Is Shopper Marketing the Missing Link to Higher ROI?

By: Alejandro Martinez, Director, Market Intelligence at Dieste

Most people confuse shopper marketing with retail activations or in-store marketing, but that’s only a small part of it. Shopper marketing is much more extensive, and if done right, can deliver a higher ROI than many other marketing alternatives.

Some experts think that P&G started the shopper marketing revolution when they came out with the two “moments of truth” concept (first moment of truth–FMOT is when you’re at the point of sale and need to decide what brand to buy; second moment of truth–SMOT is the after-purchase experience with the product). P&G realized that if a brand wasn’t winning at the point of sale, then all the effort of spending millions of dollars to create awareness and/or communicate product innovation would go down the drain. P&G was especially frustrated because most diaper and baby product sales at Walmart were for lower margin products.

So, to win at the FMOT, P&G partnered with Walmart to leverage each other’s strengths and grow the category. Special in-store Baby Centers were created and soon thereafter consumers started spending more time and money around these products. This initiative went far beyond some additional displays at the store. It involved supply chain integration efforts, and a deep understanding of the consumer and shopper. Needless to say, this was profitable for both Walmart and P&G.

Since then, the path-to-purchase model has become more elaborate. There are new versions where there’s a Zero Moment of Truth (coined by Google), and described as the research you do before you go into the store; as well as a Third Moment of Truth (coined by Pete Blackshaw–ex P&G) which is when your customers become fans and engage with the brand on social media.

These path-to-purchase models are becoming increasingly popular as a tool to understand and influence the shopper, and a great complement to consumer research (consumer behavior is not always a predictor of shopping behavior). But as shopping becomes more experiential and social, the quantity of influences and interactions a consumer and shopper have with a brand increase exponentially. Now, if you think figuring out the path-to-purchase for your brand is easy, just think of mapping ALL the influences your consumer has in an average day and how each one interacts with each other. Then, figure out how that plays out for each one of your brands and channels where your brand is available. Next, customize the plan according to each retailer’s unique positioning in the marketplace. Finally, figure out how to positively influence the shopper along the different stages of the path-to-purchase. Not easy. To figure out what, where, and when your shopper buys you need business, consumer, and shopper insights from different parties/sources to tie everything together.

Where most marketers miss the mark is that shopping marketing is a strategy, not a tactic. Shopper marketing programs should be built around shopper and business insights in order to be effective. Objectives should be fully aligned with brand management, sales management, retailers, and agencies involved. For brands to reach a higher ROI they need to look at retail (brick & mortar, and online) from a more creative and solution-oriented point of view, since that’s the unique place where sales and marketing happen at the same time; and since shopping can take place at any moment. Only then can brands truly understand and influence the shopper along the path-to-purchase.

To learn more about consumers and their shopping journey, follow Dieste Inc. and be sure to subscribe to Provoke Weekly for the latest trends in multicultural marketing.

Alex is the Director of Market Intelligence at Dieste 

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