Mike Anthony @ engage consultants

Mike Anthony on Shopper Marketing

Shopper Marketing is not the same as In-store Marketing

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There has been a flutter of questions on various blogs and articles about whether shopper marketing is the same as in-store marketing. Shopper marketing appears to still be suffering an identity crisis, and many argue that limiting shopper marketing to “what we do in-store” at least creates a clear remit and boundary for shopper marketing.

In our work we have discovered a number of key points, which helped us at engage to reach our own point of view on this:
The first question is that if shopper marketing is an “in-store thing”, then does that mean everything outside the store is a consumer thing? This as an operating assumption is flawed at best, and dangerous at its worst.
1. Shoppers and consumers are not always the same person (see the post below). Sometime they are, but often they are not. Assuming that consumer marketing (well targeted at the target consumer, one would presume) and designed to change the attitudes of a consumer, is also going to affect the desired behavior in a shopper is, in our opinion, a dangerous assumption.
2. Our goals with the shopper are different to our goals with a consumer. In the shopper world we are attempting to change their behavior as shoppers; as consumers we want to change their consumption behavior. With two potentially different targets, and with different goals, it is unlikely that the consumer marketing mix is going to be the best way to influence a shopper. Not to say it might not be effective – but is it the most effective way?
3. Shoppers exist outside the store – period. Decisions relating to their shopping are made before they hit the store. Again, ignoring this appears to be dangerous. There may be an opportunity to influence where the shopper goes to buy – which could be highly beneficial to the brand owner. If we wait until we get into the store to talk to shoppers – that opportunity is lost.
All of these point to the fact that there is a discrete target – the shopper. If we, as marketers wish to influence shopping behavior as well as consumption behavior, then we need discrete marketing mixes. Unfortunately, it appears that creating an artificial divide between the land of the shopper and the land of the consumer (ie. the store) missed huge opportunities, leads to dangerous assumptions, and also accelerates the increase in trade expenditure. Shopper marketing must be integrated with consumer marketing. This therefore that “The Shopper Marketing Revolution” is actually a Marketing Revolution requiring an integrated model of marketing that recognizes the need to create a marketing mix which affects positive change on consumption behavior AND shopper behavior.


Written by Mike Anthony

May 3, 2011 at 9:36 am

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