Research shows, and a Mentor business has the studies to back it up, that more and more consumers are making shopping and dining decisions from work. WorkPlace Impact is leading the charge in the growing workplace marketing industry.
While workplace marketing is nothing new — company health insurance and dental benefits fall under this category — the niche WorkPlace Impact focuses on connecting brands to employed consumers where they work.
“When my father Tim F. McCarthy started this company as Contract Marketing, he was working mainly to help promote restaurant chains throughout the country,” says Tim P. McCarthy, chairman of WorkPlace Impact. “Since then, we’ve formed relationships with hundreds of brands located all over the U.S. across several industries.”
From those beginnings in 1988, WorkPlace Impact grew to include dining, retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) and is the largest, and furthest-reaching, U.S. company in the workplace marketing space with 844,000 businesses, employing 57 million consumers, opting in to its offerings.
“We contact these businesses to join our free network where we bring in promotions, special offers and live experiences to the workplace from CPG brands, retail chains and restaurants located nearby,” says President Shelly Sekki. “As for methods, our marketing programs often feature a print component where we hand out coupons and special offers to participating workplaces.”
WorkPlace Impact’s success can be traced to its effectiveness as a word-of-mouth marketer.
“Research shows the average American mentions a brand or product more than 16 times a day and just by virtue of how Americans spend their time, a lot of those conversations are happening in the workplace,” Sekki says. “When we bring a brand into the workplace, we’re entering an environment where people trust each other for recommendations.
“Sometimes people have no idea what other businesses are along their commute or close to their work, so we’re spreading awareness of those businesses in a really unique way. We’re able to offer something really special to working consumers and they remember these marketing interactions. There really isn’t anything else like it.”
One of the most successful programs was for a national drug store chain and it encouraged employees to get flu shots from their local stores, Sekki says. Programs can include tasting parties, coupons for discounted lunch or dinners, or free samples. Though the headquarters are in Mentor, the company has representatives across the country that meet with brands. Notable clients include Campbell’s, McDonald’s, Rite Aid, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Subway and Buffalo Wild Wings.
McCarthy says that the opt-in membership from employers has always been well-received. Many view WorkPlace Impact’s offerings as a perk for employees. These perks are a welcome addition in a day and age when trimmed down workforces means those who are employed are doing more with less staff and employees are spending more time at work.
“Businesses today want to offer their employees more special perks than they did in the past, and those perks can be as simple as inviting a brand in to hand out samples and take photos,” he says. “Employers are increasingly focused on making their workdays an enjoyable experience for their employees, and today they seek out our benefits more aggressively. A few free sampling parties can go a long way in boosting employee morale.”
Sekki says as the business continues to evolve, WorkPlace Impact is growing its experiential marketing capabilities to include social media marketing and working consumer interviews, both of which McCarthy credited to the company realizing two new products the month prior to the interview.
“I can only foresee our niche growing. Brands are pouring their marketing dollars into digital and mobile advertising,” Sekki says. “Good and fine for them, but what the consumer sees is more and more advertising crammed into their personal lives and online experiences.
“It’s overwhelming. The workplace is an alternative to this environment; it’s uncluttered, and working consumers trust the brand messages they receive from their employers.”