Grocery Outlet has been a tradition for bargain-seeking customers since 1946, when founder Jim Read began purchasing military surplus after World War II and sold it at huge discounts. Today, Grocery Outlet is a third-generation family run business, recognized as the nation’s largest grocery extreme-value retailer. Headquartered in Berkeley, California, Grocery Outlets are found in cities large and small, serve all kinds of neighborhoods, and are independently operated by locally based families. Any marketing campaign must not only consider corporate goals, but also benefit the needs of the store operators and the neighborhoods they serve.
Grocery Outlet knew that Facebook fans represented a majority of their shoppers’ demographics. Yet previous attempts at social media ad campaigns did little to engage customers and in the end, proved to be not much more than an expensive experiment. Grocery Outlet set marketing goals to increase Facebook fans to 100,000 Likes, and collect email addresses for future campaigns for each of the 162 stores in 6 Western states. But what marketing effort would work this time?
“For our customer demographic, Facebook had marketing potential for Grocery Outlet, but we couldn’t make it work,” Melissa Porter, vice president of marketing for Grocery Outlet told CBS News reporter Bill Whitaker during a CBS Evening News segment on social media marketing. “And it wasn’t easy to figure out on our own.”
Grocery Outlet launched a sweepstakes campaign, and turned to Webtrends to help the chain meet its social media marketing goals. Webtrends created an app to deploy across each of the 162 Grocery Outlet Facebook pages. This would allow for every Facebook page to have its own presence within the sweepstakes.
To engage customers not on Facebook, Webtrends created a similar sweepstakes app for Grocery Outlet’s web page. To increase exposure, several of the markets set up an in-store computer so their customers could enter the Sweepstakes during a shopping trip.
Webtrends used zip codes as geographical targets in order to hit the appropriate locations for the ads. In addition, Facebook ads were designed and targeted to seven consumer personas, each created from digital intelligence gathered across social media channels. Creating personas was extremely important to the success of the campaign, as it helped get quality fans to the Facebook pages.
Webtrends developed separate Facebook ads to send consumers directly to the Facebook page of the nearest Grocery Outlet store, creating exposure to all 162 pages. Each store’s campaign ads were rotated every three days, and different images and messages were tested.
The campaign, which began on May 1 and ended on May 31, far exceeded key performance indicators. Grocery Outlet saw Facebook Likes increase from 73,000 to more than 130,000, a 76 percent increase in just one month, and 30,000 more than the stated goal of 100,000 Likes.
Click-through-rate on Facebook page post ads targeting non-fans of Grocery Outlet was .51 percent, more than 10 times the average click-through- rate of .05 percent. The campaign had more than 313,000 views and 213,000 engagements on the application, which led to 85,000 sweepstakes submissions (and email addresses). And one more benefit: they saw a significant increase in customers coming into the stores.
“Webtrends gave us a deep understanding of our relationships in the social marketing landscape and made Facebook advertising and engagement pay off,” said Porter.