The main presentation of the event, produced by the National Confectioners Association (NCA), was given by Dina Howell, worldwide CEO of shopper marketing Saatchi & Saatchi X. During a presentation entitled “Shopper Marketing – Evolving from Category to Solution-Based Strategies,” Howell stressed that making an emotional connection with consumers can help confectionery companies increase their chances of converting browsing shoppers into loyal buyers.
“If you capture someone’s heart,” she said, “you’ll capture their wallet.”
Imparting good feelings
Howell related that research shows 76% of purchasing decisions are made at the shelf. Creating candy products and brands that go beyond making a good impression to impart good feelings is key to convincing consumers to buy, and ensure loyalty.
Before a product can connect with consumers, Howell advised, candy manufacturers must lay the groundwork in three basic areas:
- Knowing the market and culture: Howell said that a product launch that works well with British consumers will be received differently in the Middle East, for example.
- Knowing the retailer: Understanding the environment in which products will be presented for sale is crucial, she said.
- Knowing the shopper: People browsing the aisles of a market in Maine will have different needs than folks in Texas, Howell said; candy brands should craft their marketing plans accordingly.
In another keynote segment, Leon Nicholas, senior vice president of retail insights for Kantar Retail, discussed “The Future of Retail - Implications for the Snack and Confectionery Industry.” Nicholas offered up pointers on building up a candy company’s talent and structure to help improve its position.
Nicholas pointed out that connecting with consumers in the all-important, up-and-coming “Generation Y” demographic (people born anywhere from the 1980s to the early 2000s), and hiring talent that understands the mindset of that generation, increases a confectionery company’s chances of sustained growth.
“The world is changing,” he said. “We have to change with it to survive.”
Key advice Nicholas offered:
- Invest in product development and marketing that seeks to truly innovate, not just follow what everyone else is doing.
- Shift resources to ensure the best impact in stores and online.
- Retool market research to hit multi-channel shopper insights.
- Balance your internal talent mix between technical and verbal.
- Encourage staff from different departments to work together, in order to cross-fertilize ideas and maximize product potential.