By: Sam Velonis
I recently stumbled across an article analyzing some of the unusual marketing tactics being used by Canadian grocery giant Metro. Within the article, author Chris Powell discusses Metro’s unorthodox marketing mix and explains why these bizarre advertising and promotion ideas are turning out to be rather successful.
Metro was the first and only grocery store to sponsor the World MasterCard Fashion Week in Toronto. To many, this may seem like a strange choice for Metro because fashion and food do not have much in common. However, sponsoring this event lined up perfectly with one of the company’s main missions to stand out with its advertising and promotion.
Metro didn’t stop there. The company went on to sponsor events like singles night, where single shoppers tied a red ribbon to their carts, and even offered a free movie screening in the parking lot of the Liberty Village store in downtown Toronto. The company hopes to rebrand itself by establishing a new reputation among its younger shoppers.
This all ties back to integrated marketing communications simply because marketing managers are continuously striving to communicate to potential customers through promotion. By sponsoring and hosting these types of events, Metro is able to communicate to its target audience by standing out and being unique. It is said that advertising and sales promotion are not typically personal in nature. It is interesting to see how Metro can have this type of connection with so many individuals all because of a few creative people that developed and revamped the company’s marketing mix.
These initiatives work to differentiate Metro from its competitors in an extremely saturated grocery market. With grocery chains offering nothing but cookie-cutter loyalty rewards programs it is certainly important to try to stand out from the crowd. In-store events and activities like the ones offered by Metro are a great way to help generate customer loyalty and spark an increase in business.
I would be interested in taking a look at the numbers after the implementation of these new marketing activities. I can see how a free movie night would be an enjoyable event to go to with the family and how a single shoppers night might make for a good laugh and experience but I am curious to see if there is any type of positive correlation between these events and sales. One would like to think that taking part in an event like singles night at a grocery store would make a customer more likely to shop at Metro in the future, but is this actually the case? Are these programs as successful as they appear? It is still too soon to find out, but I predict that over time Metro will see astounding results.
Nancy Modrcin, Senior Director of Marketing at Metro says, “When you’re introducing yourself to somebody new, you want to connect with them in a personal and relevant way,” and in my opinion Metro is doing a fantastic job at this. It is easy to see why these events are popular among shoppers. It just goes to show that sometimes it pays to be different and pays to think outside the box.