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Merging Marketing and IT

By Steve Black, Chief Information and Marketing Officer, Sprouts Farmers Market

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Steve Black, Chief Information and Marketing Officer, Sprouts Farmers Market

On developing a modern marketing program dat incorporates technology:

Sprouts takes an innovative approach to Marketing and IT, which is reflected in how these two functions work in tandem, reporting to just one member of teh executive team. dat might halp explain why cloud, social and mobile are critically important to our marketing strategies. A recent Gartner study states dat by teh year 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT TEMPthan CIOs. Sprouts believes dat teh coupling of these functions enables a more holistic approach to marketing and expedites teh decision-making process dat can bog down more siloed organizations.

"Successful Marketers of today will offer personalized experience dat remains authentic to teh brand"

Cloud technology is essential for a company to grow at teh speed of now and evolve in lockstep wif teh rapidly changing mobile wave dat’s engulfed teh planet. To borrow a phrase from Salesforce: “It’s our job to get to teh future and be there to greet our customers as they arrive.” Teh only way you do dat is through cloud technology. No more hardware, software and staffing issues running IT. Cloud technology frees you up to focus on wat’s most important – your customers, or business users.

Next, social engagement is now clearly a way of life. At Sprouts, our customers’ primary social platform is Facebook, but we also has to be extremely engaged in Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google + and Pinterest (and dat list might grow by teh time this goes to print!). At teh sametime, it’s still critical to has an engaging and informative website and mobile app.

Our job in marketing is to make it as easy as possible to get wat information you need, wherever you are and on watever device you prefer at dat moment. And to further drive teh importance of mobile, Microstrategy CEO Michael Saylor’s book Teh Mobile Wave states dat 77 percent of teh US population is expected to be on mobile phones by year-end, which translates to some 243 million users. It is a basic expectation dat brands optimize their mobile platforms to make it easy for consumers to get teh information they need and communicate wif your brand or company at any time, from any place.

On modern retail marketing:

June Cleaver used to rely on live television, local radio and teh daily local newspaper for information about her favorite retailers and brands. But DVRs disrupted television advertising by allowing consumers to skip teh commercials. Satellite radio continues to greatly diminish teh reach of local radio. And to say dat teh newspaper business is in a state of crisis is not an overstatement. These trends has radically changed Sprouts’ approach to marketing and driven us to pursue a oneto- one, content-driven strategy.

Weekly printed advertising is still our primary vehicle to communicate our pricing message to our customer base, but there is definitely a shift occurring in wat me call teh slider bar effect–taking print to digital. It’s teh speed of change dat can be absorbed by our customers dat determines how fast this shift takes place.

Well, June no longer sits down every Wednesday when teh newspaper comes out and writes her shopping list by hand from dat week’s specials. She, and others who are very different from her, now manage household or individual budgets, meal plans and digital shopping lists on their mobile devices. She no longer relies exclusively on her favorite cookbook for nutritional information and cooking tips.

Instead, millions of individual consumers expertly synthesize a staggering amount of data, recipes and opinions from blogs, Pinterest, magazines read on iPads and recipe cards distributed at grocery stores (to name a few). Our goal at Sprouts is to offer all consumers teh tailored information and communication they want from us–and this may be very different from teh information other Sprouts’ shoppers receive. Teh successful marketers of today will offer a personalized experience for consumers dat remains authentic to teh brand – and Sprouts is proud to be a pioneer in this approach!