The Update: How Walgreens' customer-focused marketing is driving business growth
In this episode of The Update, Google’s Lawrence Cole, U.S. head of multichannel and consumer goods, talks to Luke Kigel, VP of media and omnichannel planning at Walgreens, about the company’s transformation toward digital to better serve its customers. They discuss how Walgreens has evolved from a brick-and-mortar pharmacy with a digital offering to a true omnichannel retailer.
>> LUKE KIGEL: We are on a transformation journey, marketing at Walgreens,
which honestly is really part of a company transformation towards digitization.
It's grounded in the understanding of the changing needs
and expectations of consumers,
and really evolving from a pharmacy retailer who has a digital offering,
to becoming a true omni-channel experience platform
that's designed to meet the needs of our customer, where and when they need it.
>> LAWRENCE COLE: In today's episode of The Update, I'll be talking with Luke Kigel
about how Walgreens has transformed their marketing strategy
to focus on their customers, rather than specific channels, to grow their business.
What did your marketing strategy look like at the beginning of 2020,
and how has the pandemic changed that?
>> LUKE: From a messaging perspective, we were focused on ways of sharing
that we're meeting consumers on their terms.
Customers are looking for the freedom to shop when and how they want.
Whether it be in store, whether it be online,
again that notion of omni-channel, physical, digital.
The consumer doesn't care.
People don't care.
We need to offer an overall experience that is safe, that is convenient, and, quite frankly,
that's what people have relied on Walgreens for for more than a hundred years.
We also pivoted our broader marketing initiatives towards digital
to best engage consumers, as people were adjusting to their new normal.
We are all living very, very different lives with shelter-in-place,
so our task was to determine and find the optimal way to actually reach consumers in
that new normal and deliver them relevant experiences.
>> LAWRENCE: Meeting consumers' needs in the moment is crucial.
How are you combining what you know about your customers
and their needs with Google's local campaigns?
>> LUKE: We have over 9,000 stores.
80% of the country lives within five miles of a Walgreens.
We are truly, truly local to everybody.
And with local campaigns, we're able to understand the need in a moment,
and really meet the consumer in that “I need it right now” moment.
Perhaps one of the most exciting things is sort of where we're headed.
With over a hundred million Balance Rewards members,
our ability to put those things together and integrate them into
what we're doing in local campaigns is really going to accelerate our capability
and, again, allow us to deliver an even better experience
and meet the needs of our customers.
>> LAWRENCE: Lastly, what does future digital investment look like for Walgreens?
>> LUKE: So it's less about, are you shifting from traditional and moving it into digital,
and it's more about understanding what it is you're doing in digital
that is more effective, and what is driving your ROI
and where’s that contribution coming from in terms of the improved benefit.
And, quite frankly, it's all about how you deploy your data.
It's more about understanding that, and then taking those principles
and applying them to what you do traditional,
and essentially, digitizing your traditional ecosystem, if you will.
And again, you can't do that on your own:
a) it takes a village, and,
b) it's really about evolving the industry in totality,
and we want to be at the forefront of pushing that forward.
And we are, and we continue to look for partners to help us drive that.