Match Marketing Group: Spotting opps to influence shoppers

Finding opportunities for brands to understand and influence shoppers along that journey is where Match Marketing Group comes in.
PepsiCo's Pure Leaf natural brewed iced tea was introduced last year via tasting booths in high-traffic locations across the country.

PepsiCo’s Pure Leaf natural brewed iced tea was introduced last year via tasting booths in high-traffic locations across the country.

The path to purchase is no longer a straight line and it’s not really a path, it’s a maze with every shopper taking a different route. Finding opportunities for brands to understand and influence shoppers along that journey is where Match Marketing Group comes in.

Mike Duncan, managing partner of Match MG, says, “The old days of making a list once a week and heading to your neighbourhood grocery store to do a mammoth shop are gone. Now it’s occasion based – from ‘just in time’ to replenishment, from stock-up to grab-a-deal to pleasure hunt. Understanding the triggers in the pre-shop, shop and post-shop phases, and the vital role digital plays, is crucial to influencing behaviour.

Shopper marketing has historically taken an idea created by an ad agency and then supported it through PR, advertising or in-store. Match MG has turned the process upside down by starting from the store out rather than the top down. The results are ideas that work for the retailer, the brand and the shopper.

“That purchase decision is going to be influenced differently and at different times for everybody,” says Duncan. “Our job is to ensure that the right message at the right time gets to the right person in the right format – whether through mobile, at store level, or brand interaction through events or consumer intercepts.”

It seems to be working. With more than 600 full-time staff and 7,000 merchandisers through its seven offices in Norwalk, Boston, Boulder, Bentonville, Baltimore, Toronto and Montreal, the agency tripled in size from 2012 to 2014 and currently has revenue in excess of $250 million. Clients include PepsiCo, Mars, Ford/Lincoln, L’Oreal, Novartis, Adidas, Heineken, Campbell’s Soup and BIC.

Match’s end-to-end marketing begins with insights from the agency’s insights team led by Liz Crawford, a consumer behaviour analyst and author of the book, The Shopper Economy.

The insights team handles analytics and strategy and is charged with understanding the trends at retail, consumer behaviour, staying abreast of digital changes, and tapping into what’s next for shopper marketing.

Duncan says, “We like to say that we’re the ‘first to recognize’ what’s changing, what are the insights, so we can ensure our creative teams are powered by the right information as they develop their ideas and then execute to take those ideas right through to the end.”

The Ford Fiesta Movement put 100 cars in the hands of young bloggers, videographers and online content creators.

The Ford Fiesta Movement put 100 cars in the hands of young bloggers, videographers and online content creators.

Insights brought the agency to the realization that television wasn’t needed to effectively launch the new Ford Fiesta in the US in 2014. The Fiesta Movement put 100 cars in the hands of young bloggers, videographers and online content creators to spread the message about the car well before it was available in showrooms. The campaign sold nearly ten thousand cars prior to launch.

Through social, digital and experiential activation, the campaign allowed consumers to participate in the launch in ways that transcended traditional automobile advertising.

In Canada, Match MG tapped into pet owners’ love of animals and created the Pedigree’s Pet Adoption 2014 program that included a ‘Buy one. Feed two.’ component that helped feed shelter dogs thanks to an upto-$150,000 donation by Pedigree.

And for last year’s launch of PepsiCo’s Pure Leaf natural brewed iced tea, thousands of Canadians were introduced to the new product through tasting booths that popped up across the country, delivering a successful start for the brand by resonating with health-conscious consumers.

“For each challenge that comes your way,” explains Duncan, “the key is to really identify the actionable insights that are going to make a difference, to enable you to communicate the right message at each turn of the maze.”

In addition to insights, Match MG has all the creative resources to build and execute programs for clients or test them to ensure the client can execute them. The agency’s creative capabilities handle branding, advertising, visual merchandising, retail promotion, and branded content. Its experiential division builds consumer intercept programs, brand interactions and events to drive a brand’s equity home with consumers.

Match is not only a marketing agency; it is also a retailer with over 100 WOW! Mobile Boutiques in malls across Canada where it sells several brands of handsets and mobile plans. Duncan says the experience brings some unique advantages in the marketplace.

“Retailers are confident that if we bring them a program, it is executable, because of our strength in retail. Info from the retail and merchandising teams is funneled back up into our insights group as they develop the information we need to power the creative process. The fact that we are a retailer just adds extra insights.”

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