NEW YORK: The Hershey Co., the chocolate manufacturer, has deepened its understanding of the central touchpoints on the path to purchase – a move helping the firm optimise its marketing budgets.

Tony Mardegain, the company's director/shopper insights, discussed this subject while speaking at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Audience Measurement 2015 conference in New York.

More specifically, he drilled down into a consumer research initiative, conducted with Copernicus Marketing Consulting, that covered all key accounts and retailers, as well as different trip types.

"Despite the fact that shoppers were being exposed to many touchpoints throughout their path to purchase, the reality is they were seeing – and utilising – about three on an average trip," he said. (For more, including further research results, read Warc's report: Hershey refines touchpoints of consumer engagement.)

The firm's analysis also addressed the huge range of factors that can influence customer decisions, including everything from paper and digital coupons to advertising, shopping apps and social media.

And using an approach from Copernicus called "Totally Unduplicated Reach and Frequency", the organisation learned it could engage the bulk of its audience via a core mix of channels.

"With about six touchpoints, we can reach 80% of shoppers on an average trip," Mardegain informed the ARF delegates.

In a highly competitive category, Hershey – which, alongside its eponymous brand, makes products like Reese's, York Peppermint Patties and Twizzlers – had clear aims in mind from boosting its touchpoint knowledge.

"To drive greater market baskets," Mardegain said, "our goal is to understand which touchpoints drive the greatest reach of cost at purchase.

"Leveraging these truths is key to the local foundation of some key principles that help us optimize our budgets."

Data sourced from Warc