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Fireside Chat With Marissa Dimick of The Mars Agency

Marissa Dimick, Senior Manager of Customer Development at The Mars Agency, recently sat down with Breaktime Media to talk all things shopper marketing and discuss how she approaches shopper marketing campaigns in her role at The Mars Agency.

January 31, 2024

Fireside Chat With Marissa Dimick of The Mars Agency


In the fast-paced world of shopper marketing, Marissa Dimick, the Senior Manager of Customer Development at The Mars Agency, navigates the intricate dance between brand, sales, retail customers and the ever-elusive shopper. After spending a strong portion of her career in the beverage and alcohol industry, Dimick's journey into the consumer packaged goods (CPG) sector has equipped her with a diverse perspective that fuels her innovative approach to creating impactful campaigns.

Dimick recently sat down with Breaktime Media to talk all things shopper marketing and learn how she approaches shopper marketing campaigns in her role at The Mars Agency.

Breaktime Media Talks Shopper Marketing With Marissa Dimick

To Dimick, shopper marketing is about understanding the shopper at a personal level. She explains how shopper marketing isn’t only about demographics or geography; it's about tailoring programs to a retailer’s individual shoppers.

"If you're a Hannaford shopper, you're likely not a Food Lion shopper—not just because they're in different parts of the country, but because they speak to different shopper styles," she explains. That’s why, to her, it’s important for campaigns to always prioritize the individual shopper, thinking about how they shop, why they shop and what influences their behavior.

With a focus on five different retailers, Dimick's team takes the national and trade strategies, localizes them, and amplifies them to speak directly to the shopper. “Shopper sits in the middle of trade and national,” she explains; it bridges the gap by focusing on the shopper as an individual.

A typical day for Dimick as she manages the needs of five retailers is anything but typical. Juggling vendor partners, internal teams, and numerous touchpoints throughout the day keeps her busy, and the diversity of brands and retailers only adds to the complexity.

So, how does a campaign come to life in Dimick's world? She takes Breaktime Media through the process using a memorable example – a campaign centered around “The Perfect Pair” of grilled cheese and tomato soup. Her team plans in advance and aligns with sales to see if a pricing strategy will entice the shopper. Once they have the pricing and potentially an offer, they start thinking about media to drive awareness around the product.

The tactics employed might have different goals such as awareness-driving or excitement-building, but Dimick emphasizes that the ultimate objective is to meet the program’s goal. Not every tactic is going to move the needle, but the team wants to build a total 360 program. With every campaign, the team considers the question: “What does the brand want from us, and what’s the objective of the program?”

Though her team successfully executes over 100 programs a year, this accomplishment doesn’t come without challenges to work through—especially when working on smaller campaigns with limited budgets. For these smaller campaigns, there are certain go-to tactics that Dimick’s team returns to for their effectiveness. She highlights onsite/offsite display media as one such tactic, ensuring they reach the shopper wherever they are—whether that’s when the shopper is simply surfing the web or browsing the retailer’s website to make their shopping list.

And how does Dimick manage the needs of five different category buyers? It’s almost like having 25 kids, Dimick jokes. She calls it “organized chaos,” explaining how you need to know what to say to get them to align, and it often hinges on your sales relationship in certain categories. “There isn’t a silver bullet,” or something that works for all five—unfortunately!

When asked about the balance between brand-led and local retailer campaigns, Dimick emphasizes the importance of aligning with brand priorities. Her team has certain primary concerns for every brand that are considered when planning a campaign. "We need to make sure the campaign we are building is landing back to brand priority,” Dimick informs us, explaining how they can go in and explore what else they can do to amplify.

Building successful campaigns also relies on strong partnerships with vendors. So, what does Dimick look for in a vendor partner? First and foremost, Dimick values performance results; a brand should have a positive track record and examples to prove it. Almost as important is a vendor's ability to communicate effectively. "Talk to us like we're human beings," she says, laughing. Take the time to explain things and help her to understand three key pieces: “the whys, what you do and what you need from us.”

As the conversation wraps up, we ask Dimick what she loves about Breaktime. “Your programs give us that extra something we may not be able to get elsewhere.” Not only are Breaktime programs fun and memorable, they also make the shopper think and recall the brand multiple times—part of what makes them so impactful.

Within the hustle and bustle of the shopper marketing industry, Marissa Dimick's strategy shines through—putting people first. Her knack for tailoring campaigns, managing diverse retailers and building strong partnerships reflects the heart of successful shopper marketing.