Blog: En La Oficina
Community – Focusing on the "sweet spot"
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Marie Quintana, SVP Multicultural Sales at PepsiCo. For the past few years, Marie has been overseeing the entire PepsiCo portfolio in a multicultural sales capacity and, as such, interfaces with a number of retailers and brand teams. The first thing that came to mind as I had this opportunity to speak with her was the topic of FOCUS. How do you pick? How do you decide where to place your bets when you have such a large portfolio?
As is the case in our industry, deciding points of convergence and divergence will be key…convergence with the general market (GM) strategy and divergence from it. A significant portion of PepsiCo shopper programs are occasion-based; herein lies the convergence with their GM strategy. Just like GM consumers, Latinos have similar occasion-based needs that the PepsiCo portfolio can serve (e.g., breakfast, sports viewing or family celebration). But what is interesting about these occasions is that the tactics may diverge from the general market. In particular, some of the featured brands may be different. For example, Manzanita Sol (a leading apple soda in Mexico and with U.S. Hispanics), as opposed to Pepsi, may be the feature in a multi-brand Celebration occasion as opposed to Pepsi in the GM.
But beyond focusing on the right brand(s), what is more important is focusing on the right cause. For Hispanic-focused retailers that is pretty simple: the local community. Retailers get it. They get it because they are closer to their target than most of us. The rationale for the rise and growth of the independent channel is simple—it fills a void in the community. And in filling this void, retailers not only sell products, but are very savvy at picking and supporting local community causes (schools, community centers, etc.). This had been going on for years before cause-related marketing went mainstream. Successful Hispanic shopper programs need to factor this in. Want retailer buy-in? Focus on what is important to the retailer and develop a win-win program.
Marie's advice to marketers is to make sure they EXPERIENCE the community. And you can't experience the community through a powerpoint. Go to a store's grand opening, meet with community leaders, look at the churches. Too often marketers get caught up in strategy decks and meetings, and fail to see the forest for the trees. Innovative Hispanic programs can come through this discovery, and Marie fondly recalls launching a shuttle service from church to the grocery stores.
Her advice to young marketers? Get out there and do an immersion—get to know the players and the community.
What's working? Social media and cell phone tactics: SMS programs are very effective, particularly when tied in with community influencers such as DJs.
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