Creating “Mini-Events” for Holidays + Celebrating Female Leadership | Recap from the Path to Purchase Expo

Creating “Mini-Events” for Holidays + Celebrating Female Leadership | Recap from the Path to Purchase Expo

I attended a shopper marketing conference and trade show, the Path to Purchase Expo, by the Path to Purchase Institute for the first time this year. It was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the first week of October and was attended by a lot of big consumer packaged good (CPG) brands, retailers, creative agencies, and technology service providers. The likes of retailers such as Walmart and Kroger, brands like Coca-Cola and The Clorox Co. and service providers like Volta and Aha!ogy were there. I noticed a few from the natural products industry – Organic Valley and the Fair Trade Association. There were a few from the meat industry as well – Hormel, Superior Farms (lamb) and the American Lamb Board.

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I’ve been reading the Path to Purchase Institute’s trade publication, Shopper Marketing Magazine, for years, - I’ve even had my work featured in it before, but this was my first time attending one of their conferences and I’m glad I went. I attended mostly because I want to learn – learn what big CPG brands and mass retailers are doing to understand and connect with shoppers, both from a research and shopper marketing perspective.

While there, I also participated in the inaugural When Women Lead Symposium made up of other female leaders who work in shopper marketing. Helping to promote female leadership in my industry (the natural products industry) is naturally something I’m an advocate of. As a female entrepreneur and thought leader, I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to share my expertise with companies around the world on the topic of marketing to women.

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 Lisa of Green Purse PR participating in the When Women Lead Symposium. Photo source: Path to Purchase Expo.

Lisa of Green Purse PR participating in the When Women Lead Symposium. Photo source: Path to Purchase Expo.

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I’ve had the opportunity to work with several clients that have female CEOs and leadership. In fact, nearly all of the clients Green Purse PR has worked with have excellent track records (in my opinion) of valuing the opinions of women and ensuring their voices are heard, recognized and celebrated at the highest levels.

One of the female leaders that immediately come to mind is Dalene Wray of OBE Organic, a leading organic, grassfed beef company from the Outback of Australia. Dalene works in a male-dominated industry – agriculture and meat, but is continuously ‘kicking glass’ as we like to say. She’s become one of the most recognized female voices in Australian agriculture and is now sought out and awarded for her unique expertise by Government and industry bodies. It’s not uncommon to find Dalene on a speaker panel or in a working group at an industry event in Australia, Hong Kong, New York City or Saudi Arabia where she is the only female on the stage sharing her voice. In addition to sharing her own voice in a big way, Dalene is a champion for others – for other women (like me,) for promoting diversity in general within Australian agriculture and also reconciliation for indigenous peoples of Australia. In fact, OBE Organic was one of the first Australian agribusinesses to adopt a Reconsilation Action Plan, a plan to create social change and economic opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through relationships, respect and opportunities.

Even though the CPG industry as a whole is mostly ran by men at the upper levels, we’re seeing more and more women take up leadership roles. I’m happy to have connected with a group of women and men here in the USA who are dedicated to helping create, encourage and celebrate female leadership across CPG, retail, and in my case, shopper marketing and the natural products industry.

Finally, I do want to share a few key takeaways that I learned from the conference portion of the Expo from my unique #GetInHerCart perspective.

I’m a big fan of using holidays (major holidays and even the so called made up marketing holidays) and seasons as a basis for planning your shopper marketing activities, in places like social media and inside stores. Some folks from Mars Wrigley Confectionery gave a presentation focused on the Halloween holiday and how to think of it in terms of several “mini events” in an effort to stretch out the season and create more purchase opportunities.

You may be tempted to think of some holidays as just a one-day events, but in reality most holidays are made up of several mini events that we can leverage in our shopper marketing. For example, Mars shared a case study for the current, 2018 Halloween season that’s in market right now. Companies like Mars are launching their Halloween shopper marketing campaigns as early as August now.

How many mini events can you think of for the Fall/Halloween season? Turns out, there’s a lot and some depend upon age and life phase. For example, to connect with parents of young children around Halloween season, here are just a few of the “mini events” (and buying opportunities) you can build shopper marketing around:

  • Home decorating (for fall and then again for Halloween) – 2 encouraging people to have the best house on the block.

  • Pumpkin picking.

  • Booing (and also the adult version, “boozing.”)

  • Costume hunting.

  • Trick or treating.

  • School parties.

  • Neighborhood parties (suburban.)

  • At-home parties (pizza is super popular.)

My favorite from this list is booing. If you’re located in the USA and live in a suburban area + have young children, you might know about this. The case study that Mars shared indicated that just 7% of Americans currently participate in booing. For retailers located in suburban areas, this is a ripe opportunity just waiting to be picked.

 My house just got booed this week!

My house just got booed this week!

 Some Halloween merchandising I noticed recently at a Whole Foods Market

Some Halloween merchandising I noticed recently at a Whole Foods Market

Here are some ways that retailers can connect with parents in suburban areas around the mini event of booing.

  • In-store shopper marketing like end caps that invite shoppers to boo their neighbors. For a limited time, curate a special selection of products ideal for booing – boo bags, tags, candy. Because you usually only boo a few houses (we do two) and because you’re likely to boo peoples’ homes that you know well, you can encourage better quality, more expensive candy for these, than candy given out in much larger amounts for trick or treating.

  • Educational signage that offers guidance on booing, why to do it and what to include in your boo bag.

  • Host a Halloween prep in-store event one weekend sampling healthier candy and sweets options + educate on fun ways for families to celebrate the season.

  • Website landing page and accompanying social media and email marketing driving people to a site all about making their boo bag the best on the block.

In fact, Green Purse PR creates an annual list of holidays, specifically for food companies. It’s called our Holidays List for Food Marketing. It’s a social media planning resource we created for the first time for 2018 and we just released our 2019 edition. Click here to download our 15-page list of holidays for food marketing.

 Halloween merchandising at The Market inside The Twitter Building, San Francisco, California

Halloween merchandising at The Market inside The Twitter Building, San Francisco, California

 Target’s Halloween section, Hyde and Eek!

Target’s Halloween section, Hyde and Eek!

 Teal Pumpkin Project for Halloween at Target

Teal Pumpkin Project for Halloween at Target

 Halloween signage at Target

Halloween signage at Target

 Lisa of Green Purse PR meeting with exhibitors at the show. Photo source: Path to Purchase Expo.

Lisa of Green Purse PR meeting with exhibitors at the show. Photo source: Path to Purchase Expo.

 Lisa of Green Purse PR listening to one of the workshops. Photo source: Path to Purchase Expo.

Lisa of Green Purse PR listening to one of the workshops. Photo source: Path to Purchase Expo.

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- Lisa Mabe-Konstantopoulos, Founder, Green Purse PR