Ghirardelli and its agency, The Smith Brothers, recently ran a series of sampling events, the largest promotion in the brand’s history, distributing 1 million squares of chocolate. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how they determined who to target and at what locations.
To make it all happen, the agency partnered with experiential marketing agency Inspira Marketing, which began a three-month process to find Ghirardelli lovers. First, the agency sent out an e-mail questionnaire from Survey Monkey to 1,000 people to determine heavy users and their unique characteristics.
“The goal was to create an experience with those most likely to become our next brand lovers,” says Jeff Snyder, president of Inspira.
The next step was to send product samples to 24 of those surveyed who best fit the bill. The group was asked to spend the next two weeks keeping a journal about their experiences each time they had a Ghirardelli chocolate. Did they unwrap the sweetness as a reward? A simple afternoon treat?
It was then time for Charlie Jones, president of Brand Intersection Group, to head for Columbus, OH, San Diego, Boston and Washington, DC, where he visited the homes of the 24 participants and conducted in-depth interviews.
The information revealed a consumer model that determined the best places to locate these “leading ladies,” as they were dubbed.
Ten cities were selected: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Finally, with the cities selected, Simmons, a consumer research company and part of Experian, determined how many samples were likely to be needed in each city. For example, Dallas would require about 65,000, but New York would need many more.
“It wasn’t so much finding out what was different about these people, but what was the same,” Snyder says.