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Vericast Back-to-School Survey Finds Parents Eager to Spend

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Back-to-School Outlook Reveals Marketing Strategies to Harness Optimism and Value Mindset
SAN ANTONIO, 

: Vericast, a leading marketing solutions

company that delivers actionable insights and operational expertise at scale,

released its 2021 Back-to-School Outlook today highlighting parent sentiment and the opportunity for retailers to influence purchasing behavior this back-to-school season.

Backed by proprietary data from Vericast’s Valassis line of business, the 2021 Back-to-School Outlook is based on responses from over 800 parents of K–12 or college students. The study indicates that parents are “savvy-pragmatists” energized by the future and eager to spend but looking to shop smart.

Just over half (54%) of parents believe they will spend more on readying children for school. And while 60% of parents are interested in spending more on their children to make the start of this school year special, the impact of challenging economic conditions resulting from a global pandemic is driving a renewed focus on value with a clear desire for deals, discounts and sales year-round.

The study also showed the in-store experience will play an integral part in back-to-school shopping, with the majority of respondents indicating they plan to shop only or mostly in-store for everything from clothing and accessories to supplies and electronics.

These findings reveal there is tremendous opportunity for marketers to influence back-to-school purchasing with compelling coupons and discounts delivered in the right channels for parents. Marketers can also address the need for convenience and exceptional in-store shopping experiences by identifying new ways to expedite purchases and add value before and during the path to purchase.

“This back-to-school season is a milestone for many parents as some students return to in-person learning for the first time in over a year,” said Sarah O’Grady, Vice President of Brand Marketing at Vericast. “This presents the ultimate opportunity for marketers and retailers to listen and respond to the needs of parents. Retailers who make the right moves now could ensure a lifetime of loyalty from grateful parents who seek empathy and prioritize value and safety during a time of uncertainty.”

To view the entire study, download the 2021 Back-to-School Outlook.

ABOUT VERICAST

Vericast is reimagining marketing solutions one business-to-human connection at a time. By influencing how over 120 million households eat, shop, buy, save and borrow, Vericast fuels commerce, drives economic growth and directly accelerates revenue potential for over 70,000 brands and businesses. While its award-winning portfolio of products, technology and solutions — including Illumis™Household Connect ™, Valassis Consumer Graph™ and Harland Clarke ChecksCX™ — are a piece of the Vericast story, its people are the true differentiators; trailblazers in data intelligence, marketing services, transaction solutions, campaign management and media delivery.

 

Media Contacts

Mary Broaddus
Dave Darovitz
[email protected]

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Vericast Study Sees More Socially Conscious Consumer, Cautious Return to Normal

2021 Consumer Intel Report Reveals How Marketers Can Capitalize on a New Paradigm

SAN ANTONIO, July 28, 2021: Vericast, a leading marketing solutions company that delivers actionable insights and operational expertise at scale, today announces proprietary data from its Valassis line of business, providing a snapshot into how American consumers are feeling and behaving as COVID-19 restrictions ease. The 2021 Consumer Intel Report, which is based on responses from over 1,000 U.S. adults, indicates that while consumers’ habits, perceptions and expectations have changed, there is an opportunity to capitalize on their desire to return to “normal,” but with cautious optimism.

As marketers look to align with this new paradigm, they must understand and cater to consumers’ current sentiment. For example, the survey findings point to the rise of a more conscious consumer — with 52% of respondents saying it is important that the brands they purchase from have values aligning with their own. In addition, 72% of millennial parents are more likely to be loyal to a brand or store that shares its efforts to be environmentally responsible or has sustainable or ethical business practices. Sustainability is worth a financial commitment for some — 63% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products.

The in-store experience is going to become more critical than ever as consumers are eager to return and engage more closely with the brands they buy from. Shopping indoors performed better than most other indoor activities in terms of comfort level among respondents (49% said they are comfortable). The survey also found that 74% of consumers prefer to buy products that they need to smell, touch or feel in-store. Retailers can capitalize on this behavior with more seamless experiences and well-timed discounts.

In 2020, while online shopping increased significantly across food, household goods and health and beauty care products, it has nearly gone back to 2019 levels across these categories. For example, our survey found that 18% of consumers said they do all their food shopping online compared to 29% indicating this in 2020. At the same time, the shift to online shopping — largely driven by the pandemic — did generate first-time online shoppers, creating new opportunities for brands.

“There is a clear willingness among consumers to return to pre-pandemic activities, albeit tempered with some caution,” said Sarah O’Grady, Vice President of Brand Marketing at Vericast. “The challenge for brands now is to respect the caution while galvanizing action. With our survey results in mind, there are four definitive ways for marketers to generate authentic customer engagement: use messaging that conveys forward momentum, promote health and safety measures, demonstrate a social conscience and take advantage of in-store retail with promotions and experiences.”

Additional key takeaways from the report include:

  • Saving is still king
    • 72% of consumers said they increased their saving behaviors during COVID and 82% of those people told us they anticipate those behaviors to continue over the next year.
    • The majority (82%) of respondents said the most important thing when shopping for grocery products is to save the most money by going to a store with the lowest price.
    • Over half (52%) of consumers said a sale will drive an impulse purchase.
    • Affluent shoppers get excited by coupons, too: 79% said they use coupons when planning their shopping and the same percentage said it’s exciting to discover a discount on a product they were already planning to buy. Most use both paper and digital coupons/discounts and 64% say coupons/discounts speed up their decision to purchase.
  • Familiarity, trust and authenticity matter
    • Following a period of uncertainty, consumers are now seeking out stability and familiarity. In fact, 67% said they prefer a brand or store that provides a consistent experience.
    • 56% said they typically purchase from brands they’re familiar with because of their brand communications.
  • Housing boom creates opportunity
    • 75% of millennial parents, 73% of parents and 69% of millennials have purchased home comfort items within the last six months with more than half (52%) of all consumers intending to make a purchase in the next six months.
    • 63% of millennial parents, 59% of parents and 55% of millennials said they’re spending more time and/or money improving their home.
  • Restaurants must adapt
    • There is a degree of caution about returning to restaurants with 61% of parents, 60% of millennial parents and 55% of millennials comfortable dining outside.
    • 63% of consumers say they are more comfortable ordering carryout or delivery than dining inside at a restaurant. 

To view the full 2021 Consumer Intel Report, download “The cautious return to a new world.”

About the Study

The study was fielded by Valassis Feb. 18, 2021 through March 4, 2021 in conjunction with a global, third-party market research firm with proficiency in internet surveys. The sample is nationally representative and was derived from an online consumer opinion panel, and all participants were at least 18 years of age and living in the contiguous United States. The survey was closed once 1,004 completed responses had been reached.

About Vericast

Vericast is reimagining marketing solutions one business-to-human connection at a time. By influencing how over 120 million households eat, shop, buy, save and borrow, Vericast fuels commerce, drives economic growth and directly accelerates revenue potential for over 70,000 brands and businesses. While its award-winning portfolio of products, technology and solutions — including Illumis™, Valassis Consumer Graph™ and Harland Clarke ChecksCX™ — are a piece of the Vericast story, its people are the true differentiators; trailblazers in data intelligence, marketing services, transaction solutions, campaign management and media delivery.

Media Contacts
Mary Broaddus
Dave Darovitz
[email protected]

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Press Release

Vericast Announces High-Impact Enhancements for CTV

Includes High Match Rate, Advanced Privacy Control and Dynamic Creative

SAN ANTONIO, July 14, 2021: Vericast, a leading marketing solutions company that delivers actionable insights and operational expertise at scale, is announcing enhancements to its Connected TV (CTV) solution from its Valassis line of business. The upgraded features empower brands to reach their ideal audiences through proprietary customer data, a unique Household Connect™ approach and dynamic creative personalization.

Household Connect is a key element of the Valassis Consumer Graph™, which uniquely links data to a digital household in a manner that respects consumers’ privacy choices. This powerful approach is what enables Vericast to tap into billions of behavior and location signals to identify high-intent consumers across 120 million households for its Valassis CTV solution. This industry-first approach to creating digital households also allows CTV campaigns to drive real business results.

For example, when onboarding a customer’s first-party data, brands can quickly and accurately create an addressable audience, achieving up to an 80% match. After engaging this audience across top CTV platforms and over-the-top (OTT) channels, the company can tie ad frequency to real-world performance through a unique, closed-loop, matchback analysis.

In addition, brands can boost engagement by delivering high-impact, dynamic advertising that cuts through the clutter with relevant content based on customer demographics, nearest store location, interests, the weather and more.

“Today, brands should take full advantage of CTV to amplify their campaigns, tapping into the channel’s increasingly powerful and effective targeting capabilities and high engagement,” said Michelle Engle, Chief Product Officer, Digital Marketing & Technology Solutions at Vericast. “There has been a paradigm shift from traditional TV to streaming services with our data showing that 70% of U.S. adults are currently using streaming services. We have seen incredible growth with our rich intelligence and innovative features making CTV ads shoppable. Further, the valuable campaign insights we provide feed into future programs.”

Additional features include:

  • Automated content recognition: Allows marketers to retarget audiences (via social media, display or offline channels) from a brand’s current TV ad during or after ad exposure to increase campaign effectiveness.
  • OTT exposure retargeting: Enables brands to retarget anyone who has been exposed to a CTV or OTT advertisement.
  • Ad fraud monitoring: Includes pre-screening and incorporation of Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) spiders and bots’ lists, IP blocking, elimination of excessive impressions and abnormal activity, and removal of fraud due to suspicious activity.

Learn more about how to reach the streaming TV audience with digital precision and impactful ads with the Valassis CTV solution.

About Vericast

Vericast is a leading marketing solutions company, delivering actionable insights and expertise through its Valassis and Harland Clarke omnichannel solutions, to help more than 70,000 businesses engage with their customers.  Every day, Vericast influences purchasing and transaction behavior of more than 120 million households – impacting where they eat, shop, buy, save and borrow. Follow Vericast on LinkedIn and Twitter to learn how Vericast drives commerce.

Media Contact

Mary Broaddus

[email protected]

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Press Release

Vericast’s Illumis™ Platform Wins Gold in Prestigious Stevie® Awards

Multi-patented Marketing Platform Connects Intelligence, Media, Technology

SAN ANTONIO, June 29, 2021: Vericast, a leading marketing solutions company that delivers actionable insights and operational expertise at scale, today announces Illumis™, its transformative marketing platform, is a Gold winner in the 2021 Stevie® American Business Awards.

Illumis, a Valassis solution, received the highest honor in the marketing solutions category. A record-breaking 3,800+ nominations from organizations of all sizes and virtually every industry were submitted for consideration in this highly competitive, premier business awards program.

Illumis brings together intelligence, media and technology in one seamless, multi-patented platform, allowing marketers to directly tie insight-led strategies to high-performing consumer engagement. It offers a competitive, data-informed approach to omnichannel media buying, fueled by the predictive intelligence of the two-time award-winning Valassis Consumer Graph™.

Built in-house, Illumis achieved Gold status largely due to the business impact it has delivered to clients. For instance, the solution enabled olive oil company Filippo Berio to increase household penetration and drive in-store sales at key retailers throughout the pandemic. Using data from Illumis, a display advertising campaign targeted high-intent consumers who grocery shop in-store, omnichannel and use delivery, with consumer profiles continuously optimized using real-time sales. The campaign ran in two flights, spaced one month apart, and outperformed both viewability and click-through-rate benchmarks. Both flights of the campaign drove a 6% sales lift at a key retailer, surpassing the benchmark of 1.1% – 5.7%.

“With more data and tools than ever, there are significant challenges around the fragmented nature of today’s marketing technologies,” said Susan Lee, Group President, Digital Marketing and Technology Solutions at Vericast. “The Illumis integrated platform solves those pain points by delivering multichannel engagement using an architecture that connects intelligence, media and technology, helping companies discover opportunities and inspire action. We have seen the positive effect Illumis has on brands every day to achieve more, and it is incredibly rewarding for the solution and its impact to be recognized industry-wide.”

Stevie American Business Award winners will be honored in a virtual awards ceremony on June 30.

Learn more about Illumis.

About Vericast

Vericast is a leading marketing solutions company, delivering actionable insights and expertise through its Valassis and Harland Clarke omnichannel solutions, to help more than 70,000 businesses engage with their customers.  Every day, Vericast influences purchasing and transaction behavior of more than 120 million households – impacting where they eat, shop, buy, save and borrow. Follow Vericast on LinkedIn and Twitter to learn how Vericast drives commerce.

Media Contact

Mary Broaddus

[email protected]

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In The News

Illumis™ Honored as 2021 Stevie® Award Winner

Gold 2021 Stevie® Award Winner

Find out more details about The American Business Awards and the full list of 2021 Stevie Winners.

Ilumis, our proprietary marketing platform, is the recipient of a Gold Stevie® Award (Marketing/Public Relations Solution category) in The 19th Annual American Business Awards®.

The American Business Awards are the U.S.A.’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the U.S.A. are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small.  Nicknamed the Stevies for the Greek word meaning “crowned,” the awards will be virtually presented to winners during a live event on Wednesday, June 30.

Illumis, by Valassis, a Vericast business, is the smartest integration of intelligence, media and technology in one seamless platform, allowing marketers to directly tie insights-led strategies to high-performing consumer engagement. Illumis spotlights high-impact moments and the best media to expand reach, engage consumers, and drive the best response. 

More than 3,800 nominations – a record number – from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories. More than 250 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process to select this year’s Stevie Award winners. Stevie Award judges include many of the world’s most respected executives, entrepreneurs, innovators, and business educators. 

Details about The American Business Awards and the full list of 2021 Stevie winners can be found here.

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Women’s History Month Leader Feature: Lee Ann Stevenson

Lee Ann Stevenson

Lee Ann Stevenson

March 26, 2021 · 5 min read

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Why is Women’s History Month important to you? 

“Women’s History Month is important because I love having the chance to learn about women who have contributed significantly to American history.  Right now I am reading about Frances Perkins, the first female cabinet member, who was appointed as Secretary of Labor in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression.  Why have I not learned about her until now? It is also a great chance for community building.  This is the first year since I have been with Vericast that I did not gather with other team members to celebrate International Women’s Day; I look forward to getting back to the tradition next year.”

What inspiring woman would you like to spend the day with?

“I have always been a reader, so if given the chance I would meet one of the female novelists who have portrayed women in ways that challenged, shocked and even frightened the society they lived in: Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott or my favorite, Kate Chopin.  While quieter than other forms of protest, writing has one of the most enduring effects on history.”

As a leader in the organization, what has helped shape you the most?

“I am fortunate to be surrounded by team members who I can trust completely to execute and deliver and as a result I feel a tremendous obligation to give my best to them every day as well.   I am always learning, and have had a lot of failures and very humbling experiences in my career, especially as a trial lawyer.  Those experiences taught me to listen more, and be open to the unique knowledge and experience that others have to share.”

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Women’s History Month Leader Feature: Lauren Kirkley

Lauren Kirkley

Lauren Kirkley

March 19, 2021 · 5 min read

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Why is Women’s History Month important to you? 

“As women, we tend to run at a very fast pace, and can forget to stop and recognize achievements.  I love that Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to look up and learn about some amazing women who have done remarkable things.  I also think it prompts important conversations and awareness for younger girls which will hopefully inspire them to be confident and realize there are no limits to what they can pursue.”

What inspiring woman would you like to spend the day with?

“I would love to spend a day with Kathrin Jansen, head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer.  As an Operations Executive, I can appreciate the value of motivating and leading teams through crisis situations and driving large strategic projects, but it’s hard to imagine doing this with the stakes so high as the world literally waiting for you to stop a pandemic and save lives!  I would love to learn how she lead her team through this and navigated so many of the dynamics and influences throughout the process.”

As a leader in the organization, what has helped shape you the most?

“I believe there are two things which have (and continue to) shape me as a leader and as a woman.  The first is being rooted in my purpose in this life, because that always helps me to keep perspective and focus on what is most important.  The second is learning from experiences.  Seeking new experiences, and meeting and learning from new people, always seems to shape and prepare me for what lies ahead.”

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Women’s History Month Leader Feature: Susan Lee

Susan Lee

Susan Lee

March 12, 2021 · 5 min read

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Why is Women’s History Month important to you? 
“Women’s History Month is important to me because it creates increased visibility on the progress and accomplishments of women to those who may not have otherwise have had this awareness.  This is important because while there has been great progress and many accomplishments, there is still much more work to be done.  This work will not be completed in one month – however, with increased visibility and awareness I hope others are inspired to work on this 365 days a year.  This is what I personally believe is required to maintain and accelerate progress in the most critical areas.”

 

What inspiring woman would you like to spend the day with?
“There are many inspiring women both past and present that I would like to meet.   However, if I had to only choose one, I pick Harriet Tubman.  She represents a woman wearing multiple hats (mother, military leader) during a time when doing so literally meant risking life.  She was talented, smart, innovative, and engaged in political activism that changed the course of history and saved many lives.” 

 

As a leader in the organization, what has helped shape you the most?
“In terms of leadership style, I think exposure to a wide variety of leaders over the years has helped me understand that there is no “one size fits all” type of leadership that is most effective.  I have found that most impactful leaders are those who are authentic to who they are and what they believe in.  I aspire to be my authentic self every day because of this.”
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COVID-19: One Year Later

One year ago, like so many around the country, Vericast began our journey navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. We are a stronger and bolder company coming out of 2020, thanks to the quick action and tireless work of our COVID-19 taskforce.

None of us could have predicted that one year later, we would still be in the midst of a pandemic. Vericast continues to adapt to meet the challenge every day as we all stay in it to win for our communities, our business, and each other. 

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Black History Month Employee Spotlight: Frederick Waithe

Frederick Waithe

February 23, 2021

Throughout February, we will introduce members of our team, sharing what Black History Month means to them as well as who inspires them. Frederick Waithe, Executive Director, Pricing at Vericast, sees Black History Month as a great opportunity to re-connect with family and friends and discuss not only historical events but current events in the historical context of the African-American and African-Diasporic experience. “History is full of teaching moments that remind us everything is connected,” he said.

Who would he like to spend the day with? “I’d have to go with Frederick Douglass, not just because I’m named after him but because of the multiple and incredible transformative journeys he moved through in his life. I’d like to get his personal perspectives on how he dealt with adversity.”