BrainTrust Query: What’s Your Shopper Marketing IQ?

May 16, 2011

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion
is a summary of a current article from the GfK insights4u blog.

Financial return
on investment (ROI) is an important element of any shopper marketing assessment,
but it only tells part of the story. A true assessment needs to capture both
the short and long-term effects of shopper marketing initiatives, for
the manufacturer and the retailer.

Here are four critical questions brands should

1. Are programs achieving short-term objectives? Measuring short-term
results vary depending on the brand’s primary shopper marketing objectives.
Is the brand looking for financial payout or something else — new product
trial, expanded distribution, share growth, category sales growth? Benchmarks
should be considered carefully. What may seem acceptable in one retailer or
geography may not be enough in another.

2. Are programs contributing to the long-term health of the brand?

  • Awareness – What is the program impact on unaided and aided brand
  • Loyalty – What is the claimed future share of requirements among
    brand buyers?
  • Uniqueness – Does the program help the brand to uniquely own key
    attributes? Do shoppers perceive the brand as differentiated? Do the programs
    help set the brand apart from others?
  • Relevance – How do programs affect purchase intent? How do they help
    the brand to deliver against key purchase drivers?

3. Are programs significantly enhancing relationships with key retail customers? Beyond
the specific business results, shopper marketing programs should move the needle
in how a brand is viewed by its retail customers. Are retail customers bringing
valuable and unique insights to the table? Does the retailer perceive the brand
as the go-to supplier in the category? Is the brand’s role with the retailer
expanding? Is the vendor gaining greater access across functions and at more
senior levels?

4. Are partners’ objectives being accomplished? Similar
to their own objectives, a brand must take a similar approach for the retailer.
How does a brand’s shopper marketing efforts help grow the category? Is it
helping the retailer partner gain share from other channels and competitors?
How does it help grow share of wallet or increase market basket? Does it bring
in critical new shoppers, or drive visits and purchases among their core shoppers?

Discussion Questions: How do you think brands should assess shopper marketing efforts? Are there differences in approaches or goals that affect the ability of brands and retailers to get the most from shopper marketing efforts?

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9 Comments on "BrainTrust Query: What’s Your Shopper Marketing IQ?"

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J. Peter Deeb
9 years 11 months ago

The author has done a comprehensive job of summarizing the main objectives of a brand’s objectives in the lab! In real life the brands–particularly those that are tier 2 or not market leaders–have to put short-term trial or sales boosts as a priority to survive in today’s world of 2-3 brands and a strong store brand in many categories. Just as in trade ads and media programs, there are only so many category partners that retailers can efficiently utilize in communicating with their shoppers. Building trial and sales for the non category leaders is critical.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
9 years 11 months ago

Brand managers need to determine what they want the brand to accomplish–trial, awareness, increased share, increased return on investment–for the manufacturer. Then they need to determine what role the brand plays and what it should accomplish for the joint manufacturer-retail joint strategy. Then specific measures should be established and the appropriate data collected and analyzed. Neither approach alone is sufficient. The joint plans and metrics are at the heart of the collaborative efforts between retailers and suppliers.

Anne Howe
9 years 11 months ago

My sense is that any brands can use the guidelines set forth in this opinion, but the key factor is how you weight the various benchmarks. It would behoove more brands to determine where to win beyond price and short term ROI measures alone.

I believe that many second or third tier brands can engage in a relevant manner with shoppers beyond price by thinking about share of solution instead of just share of wallet or basket. This might mean that many brands have to get outside of their own silo and start to understand where they may fit in conjunction with other products and even services to become more relevant to shoppers today.

Retailers are testing and learning very aggressively across a suite of services that shoppers are responding well to. My challenge to any brand is to not be so afraid to get out of the standard comfort zones and begin to think about other areas that might be worth testing to help discover new routes to growth.

Ryan Mathews
9 years 11 months ago

We are–or at least should be–talking about the intersections of two brands here, the manufacturer’s and the retailer’s.

Shopper marketing results are not “objective” but rather the product of an extremely complex set of interactions between both brands and the consumer.

The easiest metric to use is volume–do these insights and programs drive case movement–but a better one might be looking at how they impact the longer-term brand position of both buyer and seller.

Dan Frechtling
9 years 11 months ago

This is a great checklist that reminds us to look to short term, long term and partner outcomes. As Anne suggests, it works best if tailored. Metrics will vary by situations, which include:

*Objective. Programs supporting a product launch will emphasize trial, those capitalizing on high seasonal consumption may care more about category growth, those blunting a competitor may measure relative market share impacts.

*Category. Short purchase cycle situations will have a better measure of repeat, long purchase cycles will pay more attention to pantry loading. Categories new for the retailer will benefit more from attracting new shoppers.

*Size. Larger brands have higher sales that create conditions for financial ROI, challenger brands may care as much about impacting the leading brands’ metrics as well as their own.

Not stated, but perhaps implicit in #2, is testing and learning continuously. Also worth calling out is the last sentence in #4. “Core shoppers” should also imply outcomes with retailers’ most valuable shoppers where trips and basket deliver the most bottom line.

Tony Orlando
9 years 11 months ago

There is a lot of info here to digest, and all I can add is that it is important for retailers to promote the item properly, or results will suffer. I know there are a lot of ingenious marketing strategies out there, and ROI ideas may vary by each product or company. It all boils down to the end user, and the promotional tools provided to the stores, e.g., cost of goods, coupons, sampling, and ad awareness.

A good followup from the manufacturer is critical to obtain real-world results. Also comparing apples to apples needs to be applied, as many times promotional deals are not always handed out fairly to everyone, and the success is always skewed to the big box stores, leaving out some potential gains for regional stores’ success or failure. Throw me a great deal on a good product, and I’ll give it a chance to succeed.

Ben Sprecher
Ben Sprecher
9 years 11 months ago

I may be stating the obvious here, but the true measure of the long-term effect of a shopper marketing initiative is the actual impact it has the buying patterns of the individual shoppers it reaches.

The promotion and marketing environment in grocery is simply too cacophonous to meaningfully measure unless you are holding out control groups, tracking purchases at the shopper level, running lots of experiments, and following individual shoppers’ change in consumption patterns in the weeks and months after the marketing event ends.

Ralph Jacobson
9 years 11 months ago

I’ll take just one point of the article and respond to item #3. “Are programs significantly enhancing relationships with key retail customers?” For some leading, innovative retailer… a resounding yes! Case in point: Amazon. Amazon has been leading retail of all types, both online and brick-and-mortar, with breakthrough tactics to drive the Amazon brand as well as the brands it sells, as well as its own “Kindle” product.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
9 years 11 months ago
Unless there is a common objective between two parties, they will act on their own best interests. In the spirit of the article, I want to call out one of the critical enablers of shopper marketing and a merge of questions 3 and 4: Collaboration. Engaging the shopper presents a mutually beneficial goal for manufacturers and retailers to rally around and grow. The importance of total category sales vs. comp store sales vs. margin vs. SKU sales, etc, all shift depending on the environment, but shopper satisfaction remains constant and ultimately drives them. A series of actions and events that engages and meets the shopper’s needs is rewarded while those who forget this covenant are penalized. It establishes the metric which collaborative ideas are applied against. It is a daunting task and a continuous exercise that requires input from both sides of the table. Collaboration starts out with short term wins and progresses into a winning relationship. If manufacturers and retailers are not collaborating in the short term, then the good news is that the… Read more »

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