CINCINNATI -- Procter & Gamble here plans to use its "S" Magazine for a relationship-building e-marketing initiative linked to a major Midwest supermarket retailer's loyalty-card program.
"S" magazine will be emailed to a large group the retailer's frequent shoppers sometime this month or next, Darcy Raymond, brand manager, global interactive marketing, P&G, told Brand Marketing. Raymond declined to name the retailer, except to say that it's innovative and Internet-savvy. He also wouldn't reveal the exact number of recipients, saying only that it will be "numerous."
"We want to test the opportunities of co-marketing 'S' Magazine with a retailer and measure the in-store sales lift potential," Raymond said.
Located on the Web at s-mag.com, the magazine is an e-newsletter designed to "simplify everyday living." It includes offers for coupons and samples, along with stories that focus on such areas as home and garden; mind, body and soul; food and wine; and family. Featured P&G brands rotate on a monthly basis and cut across multiple P&G units. The Holiday 2001 issue, for instance, included an offer to get $3 off Crest Whitestrips, a tooth-whitening kit.
A unique component to the magazine is that it promotes noncompeting brands from companies other than P&G. The 2001 Holiday issue plugged Sprint, and Spiegel and Shape magazines. It even gave consumers a chance to win a $500 online shopping spree and $500 for their favorite school through a promotion with General Mills' Box Tops for Education.
Under the upcoming retail test, the newsletter will be co-branded for P&G and the retailer, though it will be customized to the look, feel and personality of retailer. It will promote four of five P&G brands, including Pampers, Bounty, Olay and Iams. It also will spotlight external brands.
The retailer will choose what those external brands will be.
Like traditional "S" Magazine e-mailings, it will include offers for samples and coupons. A sweepstakes may also be involved.
The goal of the program is to build a relationship with the retailer and its customers.
"We want to improve the consumer's life so that she'll feel closer to the retailer and more compelled to buy some of our brands and categories," said Raymond.
While this is the first time P&G has linked the magazine with a supermarket, it probably won't be the last. Depending on results of the test, P&G hopes to work with other retailers as well, Raymond said.
"It's critical for marketers to work with retailers," Raymond said, pointing out that retailers are the ones who have the relationship with and trust of the consumer.
When asked about the challenges of creating such a program, Raymond said P&G needed to meet the retailer's needs. At the same time, it needed to prove to the retailer that it wasn't out to get its valuable customer data.
"We don't want to steal their customers; just talk to them," Raymond said. "We have no interest in converting them to our database."
Along with its U.S. distribution, the magazine was just launched in Canada, and is being tested in Sweden and Japan. In the future, Raymond said P&G might consider launching an offline version in the form of a direct-mail piece.