Shopper Communication, Knowledge Bank Blog, Range & Portfolio

Being Intentional

On 23rd July 2006 Tiger Woods won the 135th Open Golf Championship at Royal Hoylake.

That he won wasn’t a surprise. It was his 11th major win in 9 years. What was a surprise, is how he did it.

Across 4 days and 72 holes Woods didn’t use his driver off the tee.

Woods had arrived at Hoylake the weekend before the Championship. He headed out for his first practice round. According to his long time coach, Hank Haney, it took just two holes to figure out his strategy.

Haney said, “once we saw there were bunkers on both sides of the fairways and if you got in them, you would probably be chipping out sideways, we knew the only thing to do was to play short of them.”

So, Woods decided he would only hit irons off the tee.

During the Championship Woods often found himself 70 yards behind his playing partners, who often chose to hit drivers. But crucially, he didn’t find himself in a single fairway bunker all week.

Woods restricted himself to irons. Then focused on striking the ball as cleanly as possible.

So cleanly that after the final round his caddie, Steve Williams, pulled a piece of paper from his back pocket. On it he had written a list of the shots Woods had hit that did not meet their definition of being perfectly struck.

There were only 3 shots on the list. Out of 270.

Woods was intentional. He had a clear plan. He brilliantly executed the plan. Then left Hoylake with another major win.

Why are we talking about this? In our industry we are busy doing a lot of things. We do many of these things because we can do them.

You can launch new products. So you launch them. You can run more promotions. So you run them. You can develop new marketing campaigns. So you develop them.

Some of these things work. You hit the driver and your ball sails over the bunker.

But many of them don’t. You hit the driver and go straight in the bunker.

Often the more things don’t work, the more things you do. You have a gap to fill. So you launch more new products. Run more promotions. Change the marketing campaign.

To have control of the outputs you need to have control of the inputs.

You need to be more intentional. And the more intentional you are, the more intentional shoppers will be when considering your product.

So, how can you do this?

Being intentional about WHAT you want shoppers to buy. This is about being clear which categories, sub categories, product types or formats you want shoppers to buy. Then directing their attention to those products. You can do this through range – are enough of these products in the range? You can do it through space – are these products getting enough shelf space? Plant based is a great example of this. Low & no alcohol is another. Sainsbury’s spotlighting of new products is another.

Shoppers rarely go to you. You need to go to them.

Being intentional about WHY you want shoppers to buy you. This is about giving shoppers a clear reason to buy the category or brand. It is about focusing on ONE thing. Saying something that matters to shoppers. It is about saying it in a distinctive way – ideally saying something only you can say. It is about saying it in the simplest way you can. Saying it in a consistent way.

The more you tell shoppers WHY they should buy you the more they will buy you for that reason.

Being intentional about WHEN you want shoppers to use you. This is about having a clear occasion for your product. If you’re a mouthwash it might be “use after brushing.” If you’re a chewing gum it might be “have after eating.” If you’re a snack it might be “perfect for lunchboxes.” If you’re a meal solution it could be “Fajita Fridays” – think Old El Paso. If you’re a meat it could be “midweek meal in minutes.”

Tell shoppers WHEN to use you and they are much more likely to use you then. In fact they are much more likely to use you full stop.

Being intentional about HOW you want shoppers to use you. This is about making sure shoppers know how to use your product. If you’re a dry shampoo it might be showing that you spray it on dry hair. If you’re a herb & spice it might be about recipes or pairings. Waitrose “Perfect Pairings” is a great example of this at the moment. It could be about core usage occasions – e.g. Colman’s “meat needs mustard.” Or it could be about extending occasions – e.g. “spice up your mash.”

Whatever you do, make it easy. The easier you are to use, the more likely shoppers are to use you.

Shoppers will do more of what you tell them to do. So, you need to be clear what you want them to do. Be intentional. Then so will they.

By the way, the story at the start wasn’t strictly true. Woods did use his driver once. On the 16th hole in his first round. Guess where the ball ended up?

Yep, that’s right… in the bunker.

Feel free to forward. Have a great weekend. Speak to you in fortnight.