Shopper Marketing - May 2017 - 37
tail systems to having responsibility for all
our applications including finance, payroll,
logistics and retail.
Our current president, Joe Sheridan, was
at the time executive VP, and he's always
pushed us to be ahead of the curve. He even
had a vision of shopper marketing before
that term existed. Joe believed that instead
of pushing product from the brand forward,
we should look at the consumer and focus
on the consumer back. He tapped me to
start a new division within Wakefern as VP
of marketing. We had a classic advertising/
merchandising function but our marketing
was really consumer-specific.
Joe formed a multi-division task force
called "the marketing oversight committee" and assigned us, along with our onsite
partners from the major CPG companies,
to develop this future of consumer-specific
marketing. It wasn't yet called shopper marketing back in those days.
I was still in technology when this all was
going on. So we built the first iteration of
our data warehouse and then started working on the website. When Joe created the
new marketing department, he picked me
because of my analytical background.
This doesn't sound like a
conventional marketing department.
WILLIAMS: Everybody else was doing
classic market research, but we were
looking at data and finding trends. When
you do market research, it's what the consumer told you or what you thought, and it's
not quick enough. When you look at data
you see things changing quicker. So, we built
this whole marketing capacity, which ultimately became shopper marketing. We had
vendor partners onsite from pretty much
every major CPG that would spend anywhere
from 12 to 18 months working alongside us.
They would bring their insights to us but
they also had access to our data as well.
Given all that calculus and hexadecimal
notation coursework in college, did
you ever sneak in a class on marketing?
WILLIAMS: No, I've never taken one. I'd
been the VP, marketing, for just a couple
of weeks when I was told that we were to go
to Tyson headquarters and that I was to make
the presentation. Honestly, I had no idea
what I'd be doing.
But one of the things our team figured
out quickly was that we needed to develop
our own marketing programs against our
consumer segments. We didn't want to keep
running around to different manufacturers
for their programming and trying to fit into
them. So we figured out the analytics and
our consumer segments, and came to understand what their baskets looked like. We
could then do deep dives and show how
brands, like Tyson, performed in certain consumer segments versus others. It was very
early shopper marketing.
We started with Hispanic marketing and
ended up developing our own series of
shopper marketing programs: natural/organic, African American, baby, kids, kosher.
Eventually, they became yearlong annual
programs that had a variety of levels with
MAY 2017 SHOPPER MARKETING y