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Mass Connections Thinks Outside the Store

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Shopper marketing, like all forms of media, is no longer defined in the static way it was a few years ago. Social media, online and mobile have all added a new dimension to a marketing discipline formerly noted for cardboard point-of-purchase displays and shelf talkers. At the forefront of this convergence is Mass Connections, a Cerritos, Calif., shopper marketing firm that works with General Mills, Procter & Gamble and Kraft, among others. Caroline Cotten-Nakken, the firm’s founder and CEO, discussed some of these convergence opportunities with Brandweek.

Brandweek: What is cutting edge right now in shopper marketing?
Caroline Cotten-Nakken:
Social networking, online marketing [and] mobile. Those are absolutely hot, hot trends.

BW: How does social networking work with shopper marketing?
CC-N:
We did something different with by tying it to shopper marketing, where there’s some big event that’s going to be happening in store. When the event is happening, we’ll do a pre-empt to build some excitement, but when the actual event happens and everything’s in place—premiums, signage—when that checklist is taken care of at that point, we have a patented system where you can swipe a debit card, enter a PIN and then that activates a promotion and within seconds, that message goes out to all the people who have opted in.

BW: Who have you done this with lately?
CC-N:
We did one with Coty and there was a premium giveaway not only giving away small samples, but also giving a small picture frame. So with the participating stores, we’d have the premium giveaway ready, the samples were ready, everything’s ready and then boom a debit card was swiped at the debit, a PIN was entered and blasts went out to thousands of shoppers that were around those stores telling them right now this is going on.

BW: How does the debit card work? Who’s doing it?
CC-N:
It would be the event person, the person overseeing that promotion. The whole software and system was built on the back-end [of the ATM system]. We hold two patents on this. It can link to in-store radio or TV.

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