Virtual roundtable: Leveraging data to fuel innovation

In the weeks following the Health Innovation Summit, hosted in June by Drug Store News and Mack Elevation in partnership with CVS Health, DSN assembled a virtual panel of suppliers and marketers to discuss the future of health and wellness, how best to address and appeal to the changing needs of today’s younger consumers, driving innovation and more. Find out why these leading health-and-wellness supplier executives and brand marketers are focusing their efforts on digital and social media. 

DRUG STORE NEWS: How is your company thinking differently about the future of health and wellness, and what is your organization doing to better enable your brands to help consumers along their own personal healthcare journeys?

Sharon Glass, SVP of Brand Development, Catalina Marketing: Through the combination of attitudinal and purchase-based studies, we have developed powerful health-and-wellness shopper segmentations that identify shopper profiles by needs and preferences across health, pharmacy, foods and beauty. We have deep insights into consumer purchase behavior, but also understand some of the motivations and influencers behind it. 

We look beyond purchase tendencies to understand how a consumer’s life situations accelerate, amplify or disrupt these tendencies. For example, we can identify a consumer’s adoption of new health habits or how changes in weather conditions will impact buying behavior within a given geographic area. This deeper and more comprehensive knowledge enables us to more relevantly engage each unique consumer along their journey. Our omni-ready marketing performance platform acts and learns at every consumer touchpoint, then activates in real-time to drive health regimens, provide self-care strategies for nutrition and offer solutions to help shoppers manage chronic health conditions and lead healthier lives. 

Andrew Archambault, chief customer officer, nbty: Nature’s Bounty takes a 360-degree approach to supporting an individual’s healthcare journey. There is consistency in our message, from traditional consumer marketing to our shopper marketing efforts, pre-, during and post-shop. 

An enhanced digital marketing focus, social media presence and education and selection support on our brand websites helps consumers find exactly what they are looking for. We understand that our consumers are blending information from multiple sources in making healthcare decisions, and we want to bring clarity to that journey, rather than add noise.  

Kimberly Vigliante, SVP of Sales and Marketing, Nature’s Truth: At Nature’s Truth, we believe that the future of health and wellness is transparency, and that is how we are building our brand as it grows. Health and wellness is no longer limited to traditional vitamins and supplements that were popular with the baby boomer generation. Now, there are a lot more components to health and wellness than ever before. Health and wellness is now about the senses — how you feel, what you put on your skin, how you fuel your body — and items that are better for you overall. With this need for more comes the need for consumers to know what each product is made of. They want to know where ingredients came from, how they are processed and where they are manufactured. 

Consumers now are much more knowledgeable and label-conscious. With information so readily available, consumers tend to do their own research. They know what they want and don’t want to put in their bodies. Many want clean products from a company they can trust. To meet this increasing need, we, as a company, believe in being transparent to the customer through our truth in labeling initiative. Many of our products are non-GMO, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, etc. While we are always on the lookout for emerging trends, we continue searching for only the best ingredients to produce the highest-quality products, including adding organic items to our brand.

Dennis Curran, Chief Customer Officer and VP of U.S. Sales, GSK Consumer Healthcare: We spend a lot of time thinking about the future of health and wellness and how we will stay ahead of consumers’ ever-changing needs. Whether those needs relate to how she shops, where she shops or what information she is evaluating before she shops, we have an obligation to meet those needs. 

This notion is so important to us that we designed a suite of labs right in our U.S. headquarters. Our Shopper Science Lab, Consumer Sensory Lab and R&D Lab are positioned to work together in real-time to create and test products and concepts that are designed to make consumers’ lives better. 

Carol Carrozza, VP of Marketing for North American Sexual Wellness, Ansell: LifeStyles discovered an insight in recent years around what we believe is the ‘missing piece’ of sexual health marketing — thought leadership and service/advice. We are no longer just marketing a product; [we] now support products with best-in-class thought leadership, [and are] able to recommend products for specific consumers and design products based on changing consumer needs. 

Delivery also is a fundamental requirement in the sexual wellness space where consumers no longer want to wait for slow, traditional delivery of product that they need now. … We call [this] a distress purchase. So, we are putting plans in place to optimize delivery of products so they’re available when the consumers need them. This is a huge departure in thinking from placing products on a shelf and waiting for consumers to walk by and select; now they can utilize a mobile app to order, and we believe we can deliver within the optimum window. This requires investment, and LifeStyles is looking at the opportunities for leading this change. 

DSN: For years, the focus in health and wellness has been around helping seniors and baby boomers live longer and stay healthy. That’s really still “the present” of health and wellness — but what about the future? What is your company doing to connect to — and make meaningful connections with — millennials and Generation Z? What does health and wellness look like to these younger consumers who not only grew up 100% digital, but who also have much different attitudes and different definitions for what “health and wellness” means compared with the generations that came before them?

Andrew Archambault, nbty: Health and wellness are not mutually exclusive with the next generation. Moreover, ‘health and wellness’ is a preventive, proactive, hip way of living, not necessarily a conscious, defined state for this generation. This preventive and proactively minded group also is well-educated and influential given their comfort level with technology and corresponding quick access to information and people. Additionally, they are also having a cross-generational impact, showing what is possible when you capitalize on the abundance of readily available information in a digital world.

So much is to be gained by engaging with them. They don’t need to be convinced of the benefits of healthful living. At Nature’s Bounty, we emphasize our superior ability to provide what they place value in through our marketing efforts. They want an immediate return on investment, as well as long-lasting benefits on that investment. 

Our marketing efforts include foundational messaging — that the future starts now, a focus on key life elements and the products that will provide immediate benefits [melatonin for sleep, vitamin B and ginseng for energy and vitamin C for immune protection], and communication of “free of” and plant-based superior-sourcing options. Simultaneously, our ability to digitally share these messages through a number of avenues gives us a competitive edge.

Carol Carrozza, Ansell: LifeStyles has always had its sights on the 18- to 34-year-old market segment. They age out very quickly, and so we need to stay abreast of trends and cultural influences that change their preferences and buying behaviors. Millennials were the first generation to materially change the way they buy, and their preferences were truly shaped by peers and influencers. Our approach to educating them on the benefits of good sexual health was cemented in social media, podcasts and cultural places that resonated with their lifestyle. We no longer relied on ‘marketplace’ selling, but rather took a more nuanced approach to providing information they needed and wanted in environments that spoke to their tastes in fashion, music, entertainment and socializing. By focusing on lifestyle websites, podcasts and social platforms, we were able to generate and engage in dialogue that supported millennial tastes and preferences, and also helped us fine-tune our messaging so it was relevant and beneficial to the millennial life. 

Generation Z presents an even more dramatic opportunity to laser focus our message and the media we select. It’s the first generation that doesn’t know what life is like without smartphones — speaking, researching, ordering and meeting through mobile apps is second nature to them. We simply can no longer rely on older forms of communication to reach Gen Z, and focusing only on mobile has changed the way we internalize our messages, mode of communication, language and speed to market. They also have an expectation for the latest technology in products and services, and we have invested greatly in [research and development] to best stay ahead of product trends and consumer tastes for acceptance in the sexual segment.

Sharon Glass, Catalina Marketing: These younger generations are adopting new and different ways to manage their health and wellness. They are more focused on prevention and engaging in a healthier way of life. They don’t want to treat wrinkles after they appear. Instead, they are taking measures to ensure they never appear. Millennials are focused on healthier diets [and ingredients], including gluten-free, vegan, coconut water, protein and clean-label food and beverage products. Consuming biotin for healthier hair and nails, using eye lash growth serums and [getting] Botox [treatments] are all…considered [routine and] a staple among a generation that is making less than Gen X [was] at the same age.

Earlier generations (Boomers) engaged in health and wellness more reactively than proactively. They had high cholesterol, were gaining weight, had low iron, wrinkles or other issues for which they would seek remedies. The trends toward fresh foods and preventive solutions will only continue to rise as new generations enter the market. These changing motivations and preferences will require retailers and brands to be even more granular in their understanding of customers and personalize their marketing and communications. Shoppers are already highly selective in what they buy. Even earlier generations ignore 99.3% of all available products in the store for an entire year. In health and beauty, they ignore 99.8% of products.  

DSN: How is digital and social media changing the way your company communicates with consumers, and how is it impacting brand development, new product introductions and the way you market and promote your brands today versus say five to 10 years ago?

Dennis Curran, GSK Consumer Healthcare: Succeeding in digital is mission-critical. And ‘digital’ can mean something different depending on your area of expertise. In retail, the digital focus might be on e-commerce, while marketing might focus on advertising and social media. 

The work that our marketing team did on the Excedrin Migraine Experience shows that consumers are embracing brands that are seeking to understand them and meet them where they are. In retail, digital and social media allow us to improve shopper engagement through more timely and relevant communications to the right shopper — at the right time, in the right place, with the right message. Working with our retail partners, we are able to build customer segments to whom we can deliver personalized messaging and targeted engagement plans.

These capabilities are positively impacting brand development, as we are able to drive trial and repeat purchase on our brands through targeted engagement supporting both existing brands and our new product innovation. For example, we use social sentiment data to power our Theraflu/The Weather Channel Cold and Flu tracker, gauging spiking incidences and reaching out to those in affected areas with relevant information and offers.

Kimberly Vigliante, Nature’s Truth: Social media has given businesses the opportunity to interact with consumers on a much more personal level. We understand the importance of social media and its advantages. This is why we have a dedicated team focused on all things social media, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.  

By aligning our company with key influencers across social media, we have been able to gather valuable information that is equally as important as an effective marketing tool. We believe this helps us not only grow as a company, but helps us build strong bonds with consumers and build brand loyalty.  

Carol Carrozza, Ansell: LifeStyles invests the majority of its ad and promotional spend in the digital space. Our consumers over-index in the digital space and actually drive the trends, so we need to be sure our messages and our delivery align with their day-to-day behaviors. Everyone checks their smartphone 50 times a day and has many social apps competing for their attention. We utilize listening tools and have ramped up our metrics to monitor [the effectiveness] of calls to action, click-throughs, bounce rates and other measures to manage our 24/7, always-on approach to reaching millennials and Gen Zers. 

We also are able to test new product ideas by creating communities of followers. Much of this feedback has been highly instrumental in developing new ideas, tweaking existing products and furthering in-depth research around product usage, acceptance and unmet consumer needs. We find we’re now working nearly in real-time, as the flow of both outbound and inbound discourse is taking place at phenomenal speed. Ten or even five years ago, product launches had a development timeline of about 24 months on average. Today, that timeline has shrunk to … a few months. … While thought leaders believe speed is more important than perfection today, we have found that it is critical to get the balance right when determining speed to market versus optimal product development. 

Sharon Glass, Catalina Marketing: Catalina enables hyper-targeting and omnichannel media delivery at scale, so our partners can reach and engage consumers with the right ad or offer value when, where and how they want – based on their behaviors and motivations. Our enhanced targeting capabilities enable us to understand a shopper’s motivations: Are they an organic shopper, a gluten-free shopper, a clean-label shopper? We provide a deep view of what brands, categories and attributes a shopper is seeking and purchasing. Our segmented digital offerings reduce marketing waste and subsidization to drive efficiencies. 

DSN: What new consumer insights are your company working on to help your retail partners better optimize the health-and-wellness shopper and win greater share of hearts, minds and wallets?

Carol Carrozza, Ansell: ... At LifeStyles, we’ve spent a great deal of research and time to develop content that may be used by retailers, online dot-coms, and in-store pharmacists at places where consumers are seeking information in a timely manner. The idea that sexual health is uncomfortable or not for the masses is passé. Consumers are asking for product advice and explanations on use and personal care from manufacturers and in-store specialists, and LifeStyles’ goal is to help provide acceptable platforms for messaging to retailers. We are on a mission to include POS signage, education, pamphlets and other scannable material to help educate at the point of sale and drive consumers to purchases based on preferences and needs.

Sharon Glass, Catalina Marketing: Catalina is delivering new innovations and enhancements to our shopper purchasing data and analytics to help retailers and brands reach and engage consumers at a deeper and more motivational level. For example, we are enhancing our data and insights by significantly increasing the product attributes we track and see for every UPC in the store to allow increased granularity around cross-category preferences, [such as] low sugar, high protein, gluten free and others. We are further enhancing our shopper intelligence to more deeply understand motivations and influences behind purchase behavior to relevantly engage each unique shopper on their journey. ... Each touchpoint leverages this holistic consumer knowledge to engage at the opportune moment.

Dennis Curran, GSK Consumer Healthcare: Consumers are shopping and accessing information in increasingly complex ways. Nearly every single need can be met — literally — with a touch of a button. And what influences their decisions has evolved tremendously. When consumers “want it now,” they can get it via same-day delivery, curbside pick-up or even sometimes via drone.

Information is always within reach, as well. ‘Dr. Google’ has given control to consumers who want to manage their own health.

We need to make brands and the shopping experience meet the consumers’ individual needs and not have something that feels like a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.

Andrew Archambault, nbty: Nature’s Bounty recently completed a comprehensive study to understand the consumer’s path to purchase across the entire vitamin and nutritional space. In combination with our consumer segmentation work, we have a deeper understanding of the needs, desires, health attitudes and habits of today’s consumers. We utilize these insights to inform our marketing and product innovation, ensuring we bring the most relevant messaging and health solutions to our consumers.

Kimberly Vigliante, Nature’s Truth: ... The younger generation’s influence on many of the newest trends has led to the rapid expansion of the category and the focus shifting from treatment to self-care. Millennials are taking preventive action concerning their health, and are shopping for products that are clean and conveniently located. ... Our Wellness 360 approach takes advantage of this growth by transforming the vitamin aisle into an overall wellness aisle, providing consumers with a more enhanced wellness experience. With this transformation, the customer no longer needs to go aisle or store hopping because everything they want is in one convenient section. 

... At Nature’s Truth, the one thing that is constant is change, and we continue to implement more testing procedures, qualify new suppliers and develop new technology to meet the growing needs of today’s consumer. 

DSN: Increasingly, consumers are taking a more holistic view of health and wellness, encompassing not just physical needs but also emotional needs and even "financial wellness" -- basically, one's ability to afford the price of healthcare and the impact that has on their overall sense or well-being. With this, how is your company evolving its brand strategy to help consumers "connect the dots" and play a greater role in their health and well-being beyond just selling a product?

Dennis Curran, GSK Consumer Healthcare: We feel strongly in the belief to provide consumers with increasingly better access. In a self-care world, we have a responsibility to help make our consumers’ lives better by providing easy access to the OTCs and medicines they need. This means maintaining a robust pipeline through innovation and switch.  

Take a look at the allergy category, one of the fastest-growing categories in our business over the last several years. The switch of these products from prescription to OTC has been a major reason for the growth in that category.  

Sharon Glass, Catalina Marketing: The need for value to help consumers manage their health care is even more critical today. Healthier foods and vitamins are more expensive than center-store staples, and with increases in healthcare costs consumers cannot afford to be unhealthy. As of Jan. 1, 2011, consumers could no longer use healthcare flexible spending accounts for over-the-counter medicines or drugs without a prescription, contributing to even more out-of-pocket expenses in managing illnesses. Catalina can help its retail and brand partners understand a shopper’s sensitivity to price and deliver special offers and deals to meet those needs. 

Over the past 12 months, Catalina has distributed more than $6 billion in value to U.S. shoppers, [more than] 80% of this was in the health, wellness and beauty categories. At the same time, our ability to understand the motivations behind purchases allows our partners to communicate with shoppers based on their specific needs for diet, health and wellness and remedies to specific illnesses and conditions. 

Andrew Archimbault, nbty: Health and wellness are rooted in our basic needs, those that are physiological and safety-driven. More than 70 years of experience at Nature’s Bounty has made us an authority on quality and providing consumers with products that have integrity. It might seem simple, but it is difficult to attain and uncommon within the industry. By distilling the multitude of health-and-wellness messages out there and combining that with what makes Nature’s Bounty and our brands so unique, we realize it is really just about the fundamentals. Products you can trust, products made well that keep you well. 

DSN: Consumers are more willing to share information with brands and marketers if they believe they will get some kind of value out of that exchange. What is your company doing to create that value to collect those insights and how are you using all of that data to better engage with consumers, create a better shopping experience, and/or to improve product development efforts? 

Kimberly Vigliante, Nature’s Truth: We believe that our effective use of social media has allowed us to gain incremental consumer insight. While we use our social media presence to drive awareness of our brands, it is an effective vehicle to engage with our consumers. We’ve learned new and creative ways that our consumers are using our products; some of these insights have even driven some of our product innovation. We value their opinions and often seek their feedback on our products and brands. While many of our competitors use a more scientific approach when it comes to branding, we’ve had success in connecting with our consumers by keeping their hearts in mind.  

Often, focus groups can end up biased, and we tend not to rely solely on them. Through our website analytics and engagement with our customers on social media, we are able to gain insight and a deeper understanding of consumer behavior. This unbiased information has enabled us to create a better shopping experience for our consumers and differentiate ourselves from other brands.  

Sharon Glass, Catalina Marketing: Catalina is delivering new innovations and enhancements to our shopper purchasing data and analytics to help retailers and brands reach and engage consumers at a deeper and more motivational level. For example, we are enhancing our data and insights by significantly increasing the product attributes we track and see for every UPC in the store to allow increased granularity around cross-category preferences, [such as] low sugar, high protein, gluten free and others. We are further enhancing our shopper intelligence to more deeply understand motivations and influences behind purchase behavior to relevantly engage each unique shopper on their journey.  

Catalina understands not only a shopper’s purchase behavior, but [also] their motivations. The shopping basket tells us about a shopper in a specific category, but by evaluating an individual shopper’s needs and motivations — such as diet and disease needs, natural and organic, sustainability and locally made and premium-quality preferences — we are further enhancing our shopper lens cross-category, combining this understanding with other geographic and demographic data, including age, children, ethnicity, income and neighborhood dynamics. We have strengthened our engagement by including [such] purchase indicators as marketing responsiveness, a client’s proprietary segmentations and where the shopper is in her or his buying cycle. Each touchpoint leverages this holistic consumer knowledge to engage at the opportune moment. 

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