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Meredith Corp. Buys Hyperlocal Deals Provider Grocery Server

The women’s mag publisher is pushing deeper into the local ad space.

grocer coupleMeredith Corporation has acquired shopping deals platform Grocery Server, as the company continues to expand its role as both a women’s magazine publisher an integrated marketing company.

The company’s Meredith Digital unit began working Grocery Server technologies in April 2014. The two have partnered on shopper campaigns that include modifying the traditional coupon in ways that uniquely reflect the respective look and feel of desktop, tablet and mobile for brands such as Target, Unilever and Del Monte.

Building A Digital Shopping List

In essence, Grocery Server combines hyperlocal targeting for a range of consumer packaged brands and retail outlets to reach consumers with time-sensitive product offers at the exact moment they are developing weekly shopping lists and navigating grocery aisles.

The purchase is also builds on Meredith’s wide range of integrated marketing offerings, which first germinated when it bought mobile marketing firm The Hyperfactory in 2009.

The initial idea, which has been adopted by rivals such as Condé Nast, Time Inc., Hearst Magazines, and most particularly on the local level by Gannett’s G/O Digital, was intended as a way to use the sales and marketing strength of the original print media business by getting more deeply involved in the planning and execution of digital advertising. After all, who knows an audience better than a publisher?

“Hyperlocal advertising tends to cost less because it targets a smaller, more select audience,” Jeff Anulewicz, executive director of Strategy & Analytics for Meredith’s MXM Mobile & MXM Social units, told us  when asked to explain Meredith’s approach to hyperlocal. “This greater targeting provides greater relevancy, increasing our odds at gaining consumers’ attention. Plus, by potentially geo-fencing competitive stores or areas, hyperlocal advertising becomes a great conquesting tool.”

Grocery Server ad sample
Grocery Server ad sample

Founded On Coupons

Bainbridge Island, WA-based Grocery Server was founded in 2011 as Qponix (sounds like “coupons”) by retail marketing executives Corbin de Rubertis, Paul Davis (who previously started the similarly focused MyGroceryDeals.com), Kevin Thomas, and John Scott.

The company evolved from MyGroceryDeals with a more mobile-based agenda. The goal was to capture the quickly shifting behaviors of on-the-go, value-minded shoppers, “90% of whom are using their devices to make more informed purchase decisions in the aisle,” Grocery Server notes, citing stats from research firm L2.

According to Allrecipes 2015 Digital Grocery Shopping Behaviors survey, “loyalty savings” (75 percent) and “need for a recipe” (77 percent) were the top reasons smartphone-toting supermarket shoppers add items to their cart.

Meredith Eyes CPG Expansion

“This acquisition allows Meredith to extend our leadership position in the food and CPG space by offering our brand and retail partners, and the media agencies that represent them, a scaled digital shopper marketing platform that quantifiably lifts key purchase funnel metrics and drives a demonstrable ROI lift on their media investments,” said Meredith Digital President Jon Werther, in a statement.

While financial terms weren’t disclosed, Grocery Server’s DeRubertis and Thomas will oversee Meredith’s Shopper Marketing unit and will move their offices to in Meredith’s Allrecipes Seattle office.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.