Mike Anthony @ engage consultants

Mike Anthony on Shopper Marketing

Shopper Solutions – Is that it?

with 7 comments

As always, the latest report on shopper marketing from GMA has much to commend it. Some fantastic data about the uptake of shopper marketing amongst the largest consumer goods companies, and some useful insights (e.g key challenges include the ability to integrate consumer and shopper insights).

But the key thrust of the document – that the next step of the evolution of shopper marketing is something called shopper solutions, got my alarm bells ringing. According to GMA/Booz, shopper solutions are “insight-driven events that often feature two or more products that shoppers can purchase together.”

One example from the document a “pizza night” –Pizza, Coke and Ice Cream from Coca-Cola and Nestle. The idea is simple, and I am sure effective. People buy more because it simply meets a shopping need. Another is from Conagra, offering meal suggestions and bringing all of the ingredients together in one place.

So far so good, but wait a minute – haven’t we seen this somewhere before? Meal suggestions? Ingredients together?

Sainsbury’s in the UK created recipe cards as far back as the 1980’s – I personally remember back in my biscuit marketing days in the early nineties working with them to create recipes, merchandising solutions and advertising (yes, on TV) to promote a marscapone cheesecake which used our ginger biscuits in its base (check out the recipe here.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not criticizing these activities. They are smart, insight driven, and I am sure effective. But if the latest evolution of shopper marketing is largely the same as what “trade marketing” was doing in the nineties, then Shopper Marketing has a problem! If like me, you believe that Shopper Marketing has more to offer than this, please let me know!


Written by Mike Anthony

January 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm

7 Responses

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  1. Hi Mike…It does sound a bit same old…..agree we are seeing “new improved” approaches with consumer insights to develop the idea and multiple channels to promote it. My fave is the DOT award winning Hershey’s / Kraft Smore’s program / display…Strive calls it (MVP) Multi-Vendor Packaging …also love that a retailers can insert their private label brand. Does SM have more to offer…absolutely…there are so many other better examples of brands and retailers coming together….let’s also not forget how important execution is in all of this. There are some incredible improvements in technology, process and approach to help brands get their displays and message up in store and infront of the shopper. It’s all about right time, place and message….if the display or sign did not arrive or get put up in the right place…it’s game over. How sad that we are still seeing compliance rates ( display put up/product on shelf) of under 30% for most brands who promote in retail.

    Richard Lane

    January 21, 2012 at 1:52 am

    • Hi Richard,

      Thanks for the comment – and totally agree… Shopper Marketing can, does, and will do so much more than this; it seemed surprising to me that this was being vaunted as “the next big thing” – which I really don’t think it is.
      And as for compliance – don’t get me started!!! The topic of a future blog or two, for sure. Where did you get the 30% statistic?



      Mike Anthony

      January 23, 2012 at 11:47 am

  2. Hi Richard,
    Totally agree that this is not new. Shopper solutions were being executed many years ago. Kraft had their meal solutions end cap program over 10 years ago. Retailers have been creating meal solutions for years. I have seen some new more exciting things to create loyalty. I like the MyLowes program, as well as more creative solutions such as making donations to a cause in customers’ names instead of providing discounts for higher income shoppers.

    Lisa Rider

    January 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for the comment and the good examples of other shopper programs. I have to say I was surprised that GMA should focus on this particular aspect of shopper marketing and call it “the next step in the evolution”. Surely Shopper Marketing can create something more than this?

      Maybe GMA simply couldn’t find another story? What should that story be?

      Mike Anthony

      January 24, 2012 at 7:27 am

  3. The difference is that simply placing products together was Shopper Marketing 1.0 a la Trade Marketing. Shopper Marketing 2.0 which is the much smarter way forward is to mine the shopper data and then to offer a total solution wrapped a relevant product occasion as per CCE and Nestle; therefore grounded in shopper insight.

    Helen Bennie

    January 29, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    • Hi Helen,
      Thanks for your comment.

      I’d like to think you’re right – in fact I know you are right in as much as the true differentiator of shopper marketing versus what went before is the application of insight which makes it “marketing”. I also believe that understanding how products could be used (cheesecake), helping people create it (recipe card) and promoting this (TV ads) is also shopper marketing. Insight is the common differentiator, for sure; I just question whether these examples are really “the latest evolution”.

      Perhaps I simply believe that shopper marketing can do much much more. I’m passionate about Shopper Marketing, and the idea that others who are perhaps more skeptical might read the GMA 5.0 report and wonder “Is That It?” is just awful – hence the post!

      Don’t get me wrong – shopper solutions are great – and the examples used by GMA are excellent work – but if shopper marketing wants to sell itself to the world, I believe that there needs to be more than “Pizza Night”!

      Thanks again,


      Mike Anthony

      January 30, 2012 at 7:53 am

  4. […] as I argue here (Shopper Solutions Is That It?) – there is more to shopper marketing than that. Making a shelf easier to shop: clearly […]

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