Shopper Marketing = Direct Marketing for Retail Brands

The problem with what is seen as a “fashion” name such as Shopper Marketing is that everyone seems to want to offer a different definition. Look at any of the Marketing blogs and you can see what I mean. All of which leads to a real confusion in the hearts and minds of the potential user.

Digital Marketing is similarly problematic. Digital is a channel, not a branch of Marketing. Still, as everyone understands that it is a carrier of Marketing messages, no-one argues too much about current usage.

Shopper Marketing is simply Marketing with Shoppers as a target. You could leave it like this and agree with the faction that is denying Shopper Marketing a separate label. However, closer inspection reveals that there are certain things that are unique and different about shoppers that have deserved significant study, and, certainly, reward the marketer who understands the difference with considerably improved results;

Shoppers are on the move to buy

It seems obvious that catching people on the way to purchase is a no-brainer, but much research shows that reminding them – even in oblique ways – leads to significantly increased sales

FMCG Shoppers at retail buy for convenience, so you can confidently predict their destination

If you know the geo-demographic profile of your shopper, you can narrow down the stores they will visit dramatically (think 80/20 rule here). Instinctively marketers know this, which is why they don’t set up Rolls Royce showrooms in deprived area, or advertise them in the Mirror. If you know the core area where your key shopper can be tracked to point of sale then you have another driver working to multiply the impact of investment……

People talk to each other – on the way, when they arrive, and at home to turbo charge your spend

By focusing all your efforts on your core stores, you will also get the benefit of word of mouth and social media recommendations with a real focus. While everyone views Facebook as a vast international monolith, in use people talk to their friends. Personal recommendation is the single claimed biggest reason for trialling a new product. Focus by area brings its own rewards for shoppers, store and brand.

So what’s different about Shopper Marketing that marks it out from simply Marketing to Shoppers, or any other kind of Marketing,

You can easily measure ROI

Roots of Loyalty

Roots of Loyalty

Shopper Marketing techniques are applied along the path from couch to counter, targeted at defined core customers, tracking their progress to a purchase, and influencingat various levels along the way.

We measure everything against the cost. Which is why I can tell you definitively that Field Marketing can be completely ineffective if it fails to deliver the kind of permanent, positive, change at the facing that is the only thing to catch the eye of the shopper. Meanwhile, at a fraction the cost, an on pack offer (managed through not only brings in 50% new users, gives great insight, but also typically increases sales by 20-30%. And, of course, you can’t miss it.

The precision of the targeting is of a different order to general marketing, that tends to focus on the consumer, what they look like, with a target of influencing, changing the brandgram they use.

All of the key UK retailers share sales data down to store level, so it is a simple matter to track spend vs results.

You can trial before you commit

Focus on your core areas. These are actually a nice compact package of consumers and the stores they shop in. Select from a broad set of options from in-store to posters to targeted social media and sampling. Your control is, of course, the areas that are similarly core, but not one of your trials.

You can understand supply AS WELL as demand

Over the past 20 years the major retailers have increased their market share and generated greatly increased profits by changing their basis of trade from commerce to banking. What this means is that the majority of the profit comes not from the margin on sale but from the fact that they turn over sales faster than they pay. On the basis of reducing stock cover in your core stores, they let your customers down and charge you more – although this has all happened so imperceptibly you haven’t seen it coming. Bringing the discipline of targeted supply chain to support targeted shopper marketing gives the virtual circle. All of which you can measure.

Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving. David Ogilvy

Shopper Marketing is Measured Marketing and meets all the requirements of the DM channel;

  1. You can test including variants
  2. You can roll out
  3. You can get a level of predictability and reproducibility of the results

All of this is the reason we are joining the Institute of Direct Marketing rather than any of the other organisations that run shopper marketing events.

We see the most compelling reason for companies to target shoppers as being you can measure the outcome. Colin Harper

The results then stand for themselves.

We certainly would not still be in the business unless these results comfortably exceeded the expectations of our clients.

Given that you can measure the outcome, then all activity should be measured. Which makes the essential difference to other fmcg marketing activity.