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Ep. 1: Nimble is the New Big for Shopper Marketers

Episode 1: Nimble is the New Big for Shopper Marketers


In the inaugural episode of the Blue Light Special podcast, hosts Christine Wright and Trevor Lewis introduce the podcast and its purpose of helping shopper marketers improve at their day-to-day jobs. They discuss the influence of social media on consumer behavior, particularly among younger generations, and share personal retail experiences. The hosts also give shout outs to brands that are getting it right and discuss trends in retail and branding. They explore the concept of segmenting in-store marketing budgets based on store volume and the need for flexibility and nimbleness in the industry. The episode concludes with a segment on personal reflections and advice.


  • The Blue Light Special podcast aims to empower shopper marketers and provide them with valuable insights and resources.
  • Social media, particularly platforms like TikTok, has a significant influence on consumer behavior, especially among younger generations.
  • Segmenting in-store marketing budgets based on store volume can help brands allocate their resources more effectively.
  • Being flexible and nimble is crucial in the ever-changing retail industry.
  • Personal reflections and positive mindset are important for personal and professional growth.


00:00 Introduction

00:30 Who, What, Why, and How of the Podcast

01:27 Goal of Empowering Shopper Marketers

02:49 Segment: Show and Tell - Personal Retail Experiences

03:14 Observing Consumer Behavior Influenced by Social Media

04:12 TikTok Influencers and Purchasing Decisions

05:08 The Impact of Social Media on Kids' Purchasing Behavior

06:01 Segment: Shout Outs to Brands Getting It Right

07:00 Trends in Retail and Branding

11:49 Segment: Heard on the Street - Trends in In-Store Marketing

13:14 Segment: Lightning Round of Questions with Christine Wright

16:06 Segment: Memo to Myself and I Am

23:34 Closing and Gratitude


⁠Nickle & Suede⁠

Kilee Nickels on ⁠Instagram⁠ and ⁠LinkedIn⁠

⁠Kristen Juszczyk⁠

⁠Casa Azul Tequila Soda

Episode 1 Transcript

BlueLightSpecialPodcast (00:00.014)

Attention shoppers, back-to-back Blue Light specials on aisle 57 and 58. Welcome to Blue Light Special, the podcast for CPG brand marketers who want to lighten up their hustle in retail and real life. I'm Christine Wright. And I'm Trevor Lewis. We're here to decode the mysteries of retail and give you some insider hacks to make your brand the talk of the shelf. Let's get into this week's episode.

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Our inaugural episode of Blue Light Special. Today we're exploring “nimble is the new big” for shopper marketers. And to kick us off, we thought we'd start with who, what, why, and how we decided to do a podcast. The who. So the podcast is really for shopper marketers, brand managers, and the folks that support the placement of brands in store. That can also include agencies or even suppliers.

The why, you know, we ultimately want to help shopper marketers improve at their day -to -day jobs. I think one of the things that we continually come back to is no one goes to school for this. No, absolutely not. OJT. Yes, on the job training. And so, you know, if we can play a small role of, you know, empower them to learn something, you know, identify a new tool they may not be using, ultimately just be a trusted resource.

is ultimately our goal with the different level of content that we'll be sharing and producing. We definitely expect to bring on some subject matter experts and be able to have them weigh in on specific expertise that they may bring to the table as well. And for the how, it's really, I think, our expertise over the years, Trevor. I have a few more years under my belt than you. But you're definitely a go -getter and always willing to learn and wanting to know what the latest trends are and what we're seeing out in store walks and definitely very inquisitive and then you bring that back to the table so that's refreshing.

Well thank you and yeah you know I think being able to pull from your years of expertise that has probably given you a significant amount of wisdom not only are we you know grateful for and can benefit from that here at IDD but you know I think I tell her all the time like, you teach me more than I'll ever teach you. And so, I think now we get a chance to kind of broadcast your expertise and some different areas that you've learned and then learn the hard way, of course. And so, yeah, definitely excited to be able to share this with you and also bring this to some of the guests. Well, then let's kick this off with our first segment that we'll always have with the show. And we call it Show and Tell, where Trevor and I share our most recent personal experiences in retail.

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I know we're always out shopping, whether it's personal or for store walks, but we're the ones that are poking and picking at displays and seeing what's new and trendy out there. So, Trevor, tell us what you've experienced that stands out. Yeah, well, you know, I think I absolutely go into a lot of different retail and a lot of different categories. I'm probably, it looks a little, you know, interesting based on some of the categories that I'm, you know, looking at a display, seeing how different products is merchandise, understand different ways brands are telling their story and differentiating within a category. And so, what's interesting is I have a 12-year-old daughter. And so, she likes to shop a lot more than I do. I'm sure. Specifically, inside of Target. Every girl loves Target. Now this has branched into Sephora, Ulta, and essentially anywhere that TikTok drives them to. And so, you know, now that she's, you know, 12, it's always fascinating for me to observe her behavior in these environments. And so, with just the amount of influence that social media has, whether we like it or not, it's real, it's fascinating to watch what brand she gravitates towards and why. So, you know, I'm often will kind of set her up to.

Let's go into this category and it's a category that she's very familiar with and I'll ask, hey, point out a brand and tell me how you learned about that brand before we step foot in this store. And I'll tell you what, TikTok made me buy this. I think I've seen a few different slogans or memes about that. It's like a mini focus group with these kids. It's so real. And so we walked into a store, walk into Target. It's often in the beauty.

category is kind of what we're in. It's definitely something that's on the top of probably every 12 year old, both girls and boys. And I asked her to pick up some products and tell me about them, right? And so, you know, she looks at them from definitely a packaging standpoint, what stands out, but more importantly, it's how she knows about them and how she's familiar with those brands before she walks in one and picks them up. And I said, you know, I was looking at this product, how do you know about this? Like, oh, this is...

BlueLightSpecialPodcast (05:08.654)

She immediately associates a TikTok influencer to the brand, is telling me not only, you know, the benefits of the product, but also the ingredients, which is absolutely fascinating. The other thing is with kind of emerging use of different types of debit cards, but specifically for kids, she's a budget holder too. 

Not only is she influencing my budget, she has her own and so she'll navigate these different categories and I just really try to audit every move that she makes and then ask the question as why. She's the purchaser of maybe some makeup in-store, but what did then that influence you to purchase for her for Christmas? Yeah, so here at the office I'm always sharing, you know, things, Layla, my little one's up to and her latest is “Dad, if I do this, can I get this?” That answer was, “can I get this mini fridge?” And not like a mini fridge in which, yeah, not that mini fridge, which is a small one. It's this pink mini fridge is specifically for, you know, housing your beauty supplies, I guess. Masks and facials and yes, beauty supplies. We have one. Yes, we have one too. I have one in my house. A few years before you, I have one. And then that was my daughter. But then this year I actually, had to buy a hair straightener, a mini one for my son for a stocking stuffer. So yes, TikTok is driving the influencers and the purchases for definitely what was on the Christmas list this year. Yeah, it's fascinating. It's definitely interesting to be able to see how our kids and be able to share that and then bring that back to our team and help them and also help as we advocate on brands to consider certain things. So.

Definitely a very interesting time when you look at the influence of social media, no question about it. All right, so one segment that we're going to be bringing to you each week is what we call “Shout Outs.” For this, Christine, we'd love to acknowledge some brands that you think are getting it right. What's some that you have on your radar? Definitely on my radar is anything associated with Kansas City Chiefs, which is just huge this year. Everybody knows. The Taylor Swift effect is...

BlueLightSpecialPodcast (07:28.942)

I'm sure even if you're not a Swiftie, you've heard about it, you know what it's doing. And I will say at the beginning of the season when that all started to kind of explode, I kind of read through social media and followed. And one of the headlines was at that time, the two biggest influencers over men's sports were Taylor Swift over the NFL and Kim Kardashian with Skims in the NBA. To have two female basically entrepreneurs, personal brand extraordinaire women in charge of and leading branding for men's sports was just absolutely huge. Absolutely fascinating. I absolutely agree. Incredible. It's super cool to be able to see my little one watch some of this play out. Obviously, we're watching it in real time, but we know historically this has not always been the case, right? I think you can also look at what's happening with Caitlin Clark and at the collegiate level as well.

Fascinating to see her partnerships because of the you know name image likeness opportunities that exist now and she's taking full advantage of those as she should. Yes, she should. But incredible to experience all three of them have an impact on sports for sure. And another one that had to do with the Chiefs and another female entrepreneur was Kristen Jusczyzk. She designed the custom coats for the Chiefs that Taylor wore one game and that just exploded with the Swiftie effect and then put Kristen on the map and now she's getting licensing contracts. So that's awesome. Absolutely. Yeah. I think her husband's a fullback for the 49ers. Yeah. I've definitely kind of followed along. I've seen a little the puffer jackets that they had that were custom designed and I think Brittany Mahomes had one as well.

Not only is she really smart, it looked like a really cool jacket and so good for her just to maximize an opportunity for her. What else are you seeing? Well, I believe you and I have talked about the, I think it's Azul tequila brand. That Travis, is it Travis that backs that? Yeah, it's, you know, I'm not sure exactly his partnership, but he's definitely an influencer for, again, I think it's called Azul.

BlueLightSpecialPodcast (09:48.398)

It's been fascinating to watch all of the, I'll call it free PR, that they're picking up just because the images that are surfacing with Taylor in the suite and what happens to be sitting next to Taylor in the suite. Product placement is key. Product placement, right? And those guys I follow on LinkedIn are leveraging the heck out of it. As they should. Good for them, yeah. Why not? Good for them for sure. I'm not sure exactly the impact that it's had on their brand, but I suspect that it's been powerful for sure. Definitely. And as for other brands, I'd like to just give a shout out to a local brand that I love and that I follow, which is Nickel and Suede. Kilee Nickels just, she started that company. She's an entrepreneur. It's fashion jewelry. I think she's a mom of five little boys.

And she's just a go -getter, went out, started the company. Pretty sure she's got a brick and mortar on the plaza. They've got pop -ups and looking at brick and mortar in the Dallas area. And it's just fun to watch her be a local influencer and a local entrepreneur that is really making an impact on the community. Yeah.

You know, I don't know a whole lot about her story, but I love watching her, you know, operate in public. I mean, she's pretty transparent with the good, the bad, the ugly of what it takes, but not only what it takes to lead a successful business, but doing it as a mom, doing it as a woman. So, you know, definitely follow, I kind of follow along her journey on LinkedIn and it's fascinating. Kudos to her for sure. And I think she's also recently gone to some sports trade shows, and is getting on the licensing bandwagon with her product. I saw that on LinkedIn and she was, yeah, she was transparent about that. I mean, she's the founder, the creator. She's also standing in the booth and having the conversations. Yeah, a lot to admire from that for sure. Definitely. All right. One of the next segments that we're going to jump right into is hurt on the streets. Working side by side with retailers and brands on a daily basis, we are in the know when it comes to trends.

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Christine, what's a trend you're paying attention to or you've seen? I would say the biggest trend over the last year for me, for some large product launches we did, is not sending the same display to all stores. I'm watching brands kind of analyze their budgets, look at sales volumes for stores, and allocate those budgets based on the store volume.

Your top tier stores, might get a $1 ,000 display, your mid -tier stores might all get a corrugate end cap. Segmenting within the retailer though, like so it's one retailer but then they're... Yes, so a product launch in Walmart, say you're doing 3,000 end caps, your top tier stores are going to get a high-end $1,000 end cap. Your mid -tier stores are going to get a regular corrugate end cap.

And then your lower tier stores are just going to get an end cap dress out. Still the same brand launch, still trying to garner brand awareness, but you're better utilizing your marketing dollars that way instead of the same thing to all stores. That makes sense. What, where do you, do you think this is a trend that'll hold or do you think because the budget's being scrutinized, it's kind of leading them to think how they're going to allocate their budget? What are your thoughts on that?

I will say once I went, that large product launch and saw how that process worked and then pitched the idea for new projects and new clients. It really made them step back and think, how can I allocate these dollars? Yes, I don't need to do this grand display to all stores. I can still make the same impact maybe with a little bit less, but still getting the same impact. And I'm also seeing actual retailer buying departments start to tier,their stores based on sales volume and then what the product mix is going to be in that store. And they're just really focusing on tiers. Interesting. Yeah, no, it's a fascinating trend. I would probably second that, that I've definitely have seen at least rethinking how budgets are allocated to in-store marketing. And it's a difficult to launch a program. I think the other thing is, is these teams, kind of post pandemic,

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You know, the shopper marketing teams are pretty lean now. You know, their working environment is quite a bit different as well as they may be in a hybrid, they may be, you know, in a remote. And so that's really forced them to, what I'm seeing is, you know, identify partners versus suppliers and have a need to be able to, as you kind of mentioned, be flexible but nimble as well.

So, as you think about, you know, deploying those different types of solutions into one retailer and kind of segmenting that, it also forces them to potentially utilize different material substrates. And, you know, historically speaking, they may have, you know, leveraged six or seven different suppliers on a given project, and they simply don't have time now. Because the resources are limited, they still got to cover the same amount of bases that they did before, but they don't have time to manage a significant amount of vendors. And the other thing is they don't know what they don't know. And so, there's definitely a younger generation that are stepping in into these roles. And I think what I'm seeing is they're looking for someone to come in and manage all of their in -store marketing, not necessarily pick and choose what's best suited for them. So, a couple of fascinating trends.

I'm excited to continue to watch this and observe and see if it's something that holds for sure. Well, we've got a lot of interviews in the queue for future episodes, so we thought we'd tee them up by giving you a preview of the lightning round of questions we'll be taking each interviewee through. I'm on the hot seat for this episode and you'll want to tune in episode two to get Trevor's hot seat experience. Alright, let's dive into the questions. Are you ready?

Ready as I'll ever be. All right, the first one. What's one new brand you recently purchased and why? I will say I was swindled into the Sheen fad. I've definitely tried out Sheen and made purchases with Sheen. It wasn’t bad, it wasn't a bad experience. It was easy. Popped up on Facebook, purchased right there through Facebook. It was a good experience; I will say that.

BlueLightSpecialPodcast (16:30.254)

I have not done that yet, but never say never. All right, next one. What's one thing you bought on TikTok or IG? Well, I'm not on TikTok or Instagram. I really only do what my kids refer to as the old people platform, which is Facebook, but I definitely have made purchases through there. Yes. All right. And then what's one piece of technology that you can't live without? Definitely, my phone. I don't know. If anybody says otherwise, I don't believe them. Our phones have just become invaluable to all of us. Yeah, good and bad. Good and bad. I think it's kind of a crutch at some points, but definitely, it's the beholder of all information and the beholder of purchasing. You're right. I can't argue with that. What's the worst career advice you've ever been given? Oh, wow. The worst career advice. Well, I will say I am older than you.

And as I kind of worked my ranks up in my younger days of my career, it was a very male dominated world, and I was always encouraged to not share my voice. So, I think that was probably the worst career advice I could ever be given was to not share your voice. Yeah, I agree. And, you know, I think someone asked me this question the other day as well. And what popped in my head is, “fake it till you make it.” I think that for some reason, and I'm sure there's a lot of strong opinions on that, but I think it's the worst advice. Because in life, you do have to make it in certain places and certain things you have to accomplish. You can't just fake it all the way there. And I think that's been one of the things that whenever I was thinking about this question, I was going to ask you, I was like, well, if I ask it myself, what would I say? And that was definitely it. I think fake it till you make it tends to make us feel like we can't fail. Just make it look like you're succeeding. You have to fail to succeed. Fail forward. Fail forward. Over and over. All right. Where do you go to consume information to do your job better? I will say LinkedIn is probably my platform of choice as far as just consuming content. I do like podcasts. I do like Brene Brown, Rachel Hollis, things like that. I do a lot of reading.

BlueLightSpecialPodcast (18:55.374)

I'll post on LinkedIn kind of the book of the month that I'm reading, and I'll watch others and see, you know, what's the latest and greatest books that people are recommending. So, a little bit of everything. Audible or physical? Physical. I'm an old school girl. I have a physical calendar planner that I write in, and I want the physical books in my little journal next to me so I can take notes. Yeah. I get it. I get it. All right. Last question. One of my favorite questions to ask is what advice would you give your 25-year-old self? The only opinion that matters is your own.

Love it. Yep, definitely. All right, for our last segment, we're going to give you a little glimpse into our own minds. We always have those moments where we reflect, learn, remind ourselves of certain truths. For me, I call this memo to myself. And for you and for Christine, what do you call it? I call it my I am. And what exactly is that? My I am for the day is kind of a statement based on, you know, what's going on in my life, what influences I have at that particular time, but it's when I start out my day, what am I today? And what are those statements that follow behind it? Those words carry a lot of meaning. That's powerful. I like that. So, for me, again, it's a memo to myself and, you know, something, this is something that I started doing on my commute into the office. So, I commute about 45 minutes in.

It's pretty much only quiet time for sure that in the shower side. I do a lot of deep deep thinking in those two environments But you know, I'm always I do I use their voice recorder functionality on my phone so it's a voice memo that I give and the one that I gave on my way and was actually thinking about being growth oriented versus goal oriented and I think you know, I'm someone who's very focused on what's out front, the goal. But I've really wanted to think about the practical steps that can help me lead to the goal. And I think about those as being growth oriented. So, in October, I'm running a marathon. Not probably the smartest decision I've made. You put it out there, so accountability partner stuff. Yeah, and so you clearly start to understand what is the growth that I need to be taking daily in order to achieve this goal of...

BlueLightSpecialPodcast (21:41.367)

to what can I do today that may not help me achieve the goal necessarily within that day, but it'll help me create the growth. Well, for my I ams, I'm just really passionate about a positive mindset to start the day. So, I do have just kind of a group of friends, my ladies, my tribe, it's my accountability partners and we will start each day by texting each other what are you today? Just flat out what are you today?

And a lot of them will be, I'm strong, I'm worthy, I'm loved. I mean, it's big statements. That might be one word, but it's big statements for the day and it sets the tone. Today, you know, I was excited because I get to do a podcast. I'm content because my kiddos are kind of at a stage in their life where they're adults now. I don't have anybody under teenage years. And so, I'm very content with where my kiddos and my family is.

Just those statements to start your day and knowing that you're owning those and walking out into the world and presenting yourself that way, I think is a positive mindset and the best way to start the day. I love it. That's something that I think anyone could easily implement into their day. I am familiar with this process because... Yes, what are you today in a text to you before? Sometimes it gets you to think, right? Because it's a choice.

It is a choice. It's always a choice. That's fascinating. And so, yeah, well, thanks for sharing. I think that's super cool. And for our closing for this episode, we're definitely grateful to have all of you for this ride. Again, this is our first episode, so bear with us as we kind of get in the groove of this thing. We're excited to be able to bring this to you, excited to be able to have additional guests and have them bring their expertise into this as well.

If there's certain ways that we can continue to provide, be a resource to you or topics that anyone wants to know, of course, let us know. Definitely let us know. Thanks everyone for listening. Join us next week. We'll be exploring how packaging can make or break your brand on the shelf.

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This podcast is a production of InStore Design Display, the go -to expert for guiding and elevating your in-store experience. Our wordsmith, Julie Edge, and mix master, Jackie Barra, make all of this possible. So, a big thanks to them and the entire team at InStore Design Display. Stay tuned for our next episode on YouTube or wherever you consume podcasts. We'd love to hear from our listeners, so please drop us a line and tell us what you want to hear about retail and real life.


#shoppermarketers #consumerbehavior #purchasingdecisions #tiktok #branding #instoremarketing #customerexperience #brandplacement

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