In just four weeks, the integrated marketing campaign increased sales 5.8%, significantly above the 3% campaign goal, and also showed a positive increase for the first time in many months. In fact, Charlotte was lagging behind much of the rest of the country prior to the campaign, but by the end was the best performing region in the U.S.
The test market, which took place from mid-September to mid-October, included television, print and digital advertising, an educational consumer website (www.AlwaysOmega3s.com), targeted public relations, billboard ads and retail store activation.
The omega-3 coalition also completed two separate consumer surveys before and after the campaign in Charlotte. Based on the results, an estimated 28,000-61,000 new users came into the omega-3 category specifically because of the campaign. The market research team also analyzed the pricing structure in Charlotte and other geographic markets during the month and determined the increase in sales was not driven by discounts or sales promotions.
The campaign in Charlotte also benefited all types of EPA and DHA oils, including 18:12 (30%) fish oil, concentrates and krill oil, with sales growing an average of 2.2-2.6% per week throughout the campaign. By contrast, these same oils declined throughout the rest of the country.
Now that the proof of concept has been established, the coalition will be rolling out a national campaign in early 2015. Armed with information from the Charlotte test market, the coalition feels confident that it can amplify the consumer messaging and impact on a national scale.
“This is an exciting time in the omega-3 business,” said Adam Ismail, executive director of GOED and part of the coalition Steering Committee. “The Charlotte campaign showed that we can reverse the market decline by coming together as an industry, and going forward, we welcome the participation of everyone, from suppliers to brands to brick-and-mortar retailers, with a stake in the EPA and DHA business.”