Mike Anthony @ engage consultants

Mike Anthony on Shopper Marketing

The hidden danger of shopper marketing

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Shopper marketing is about shoppers not retailers.

It just struck me. I was scanning an article on Hub magazine; a useful resource if a little US-centric ; about the fact that shopper marketing initiatives and the fact that many of them end up being with the big guy retailers (how many articles quote P&G Wal-Mart shopper marketing partnerships?). The article goes on to argue for the smaller guys, and is well worth a read here.

Wow!. Think about it. At engage we talk about one of the benefits of effective shopper marketing is better returns on investment; but if shopper marketing is encouraging people to put money in the same big retailers, and potentially faster – wow –  that could be dangerous.

  • Are the big retailers the best place to market to shoppers?
  • Are they the most collaborative?
  • They have lots of shoppers, sure, but do they have the right shoppers?
  • Are they the place where you are most likely to get the best return on investment?

    Wal-Mart - getting more than their fair share of shopper marketing attention?

And of course in many parts of the world, there are thousands, millions of small independent retailers where your brands are bought by – yes you guessed it – shoppers. If we are marketing to shoppers we have to start way before the retailer – four steps earlier in fact.

This is the heart of our five step approach. Know the consumption opportunities first as this helps you understand which shoppers are important and to segment them effectively. Only then can channels (outlets) be prioritized. Then, with a clearly defined in-store marketing mix, and only then, can we consider whether investment in a particular retailer is likely to deliver a return on investment.

By focusing on stores/channels/retailers that have a high density of our target shoppers, have a track record of delivering, are happy to consider pilots; will supply data, and are a little more risk averse, you are much likely to get a better return on investment.

Or we can carry on whining about the cost of working with the big 3/5/8 and the high costs, low risk attitude, and poor ROI – whilst still pouring more money in (to them) and out (of our budgets).

If shopper marketing processes begins with the retailer, they run the massive risk of driving more money into retailers which are large, but typically are less flexible, often less profitable, and less likely to deliver a return on investment. Shopper marketing done badly can make matters worse.


Written by Mike Anthony

March 10, 2011 at 9:20 am

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