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Updated: 09/20/2012 08:01:46AM

Shopper marketing results vague

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After spending a year in shopper marketing Florida Department of Citrus commissioners heard an update on what the agency has accomplished. Though the marketing department expected some results after this period of time, there were not many to report.

But, they were told they are reaching some conclusions and getting somewhere positive.

“We hoped for quick results at that time and were led to think it would be easier,” said Leigh Killeen, deputy executive director of domestic marketing. “No one has been more disappointed than I have been, or the team has been, that this is taking so long. You’ve been patient but we’ve worked real hard to create a measure for these programs and we know what’s important.”

In his presentation to commissioners, Qaisar Shareef, a senior vice president at MARS Advertising Inc., with 26 new programs the shopper marketing program – which uses in-store promotions, online and social media to reach those doing the shopping, orange juice sales increased last year by $1.96 for every dollar spent and in grapefruit sales rose 10 cents per every dollar spent.

Now, he says, research into what works and what doesn’t and where to head is the direction to take. In-store promotions where shoppers are reminded of sales and partnerships, like the agreement it had with Jimmy Dean sausage on Father’s Day that included a coupon, worked well. Online and social media aspects did not work as well.

“The best programs are pre-store and post store elements,” he said. “There was something in the store that jogged their memory again. They would leave the store with the need to come back again.”

He added, “Where the program had a reliance on digital and not focused in the store didn’t do as well.”

Shareef spent nearly 30 years with Proctor and Gamble before joining MARS about a year ago.

He said currently there is about a $3 return on the shopper marketing program and he’s looking for $4-$6, though that may not be a realistic goal for a single product as opposed to an overall set of products.

The return in sales didn’t look so great to Commissioner Michael Haycock who said, “We spent $3 million to get $5 million in sales. That’s doesn’t look great to me.”

Shareef said things could get better. “The extent that we are learning from this is not giving the return we want now.”

He also pointed out that what they are doing is looking at juice sales; fruit sales are not included.

“We may be missing part of this,” he said. “I think we will go back and look at grapefruit, too, and learn more how to read it.”

The effort to help the industry further was pushed by a report from Bob Norberg, the deputy executive assistant director for the FDOC, who said sales have continued to decline and citrus prices are near the highest they’ve been.

Total retail sales in the United States up until Aug. 4 show a
6.6 percent decrease with the average price at $6.36 per gallon. That’s down a little from $6.40 that was reported in July, he said. The sales of NFC – not from concentrate – juice went up 0.5 percent . Reconstituted orange juice sales are closer to last year’s price, but sales are not being recognized by the consumers, the data shows.

Grapefruit juice sales have dropped 9.3 percent on a $6.99 per gallon average price, he said.