over 50% of North American homes have a PVR.    Damn, there goes that theory.  Wait!  Maybe these folks are fast forwarding the shows to get to the riveting 30-second spots our industry dreams up!

Some of the team confessed to using their Mom's NetFlix account!

Some of the team confessed to using their Mom's NetFlix account!

But enough about gen X.  They’re the ones who own all the PVRs.  What about millennials?  Well, we have an office full of them here are Launchfire and none of them has cable.  When I put the cable question to the team they looked at me as if I were from Mars.  “Why the hell would we pay for that?”, “Nah, we watch online.”, “Netflix!” were the typical responses.  

So grant me that it’s possible that our TV ads aren’t reaching as large an audience as our dollars command.  But there’s more; the fact is TV is a one-way, push medium.  How many email opt-ins does a TV ad generate?  What about social shares?  Consumer reviews?  Seems the great influencer of the 20th century just doesn’t measure up in today’s hyper connected, tweet-laden world. 

In closing I would contend that when you take a hard, honest look at TV it just doesn’t merit the top spot in your media plan.  If anything its purpose should be to drive consumers to one of those new fangled websites where I hear consumers can actually interact with your brand!  Just sayin’...


5 Reasons Sweeps Rock for Omnichannel Marketing

Published on by John Findlay.

I think it’s crazy that marketers don’t tag their media with sweepstakes CTAs more often.  Yup, my position on this matter is self-serving but that doesn’t make it wrong.  I just don’t think a case can be made that offering some value to the consumer is going to make your media less effective.  Here what I think it will do for your media:

1 - Increase Response Rates

People are more likely to take action when there’s something in it for them.  Offering a chance to win will drive people from your <insert channel here> advertising to a microsite where you can get them engaged with your brand.

2 - Grow Membership

Effective sweeps executions drive outstanding join rates for your marketing programs (email: 70-80%, SMS 30-40%, FB 40-50%, etc.).  Converting eyeballs into members gives you the opportunity to stay in touch long after your media campaigns have ended.  Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving!

3 - Drive Awareness & Education

I know, you’re thinking people take two seconds to register for a sweeps and they’re gone.  That’s true of a hit-and-run sweeps (you know, the kind with only two pages: Registration and Thank You), but a gamified sweeps’ll actually get people engaged and educate them about your value propositions while they play.

4 - Make Noise on Social Nets

I’m not claiming that people are going to enter your sweeps and immediately jump on Facebook to tell all their friends about it.  I’m not an idiot!  What I am saying is that you can integrate tactics that’ll prompt people to post on their social networks.  I’d tell ya how but then you’d have no reason to call us!

5 - Drive Sales

First off, I’d claim that having educated someone about the value propositions of your offering increases the likelihood that they’ll buy your product.  But sweeps can do more.  You can actually get people to buy your stuff by offering them extra chances to win.

Everyday I see another article about omnichannel marketing so I thought it was high time someone pointed out the obvious;  Regardless of what, or how many, channels you run your messaging within, your ROI will be greater when you offer the audience something in return for their time and attention.

Current value of opinion in US dollars

Current value of opinion in US dollars


Digital Marketing for Retailers - Part 2

Published on by Romeo Maione.

In the last post we talked about how to use digital media to educate consumers about your product offerings. Today let’s talk about how digital media is used in-store by retailers and consumers. 


Let’s start with the digital elephant in the room. 


Of course consumers are checking out products in the store and then shopping online to get a discounted price. Why wouldn’t they? 

While this is a retailer’s panicked nightmare, it doesn’t have to be. There are strategies to deal with showrooming, and even to take advantage of it. 

But not this strategy. This strategy is terrible. 

But not this strategy. This strategy is terrible. 

First of all, you should be offering a digital experience in-store. This starts with wifi. Free wifi is an absolute must for big retail outfits (Check out our post for the reasons why). But that’s just the beginning. 

If it’s in your budget, consider having iPads available in-store where consumers can purchase products that aren’t available at that outlet. This means consumers aren’t scared away when they can’t find a certain product.  

It’s also wise to run digital promotions featuring an in-store component. Promotional games you can play right there in the store will increase customer excitement and brand engagement. They will also help keep disgruntled shopping partners occupied (with branded content no less!) while their significant other agonizingly decides between a sweater and a turtleneck. 

Ah. I see they went with both. 

Ah. I see they went with both. 

Also consider running a promotion that doubles entries for in-store purchase. This simple incentive can get people whipping out their real-life wallets right now, and not their leatherless digital equivalent later in the day. 

Basically what I’m saying with all these examples is that the modern consumer craves a fully digital experience in-store. You should be giving them as many ways as possible to connect. If you create in-store opportunities for digital engagement your store becomes a more desirable place to spend time and therefore a more desirable place to spend money. 

If those ideas are outside your budget range, there’s also the more crude tactic of offering a product line that is only available in-store, like Target is doing. 

Good news and bad news

The bad news is that you can’t stop showrooming altogether. There will always be a small group that takes advantage of your store. But...

The good news is that you can still put these people to good use! 

Showroomers are cost conscious above all else, so they are especially likely to be interested in giveaways. Even if they have no intention of buying anything from you, promotions that incentivize social sharing bring new consumers into your funnel.

You may as well get some advertising out of those rotten showroomers. And just because they don’t buy anything this time, having their email address means you can let them know about sales and promotions you’re having to get them back in the store. Only this time, they might buy something! 


Digital Marketing for Retailers - Part 1

Published on by Romeo Maione.

We’ve all seen it. A boyfriend or husband helplessly playing Flappy Bird while their significant other shops. Or a comparison shopper furiously trying to get digital coupons at the expense of their sanity. 

Retailers see these people every day. That’s because people are using their smartphones in retail outlets more than ever before. In the last month alone, 50% of shoppers have used their smartphone inside a retail store. 

This blog series will give you the tools you need to get the most out of your digital marketing.

Digital marketing is no longer a luxury for retailers, it's the cornerstone of your marketing efforts.

Here’s some stats to support my argument. I offer them in order to get you to trust my acumen and research. #nakedhonesty

89% of customers do some kind of pre-shopping online (research, comparison, reviews) 

Time spent with mobile apps (127 minutes per day) is beginning to challenge television (168 minutes per day). 

90% of consumers trust online recommendations for products 

I would contend that digital hasn’t just arrived, it’s become the most important retail marketing medium for driving awareness & education, in-store engagement, purchase and loyalty.  I know that’s a bold claim, but watch me back it up! 


One of the biggest challenges retail marketers have is educating consumers about their products. And when it comes to education, you’d be hard pressed to beat user reviews. Last time you went to buy a big-ticket item like a BBQ or a phone, I’m willing to wager you read user reviews. I sure did. I spent hours reading “Steve from Tucson”’s lengthy diatribe on the new iPhone, and I eventually bought one (thanks Steve!). 

And it isn’t just me. 

In the last year alone, e-commerce customers have written 5 million product reviews on Amazon. Based on the conversations happening on review sites, it’s clear reviews are influencing purchase. That means they’re an avenue to be taken advantage of by retail marketers. But how? 

In the parlance of our times, you gotta give something to get something. 

This image brought to you by "Cheesy Corporate Visuals inc." 

This image brought to you by "Cheesy Corporate Visuals inc." 

While a core group will always write reviews, the trick is in getting your average Joe to write them. While I can’t tell you how to cure consumer apathy, I do know the power of incentives. The best way to get a customer to do something for you is to offer them something in exchange. A promotion, a chance to get highlighted on your website, or a voting mechanism to determine the most useful reviews are all great incentives. 

Rewarding people for writing reviews also means you’ll get more variety in your reviews. This is because you will extend your reviewer base beyond just the SUPER ANGRY or SUPER HAPPY. Think of reviews like noise. As long as you’re increasing the positive noise about your product, you’re educating more consumers. 

While it might seem counterintuitive, people’s desire for personalization can also be harnessed to drive awareness. Let me explain. Basically, people are more likely to want something they’ve picked themselves. 

Every person is a unique beautiful snowflake that has different wants and desires.

Especially this guy. 

Especially this guy. 


Offering people the opportunity to create their own grand prize translates to both excitement and a greater likelihood of your promotion going viral. People are more likely to share something they built or picked themselves, meaning you get a lot more shares than you would from a normal pre-picked grand prize. 

Of course, the value to you as a marketer is that people have to search through your product offerings to pick what’s right for them. You also get a nice little profile of the person who picked their prize. That’s really valuable since you now know what type of products they’re interested in and can target them in your marketing efforts. 

Educational promotions will get em’ in the door. 

Then what? 

In the next part of the series, we're going to talk about how to engage customers in-store. We'll also talk about combatting showrooming! 

In the mean time, if you want to see what Launchfire can do for your shop, call our resident retail expert Alicia Gutierrez at 1-613-706-0623!


Launchfire Interactive Inc.

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EMAIL: sales@launchfire.com       FAX: 1.613.728.1527
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