Five reasons why Shopper Marketing isn't as boring as you might think

Cameron Day: director of business development at The Marketing Store
Cameron Day: director of business development at The Marketing Store

Following Rapp's acquisition of Haygarth, Cameron Day, the director of business development at The Marketing Store, explains why shopper marketing is not as boring as you might think.

Given the audience, I am going to start in true cliché advertising territory with a memorable and relevant quote from the godfather of shopper marketing, Bill Bernbach, who once wrote: "Getting your product known isn't the answer. Getting it WANTED is the answer."

1) Shopper marketing is the key to brand "context" and making sense of all of brands communications.

Forget all of the outdated ideas of shopper marketing occupying this slightly bizarre netherworld of trade marketing, in-store media and crude price-led offers, wobblers and FSDUs [free standing display units].

The world of shopper marketing today is much more focused on helping consumers make sense of a brand and a product’s value at a point where that can influence a sale directly or at least a change in behaviour in store, online through social and beyond.

The reality is that all of a brand’s investment in advertising and marketing is either wasted or highly ineffective if it doesn’t begin with a shopper marketing point of view.

Good examples of brands effectively demonstrating the values of shopper marketing currently would be Amazon, Coca-Cola, John Lewis and Nike. It is not a coincidence they are also some of the most successful brands and businesses in general.

2) Shopper marketing is one of the key trends in leading restructuring of the marketing department.

The basic premise of effective shopper marketing is going beyond what consumers say and focusing instead on what they actually do. With the rise of behavioural economics and a post-recession focus from brands on the metrics that really matter (beyond the fluffy brand scores, likes, views) linked to tangible and relevant outputs, we can see a shift in how marketing departments are structuring themselves.

Smart brands are moving away from the silo model of consumer/shopper towards "whole person" marketing driven by an insight led multi-dimensional view of their habits, needs, passions and influences.

Traditional channels have converged. Consumers are in control and have many options for how they interact with brands or retailers. They flip from a brand’s website to a comparison site to a social review, then stop in a physical store. All the touch points are fluid, converged and driven by the consumer.

Our own client Carlsberg conducted a large restructure last year based around this and the Tesco news last week on its appointment of a chief customer officer is a current example.

3) Shopper marketing drives brand experiences into a new sharable space.

In a world where we share our experiences with our friends and peers in the search for validation and approval, telling the story of a unique experience or transaction we have completed is a powerful message.

Take the "share a Coke" campaign from 2013 as a great example of the basics of shopper marketing effectively leveraged by a great marketing organization as the poster boy for this. The campaign demonstrated how positive experiences could be delivered in a seamless and frictionless way at POP [point of purchase] while also influencing on-going behaviour through social accreditation and having a real impact on brand preference.

4) Shopper marketing provides brands the best opportunity to be honest.

We know the great British public is now much more interested and motivated by brands that are transparent about quality and values. They are cynical towards advertising and paid-for media declarations of good intent and instead are much more motivated by labels on food, customer service interaction and real examples of behaviour.

Shopper marketing has a vital role to play to ensure all of those communications are effectively delivered. You only have to look at the disconnect between what the large supermarket chains have been saying versus how they have been behaving to see how not to do it but I think [The Marketing Store client] Sainsbury’s has the best opportunity to translate its brand "value" into key consumer messaging.

5) Shopper marketing can help establish an effective filter against the influx of data presented to us.

One of the big questions posed to marketers over the next five years will be: how do we use and filter this ever-expanding stream of data and information coming our way? Shopper marketing is one of the key ways of filtering this and helping develop "cognitive short-cuts" to help brands evolve effective marketing communications

Consumer needs change not only by the day but also by the hour, influenced by a dynamic myriad of factors. Understanding how to use technology to get relevant information to them in the right way, the right format, and at the right time is the challenge for brands. This puts a premium in understanding needs and behaviours in near "real time".

We have recently worked with Carlsberg on the development of its "Carlsberg fan squad" platform. Trying to find some white space in a world of beer and blokes was challenging but Carlsberg took innovative consumer first approach to engaging football fans in a humanly relevant way using real-time data and insight that delivers unique experiences that importantly link right through to purchase and beyond.

This is an illustration of shopper marketing that has evolved to be effective, sophisticated, smart and honest. Which product wouldn’t want that?

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