I find the approach of Walmart outpost ASDA quite interesting. ASDA did not pile into the loyalty game in the last decade and therefore does not have the data to generate look at spending patterns and promotional responses that many of its rivals do. Rather than joining the game late, they seem to be taking a clever alternative approach by surveying a customer panel of almost 4000 shoppers. They call the survey Mumdex and they have just released some of the insight that it has offered them.

Apart from the fact that it is not a me too thing, there are several aspect of what they are doing that I like:

They are focusing on mothers as the primary shoppers and key influencers over grocery and clothes shopping in their store demographic. Having shopped in ASDA, that seems like a good move, with a lot of positive aspects and very little downside risk.

They are delving into social and lifestyle aspects of peoples lives, asking about holidays, savings, budgeting and access to finance. This will give them a richer customer insight than simple transaction details, no matter how often they are processed and combined.

The approach generates a sense of empathy with the target customer group and shows that on some levels, ASDA is interested in what they want from a shop and what interests them.

The marketing propositions of many of the supermarket groups in the UK have grown stale. Faced by a tough economy, most businesses have reverted to a lower prices strategy. This Mumdex approach offers ASDA the potential to exploit a value proposition that is similar but is altogether more three dimensional. As part of the program, they offer mums a budgeting service and they show them how they compared to the average in the UK. This gives them the data that loyalty cards offer, but it starts a dialogue that card statements never will.

By engaging in a broader dialogue with shoppers, the supemarket marketing team have the scope to develop more non-food products and services. If shoppers are struggling with savings, then the financial services opportunity is obvious, but there are likely to be other more hidden gems uncovered by this work.

Mumdex is never going to feature on Wikileaks and it will depend on strong execution to deliver results for ASDA and Walmart, but the concept is a clever one and it gives the marketing crew an opportunity to develop its brand in ways that would really make it stand apart from its rivals. And that is what great marketing is all about.