BrainTrust Query: Unchain My Cart! Why Shackle Shopper Marketing?

Discussion
Apr 18, 2011
Carol Spieckerman

Through a special
arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article
from newmarketbuilders’ blog.

Shopper marketing should be confined to
the store (after all, isn’t it
just another name for in-store marketing?), while consumer marketing should encompass
everywhere else. This latest weigh-in on the hotly contested shopper marketing-versus-consumer
marketing front came from Crosby Renwick, managing director of strategy and research
for CBX Strategic Branding, in his session at this month’s GlobalShop conference, Shopper
Marketing: A Revolution in Need of an Objective
. Mr. Renwick believes that
one of the reasons why shopper marketing has been unable to affect “revolutionary
change” is because these boundaries are being violated on a regular basis.
If shopper marketing is to get back on course, attention must swing back to the
shopper “in the aisle.”

Oddly enough, I’ve spoken with plenty of
people who believe that the universally accepted definition of shopper marketing
is in-store marketing — as recently as last week, someone asked me with great
puzzlement, “How could it be anything
else?” I’ve spoken with others who consider it to be any marketing that
a shopper might encounter. A Google search of “shopper marketing” will
easily justify either position (and a few in between). If shopper marketing
once suffered from a lack of definition, it’s now plagued by assumptions based
on the many definitions that now exist.

Here’s my take…

In a shopping environment driven by touchpoints (apps, social
media, interactive advertising, stores, call centers, and websites, among others)
rather than channels, shopper marketing should evolve into a process-based
discipline, encompassing shoppers’ entire “path to purchase,” from
awareness to purchase, no matter where each step occurs. However, instead of
dismissing in-store marketing as shopper marketing 1.0, it makes sense to trot
it back out as a place-based subset of shopper marketing. After all, the exploding
numbers of potential consumer touchpoints haven’t rendered physical stores
obsolete — they’ve
arguably made them more important than ever. How else can we explain retailers’
new frenzy over physical formats?

So, in-store marketing has been with us ever
since some bold retailer hung a shingle and put thought into how his wares
were arranged, and shopper marketing is the evolution that will encompass all
shopper touchpoints, both old and new.

Discussion Questions: How should shopper marketing be defined? Should in-store marketing be a separate focus area within shopper marketing?

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20 Comments on "BrainTrust Query: Unchain My Cart! Why Shackle Shopper Marketing?"


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Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
10 years 21 days ago

I’ve always thought of shopper marketing as taking category management back to its original triad of manufacturer, retailer, and consumer. In shopper marketing, we have shifted the focus of category management from the manufacturer-retailer leg of the triangle to the retailer-shopper leg.

From a manufacturer point of view, all we’ve done is recognize that category management can’t happen in a vacuum–you also need the shopper insights to create an effective store section that works well for all three parties.

Does this mean that shopper marketing is distinct from consumer marketing? Hopefully not–they are two pieces of the same triangle. Does it require separate skills or specialists? Probably does, but as part of the same marketing team.

Dan Frechtling
Guest
10 years 21 days ago
I agree with Carol. Shopper marketing is about a mindset rather than a place. Consumer marketing occurs when brands interact with consumers as they go about their lives. Shopper marketing is when brands interact with consumers while they go about shopping. The definition of shopping is multi-faceted because it includes both planning and buying and is increasingly multi-channel. Here are a few observations: 1. Buyers increasingly behave cross-channel. 70% of shoppers research grocery products online, according to Prospectiv. Shoppers use multiple channels when purchasing, whether ordering online and picking up in-store or price checking items on mobile phones while in-store. 2. Communications about the store reach shoppers pre-store. Paper circular CPMs can reach $100, while web and email digital circulars are low single digits or lower. Carl Schlicker, COO of Ahold USA, recently predicted the paper circular would be extinct in 5 years as more shoppers opt in to digital. 3. Leaders in shopper marketing are integrating communications along the path. Geoff Jackson of Campbell Soup Company encouraged agencies to merge their unique paths to… Read more »
Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
10 years 21 days ago

I respect the question but I’m not sure there’s much to be gained in answering it. The lines between the store and all other channels are blurring so rapidly, I’m not certain that we can narrowly define Shopper Marketing as a separate discipline or set of metrics. And I think the best retailers totally understand this.

There are no longer any brand channels only touch points and every touch point is part of a 3 dimensional continuum that all shoppers/consumers proceed through on their (often unique) path to purchase.

Ben Ball
Guest
10 years 21 days ago
Thanks for a thought provoking discussion Carol! Maybe it is just because I spent my morning drive to work contemplating the implications of new snow on the ground on April 18 in Chicago (and why the heck I’m still here)–but a new thought on this topic hit me as I read it. So I’ll try it out on the forum and see what you folks think. The difference hinges on the definition of “consumer” vs “shopper.” Posit that one remains a consumer up to the time they are considering what ITEM to buy (e.g. I need a vacuum cleaner). Any message I receive during that period that says “Hoover is good…” may influence my opinion of Hoover, and it may get me to put Hoover in my choice set once I decide to buy a vacuum–but it won’t make me run out and buy one. Once the decision to buy a vacuum is made, I become a shopper. Which vacuum, what style, where to buy it, etc., all become shopping decisions. If you accept that… Read more »
David Zahn
Guest
10 years 21 days ago

As we (as an industry) come to recognize that the shopper can’t be managed (in fact, the shopper manages US to accomplish their tasks or jobs), and get our heads out of the sand (managing categories works real well UNTIL the shopper comes down the aisle and decides to make a decision!), we may finally come to recognize we exist to SERVE the shopper and not the other way around.

Call it what you choose–our commandment or our mission is to make it easier for the shopper to buy what we sell. After that, it is all commentary.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
10 years 21 days ago

There’s a whole different angle here. The kinds of marketing described here are both push marketing. What retailers need to master is the art of “pull.” They need to listen to customers more effectively and address their needs. Amazon, for instance, now allows customers to subscribe to certain products and receive them on a regular basis. That takes marketing to a whole new level.

James Tenser
Guest
10 years 21 days ago

The boundaries of shopping vary by product, occasion and individual. For categories with sufficient emotional or financial importance to merit pre-planning and consideration, shopping frequently begins (and sometimes ends) well outside the store.

It’s up to merchants and marketers to sort out the variations among purchase moments and enduring purchaser attitudes and to choose when, where and how to exert persuasion. That, to me, is Shopper Marketing–a very fluid discipline indeed, but one that incorporates advertising, promotion, merchandising and selling in appropriate proportions at appropriate moments along the journey from formation of intent to desired action.

Certainly this type of thinking shifts the focus back toward stores. But to decide that Shopper Marketing is merely a fresher nomenclature for old-style in-store promotion would be to sell out the idea’s towering potential. At its best, Shopper Marketing should introduce selling into the equation, while redefining the scope and boundaries of the selling environment to include the spaces within stores and the spaces within skulls.

Kudos, Carol, for a very thought-provoking take on this topic!

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
10 years 21 days ago
“Shopper marketing” is just plain old “marketing.” The definition provided, “from awareness to purchase,” is closely aligned with the definition of marketing I gave my students while scrabbling together a marketing doctorate at the U. of Texas shortly after the earth cooled. We broadened it a bit, however, adding research and product development to the front end and post-purchase satisfaction research and reinforcement communication to the back end. To try to extract a segment called “shopper marketing” from the total marketing effort ignores the fact that shoppers are involved from the very beginning research and product development stages clear through to the purchase satisfaction stages. As we defined it at Catalina Marketing, in-store marketing is just that, a selling communication segment that is part of the total marketing plan and is delivered by the store environment whether it is B&M (location, inside and outside signs, displays, salesmen, etc.) or the virtual walls of a computer monitor. In response to the question posed for this discussion, in-store marketing should not be separated from the overall marketing… Read more »
Anne Howe
Guest
10 years 21 days ago
Shopper marketing has evolved to be more focused on path-to-purchase versus just in-store because the leading edge providers are attempting to truly be more shopper-centric. And their efforts are working. The shopper does not receive or perceive any marketing communications from a brand or a retailer in a “siloed” way. Companies default to this siloed thinking because it’s hard to un-bundle planning behaviors and put them back together in a workflow/process that is shopper-centric. The companies and agencies that have evolved early to shopper-centric planning/activation can be found on the top of the list in the fourth year ranking of top shopper marketing practitioners recently announced by The HUB magazine. These companies (with consultants/agencies) have build frameworks and processes to understand where and what consumers do that is shopping-mindset related across the path-to-purchase. They also understand why. And, they know from data and insights work exactly how much effort and investment to apply across the various elements of the path-to-purchase. And, they’ve insisted that their agencies and support partners plan and activate from a shopper… Read more »
Bob Houk
Guest
Bob Houk
10 years 21 days ago

The problem with defining shopper marketing as ‘anything that touches the shopper’ is that everything (all forms of advertising, promotion, events, PR, etc.) touch the shopper. And a definition that excludes nothing is not a definition.

I see shopper marketing as the intersection of trade promotion and brand advertising–it is in-store marketing that is intended to not only create immediate sales–generally the purpose of trade promo–but also to build/maintain the brand.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
10 years 21 days ago

The shopper is the one who is choosing or ordering and paying for the item. Whether that person is in a store buying dog food or online buying dog food, that person is still the shopper and the end consumer is the dog. Just because the person may be purchasing the item outside the store does not eliminate the “shopper” label.

Herb Sorensen
Guest
10 years 21 days ago
So there was a three car pile-up on I95, and all four shoppers were rushed to area hospitals! Come on! I know about the convergence of all the shopping modes, and have no objection to considering purchasing at Amazon, shopping. But when we are talking about bricks-and-mortar, shopping ONLY occurs within the four walls of the store. There are two major problems here. The first is that everyone is a “shopper,” even in bricks-and-mortar stores. And everyone thinks they have a least a good understanding of their OWN shopping. WRONG! The subjective ideas that people offer to explain even their own shopping are absurd. But what is even more absurd is the wide attitude that it is not. The second problem is that unless you have made extensive, quantitative observations and measurements inside the store, real stores with real shoppers, you’re pretty much a “desk” researcher. And it really doesn’t matter how many hundreds of millions the other “desk” people control and spend, and redefine consumer research as shopper research, they will still be rubes.… Read more »
Ryan Mathews
Guest
10 years 21 days ago

I agree with Anne–it’s all about path to purchasing. I also agree with those who note that the notion of channel is getting less and less useful.

Marketing at the end of the day is all about getting to the customer and triggering a buy. That’s just a bit more complicated in today’s world.

Nancy Liberman
Guest
Nancy Liberman
10 years 21 days ago

First and foremost, love the title of your piece, it truly made me LOL!

I am in full agreement that Shopper Marketing needs to encompass every touchpoint along the path to purchase. That path is more complicated, non-linear and more fluid than ever. With ~80% consumers starting research online, yet continuing to buy offline, it’s important to see the similarities between the two environments.

Store aisles and shelves are akin to category searches and search results online; end-cap displays and other in-aisle advertising work identically to banner and other display ads. For merchants, it’s important to recognize the similarities and implement channel strategies to reach a single set of goals. For consumers, they’ll get a more consistent experience with your brand.

Charles Billups
Guest
Charles Billups
10 years 21 days ago
EMarketer today reported that US online ad spending increases are led by retailers with 20% growth. CPG companies who were late to the game are now increasing their spends by about 10%. Mobile is not included here. Are those digital increases “brand” marketing? Almost certainly not–they are designed to drive an action; to effect shopping momentum to a “consumer.” Much of it will be linked to a specific promotion or even a coupon. My point of course is that there is a point that a consumer becomes a shopper. At that point, a marketer must market to them as a shopper. There are so many ways this shopper can be influenced negatively (by you or your competitors) or positively. The marketers job is to close the sale all the way down the path to purchase. Shopper marketing is path to purchase marketing (Great post Anne), and as such is more complicated than many of us envisioned just a couple of years ago. Right message, right place, right time–same is true of “brand” marketing or “shopper”… Read more »
John Karolefski
Guest
10 years 21 days ago

Shopper marketing involves all of the touch points along the path to purchase, and nowadays is not confined to in-store marketing.

One step along this path has not been mentioned by anyone in today’s posts. This step is what the folks at Google are calling the Zero Moment of Truth, which precedes P&G’s famous First Moment of Truth. This new step is online search.

More and more shoppers are going online to research products (by brand and category) and reading product reviews before going to the store. And it’s not just for consumer electronics and the like. For example,they are looking for the best food recipe ingredients and researching the various brands and types of OTC medicines for ailing children.

Marketers would be wise to get in that conversation in this new step along the path to purchase. It is part of today’s shopper marketing.

Peter Breen
Guest
Peter Breen
10 years 19 days ago

Mr. Renwick also seems to be forgetting that the “shopper” increasingly is doing more and more purchasing outside of the physical store. If you sit in the aisle waiting for them to come, you won’t reach all shoppers.

The essence of shopper marketing is a focus on the needs of shoppers rather than the business objectives of brands and retailers (or brand managers and buyers). A brand-specific coupon dispenser at the shelf isn’t shopper marketing; a bundled offer on ingredients for a nutritious meal is.

And if you run that bundled offer on Kroger’s website instead of inside its stores, it’s still shopper marketing.

Brian Ross
Guest
10 years 18 days ago

To unlock the full power and potential of shopper marketing, it must be defined through the eyes of the shopper–not by arbitrary boundaries. True shopper marketing focuses on all aspects of the path to purchase and beyond and not just what happens in the store. This starts from understanding the shopper, their trip missions, their choice of retailer, how they shop the store and brands to their experience and behavior post purchase to restart the virtuous cycle. The promise of shopper marketing can only be achieved by putting the shopper at the center and not be constrained by traditional structures or silos.

Dean A. Sleeper
Guest
Dean A. Sleeper
10 years 13 days ago
This little pup is obviously ripe for debate! What fun! I find much to agree with in many posts, in fact more than usual. Ironically I find much to disagree with in more posts than usual as well! I guess that is symptomatic of the highly-contested topic itself. I agree deeply with Mr. Frechtling that shopper marketing is not about a place. But I don’t believe it’s about a mindset as much as a behavior. If my wife bought something every time she thought to…we’d be broke! I certainly agree that the imperative is a coordinated framework for messaging. Who cannot at least wonder if Mr. Stephens has hit it on the head questioning whether “…there’s much to be gained in answering it.” Mr. Ball dances nicely with the nuances of a given human moving in and out of consumer or shopper…but I would suggest that a shopper is a consumer who is shopping. Somewhat different is the idea that a consumer is inherently not a shopper, but at any given moment may become one.… Read more »
None Here
Guest
None Here
9 years 8 months ago
If I habitually shop for a brand because it fits either my needs or the needs of the consumers I’m shopping for, then a coupon at the shelf to buy 2 instead of 1 IS a strategy that very much fits the needs of this shopper. It may not be sophisticated, but getting it cheaper will definitely fit my needs. Are “nutritious” foods the only ones that meet shopper needs? Better tell the packaged goods and cured meat industries that they aren’t worthy of shopper marketing efforts. We’re all consumers. We’re not all shoppers. I once saw an antacid product sponsor a, hmmm, tractor pulling contest circuit. In this case, the consumer and advertising target is obviously gluttonous MALES. But who buys antacid in grocery stores and pharmacies? Females concerned for the well-being of their families, I’ll bet. The tractor pulling advertising message that targets males doesn’t work for the in-store display targeted at the female care giver. If females are the principle grocery shopper, who buys beer in supermarkets? The consumer is definitely male.… Read more »
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