DMNews talks with Doug Stone, advertising director at grocery distributor and retailer W. Lee Flowers and Co.

Doug Stone, advertising director at grocery distributor and retailer W. Lee Flowers and Co., talks about how to keep a weekly insert media program exciting.

Q: How large is insert media’s role in your overall marketing mix?

A: W. Lee Flowers supplies 85 IGA grocery stores in South and North Carolina as well as Georgia, most of which are corporately owned stores. The weekly flyer is distributed via shared and solo mail, as well as inserted into newspapers. It accounts for approximately 75% of our marketing efforts. Ten years ago, the only marketing one independent store operator did was to print a weekly broadsheet, tape one copy to the window and put the rest by the front door. We convinced the store to join the ad insert program and that store is now doing double the busi­ness it did a decade ago. If you let people know you’re there, have good prices and value their business, you can get them in the door.

Q: How do you keep the insert program fresh?

A: I like to take the approach that people pick up the flyer for more than the prices — it offers entertain­ment as well. So we work with a designer at Vertis Communications — which prints the flyer — to come out with something different every week. We’ve even created a char­acter named Iggy, who shows up in the flyers doing different things like pushing a wheelbarrow or wearing a Santa Claus suit.

Q: What’s a recent example of a successful attempt to entertain customers using the flyer?

A: The July 4 weekend is one of the six key times of the year when we put a lot of effort behind the flyer from a marketing standpoint. This year, we used Vertis’ Designer Edge, which produced a scalloped edge on one side of the flyer, giving us a whole new slate to work on. We were able to highlight appropriate design elements, such as a red-checked tablecloth, stars and fireworks.

Q: What were the results?

A: Approximately 500,000 cop­ies of the flyer were printed and distributed, with sales posting an 8.2% increase over the same July 4 weekend in 2007.

Q: To what do you attribute the effort’s success?

A: I love to look at the inserts that come in the Sunday paper and ask myself, “What is it that makes a person pick this up vs. throwing it in the recycling bin?” In W. Lee Flowers’ case, we provided something unique.

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