CPGmatters: Diageo Commits to Shopper Marketing
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is
a summary of a current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.
three years ago, Diageo began making a commitment to proactively working with
its retailer-customers on a number of shopper marketing programs. That commitment
particularly involved better understanding how consumers actually shopped the
spirits category in the store.
"People are on autopilot when they’re
shopping for, maybe, bread or other grocery staples," Shawn Fitzgerald,
Diageo’s director of
shopper planning, told CPGmatters. "But [spirits] are a more engagement-oriented
shopper experience, more similar to personal- or beauty-care items. It’s
more fun. So the insights that are driving our strategies and activations in
the store are really around how do we tap into the state of mind that the consumer
Delving into its customer base, the owner of Guinness, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan
and other spirits brands was also surprised to find out that women are the
primary shoppers for spirits and liquors, not men. Further, while notable occasions
— New Year’s Eve, etc. — were certainly big drivers of liquor sales,
it found consumers’ definition of an "occasion" was much looser and
more casual than imagined previously.
"We had a tendency to focus on the big events," explained Mr.
the reality is that those occasions are the minority. There are a lot of other,
more frequent occasions that happen throughout the year, and tapping into shoppers
for those occasions is a bigger opportunity."
Like what? Informal get-togethers
with friends, maybe even spontaneous ones, on the front porch or patio, or
hosting a Thursday-evening party. "It
that we didn’t understand those were going on," Mr. Fitzgerald
we reframed our thinking about how to focus on more year-round events.
"It sounds simple after the fact, but it’s actually a very powerful
change and transformation in our thinking."
Harnessing those shopper insights,
Diageo has been developing, among other things, a "Simply Cocktails" merchandising
The idea is simple: Create a display and merchandising area for
retailers where shoppers are drawn into curiosity about making cocktails out
of Diageo spirits brands and complementary products. "Our insight was
that cocktails are appealing to people, but there is an intimidation factor
if they’re making
cocktails for themselves or others," Mr. Fitzgerald said. "Anything
we could do to make that easier or less intimidating would help."
Diageo displays have a "Simply Cocktails" banner and, in their
fully deployed mode, three adjacent displays of different types of spirits,
soft drinks and other complementary products. Each of these displays comprises
a particular "level
of difficulty" for shopper who wants to make cocktails. "Ready/Pour" is
one, "Simple Mix" is the next step up, and "Easy Shake" is
the highest level.
"’Easy Shake’ is the most complicated, but even it is relatively
easy to do," Fitzgerald said. "The idea is to provide different
solutions to help people with different types of occasions or different levels
of sophistication" in
Tests of the Simply Cocktails concept with selected retailers
showed an average 11 percent return across the Diageo brands involved. And
Mr. Fitzgerald said that the company is looking for "directionally consistent" results
at its retailer partners as more test and roll out the concept.
Discussion Questions: What lessons can marketers draw from Diageo’s new shopper marketing approach? Do you see this level of in-store involvement with consumers working in other categories besides spirits?