Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of part of a current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.
Enjoy Life Foods, which makes packaged gluten-free and allergen-free products, launched an aggressive mobile marketing program 18 months ago and purposely rolled it out without a proprietary app. The result? The 10-year-old company posted a 43 percent increase in sales in 2012.
"We want to live on other companies' apps," Joel Warady, chief sales and marketing officer, stated in a presentation at the LEAD Marketing Conference in Chicago.
"We can absolutely track this through coupon redemptions and other programs that we only do on social that are driving it through social to mobile, and people using mobile in-store," he adds. "Fifty-three percent of our shoppers tell us that they are using smartphones in the store while they are shopping. To us, that is a big number and that's why we are utilizing this technology so much."
The company monitors how its products are listed on specialty mobile apps like "Is that Gluten Free?" and "Find Me Gluten Free." For example, Mr. Warady found some outdated product images on one app. "We want to make sure the information is current and up to date. You want your customer to trust that the information they get while they are in the store is real and correct," he says.
"Another reason we don't have our own app is, there are so many really good apps out there. So we want to make it easy for the consumer to use them," he adds.
An internal chief listening officer monitors consumer comments and postings on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. "That's their job. We hired them right out of college and their job is to listen to what people are saying about us."
Mr. Warady says there is great value in some consumers' postings. He points out one on Facebook where a shopper was so excited to find Plentils, a new Enjoy Life product, she went on to tell how many children she has, what their allergies are, what store she shops in, what she likes to buy, and what other products she'd like to see. This is information that would normally come from expensive market research, but it was offered freely.
Enjoy Life combines analog thinking with digital technology, and doesn't get deeply involved in much-discussed mobile functions like QR codes and geolocation.
"They are great, but it's not what people are doing," Mr. Warady reports. They are using social media "to share stuff while they are in the store. We are very focused on word of mouth. Smartphones enable us to create word of mouth on steroids."
He adds, "We think the power of the smartphone is less about what the retailer does with it and more about what the consumer does with it, connecting with other consumers," he says.
Do you suspect the benefit of social media outreach will be more about connecting with consumers or gaining insights from them?