Family Dollar solves the value equation: Quality, social recommendation and local understanding

Stephen Whiteside

Defining exactly what "value" means to a brand's core consumer is one of the most important – and difficult – tasks facing any marketer. Having served low-income shoppers for more than five decades, discount retailer Family Dollar has now distilled this idea down to a precise equation:

Value = ((Quality x Experience)/Price) x Word of mouth

Jocelyn Wong, Family Dollar's chief marketing officer, outlined the firm's attempts to act on this formula while addressing the 2014 IRI Summit – a conference convened by insights group IRI and held in Orlando, Florida in March 2014. And she drew the delegates' attention to an important feature of this proposition: "I can tell you, at Family Dollar, it's not necessarily just about price."

That is not to say price doesn't crop up in Family Dollar's research – but it is also far from the only front-of-mind issue. That news was surprising to Wong, who previously worked for companies like Procter & Gamble and Safeway prior to joining Family Dollar in 2012. "As I've come into this role, I've had to really rethink what value means. Because I came into this role thinking it was just about price.