A new blog series on Shopper Marketing.

By Cyndi Pyburn

There’s a lot being said about shopper marketing these days. It seems that every trade magazine, webinar and vendor discussion touches on shopper marketing in some way.  It is the ‘hot topic’.  Welcome to Behind the Shelf where I’ll be bringing clarity to this murky topic with definitions, tools, and examples to help you convert more purchases within the in-store environment.

Brand marketers spend millions on marketing campaigns to get in the minds of consumers.  However, at the store, with so many skus, shoppers spend nano-seconds at the shelf.  Messages can be overwhelming.  Often shoppers leave in frustration without purchasing the intended, well-marketed product. No wonder there is a high level of failure among new product introductions. Think of all the money and effort that goes into successful brand positioning and advertising work to:

  • Develop a unique selling proposition
  • Connect with consumers with an emotionally compelling message
  • Motivate purchase

Only to have it all fall apart at the store ….the place of purchase.  Time pressed consumers with aisle blindness and on auto-pilot are not going to search patiently in a grocery store for a particular product ….they’ll buy a substitute or simply move on.

Enter, Shopper Marketing.

Shopper marketing is an insights-driven marketing and merchandising initiative to satisfy the needs of targeted shoppers by enhancing the shopping experience and improving business results (and brand equity) for both retailers and manufacturers.  While this may seem logical and straightforward, it is anything but.  Over the course of this series, I will help by bringing clarity to shopper marketing and help you navigate your way through it.

Marketers and retail partners are embracing a new ‘go-to’ market strategy – one that is focused on in-store elements of the marketing mix.  The end-in-mind is a strategic collaboration to improve shopper experiences and drive category and cross-category growth.  The hope:  superior ROI.  Does new thinking need to take place?  Perhaps reverse engineering by considering the retailer environment first and then work back to other communication mediums.

It’s happening:  When it comes to brilliance in marketing, often there is no one that rivals Procter & Gamble. And in the arena of shopper marketing, they are clearly a leader and an innovator. Over the last few years P&G has redefined shopper marketing in a number of ways.  First, P&G’s concept for further conquering the world of consumer packaged goods is the First Moment of Truth (FMOT), the 3-7 seconds after a shopper first encounters a product on a store shelf.  It is in these precious few seconds, P&G contends, that marketers have the best chance of converting a browser into a buyer by appealing to their senses, values and emotions.  They put into place a 15-person FMOT department in its headquarters in 2005, as well as 50 FMOT leaders stationed around the world.

Secondly, in 2010, P&G’s new approach to marketing campaigns is called “Store Back”.  The concept is pretty simple. Marketers and agencies need to have the end-in-mind when they are developing ideas. All marketing efforts need to start with how it will be executed at retail and then work backwards to outside the store.

The Bottom-Line.

The evolution of shopper marketing is best understood as an ongoing drive to deliver and capture even greater value from manufacturer and retailer collaboration.  But, as you will learn in this series, it is a practice that requires investment and discipline.  Next time you are grocery shopping, think about your experience.  Is the retailer and brand truly earning your loyalty or are you on auto-pilot?