How 19,000 Beats Tens of Millions

May 17, 2004

By John Hennessy

Using 19,000 ACNielsen Homescan panelists as their guide, marketers are getting strong results through Consumer Direct, a joint venture between Yahoo! and ACNielsen.

These 19,000 panelists allow their offline purchases to be matched with their online activity. Their response is then married to their profiles. That combination is used to assign appropriate marketing messages to over 10 million Yahoo! users with similar interests.

Customers of this new service are primarily CPG manufacturers including Kraft, Dial, Nestle, The Gillette Company and Unilever. Writing for MediaPost, Ross Fadner documents ROIs for the online campaigns ranging from 100 to 300 percent. Also cited are average sales lifts of 15 to 20 percent.

“Ads targeted through the Yahoo! Creative bring users to the site for direct purchases (where applicable), or to more information, coupons, or promotions,” explains Fadner.

Manufacturers appear to be gaining greater targeting capabilities and accountability for their promotion spending. Retailers will gain some sales from these new promotions but, in the process, may see their promotion budgets decline as dollars are gradually redirected to this and other more effective and accountable marketing channels.

Moderator’s Comment: Are initiatives like Consumer Direct simply a distraction for manufacturers and an annoyance
to supermarkets? Can supermarkets offer superior alternatives to these outside-the-store target marketing programs to keep promotion dollars from joining the supermarket-metrics-in-decline

Supermarkets with loyalty programs have been doing little with the purchase histories they have collected on tens of millions of shoppers. That’s a lot
of untapped personalized marketing potential.

Like the Georgia-Pacific online marketing initiative I commented on a few weeks ago, this is another example of major manufacturers’ willingness to invest
in getting the right messages into the hands of the right shoppers. However, the fact that they are not partnering with supermarkets to execute these programs is disconcerting.
Supermarkets could and should offer superior personalized marketing services for the benefit of their shoppers, their CPG partners and their topline sales.

John Hennessy – Moderator

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