Mike Anthony @ engage consultants

Mike Anthony on Shopper Marketing

When The Shopper Isn’t The Consumer

with 41 comments

When shopper marketing first became a ‘buzz’ there were lots of people using the term consumer when they really meant shopper, and I would politely, but firmly point out the difference. After many years of beating this drum, I’d have hoped by now that the point about the shopper not being the consumer would, by now be well made, and now be part of common practice.

Apparently not. Whilst a couple of years ago now, in  2011, Joe Tripodi, CMO of Coca Cola: “Shopper marketing is simply a detailed understanding, culled through insights of how consumers make choices, and what they respond to”. Today on their website, Nielsen understand that their panels track shopping behavior, but they call it a ‘consumer panel’ . Whilst Wikipedia isn’t necessarily the most reliable authority, their definition of Shopper Marketing (understanding how one’s target consumers behave as shoppers…) is quoted by, amongst others, the Canadian Marketers Association and the Institute of Promotional Marketing. A google search for ‘Consumer in the store” reveals a glut of agencies who purport to be shopper marketing experts, yet still apparently haven’t got this simple distinction. It appears my 2013  prediction will almost certainly not come true

No. Shopper Marketing is not about understanding how consumers make choices. It is about understanding how shoppers make choices, and then creating a marketing mix (that’ll be a shopper marketing mix) which affects the desired changes in their behavior. Is this semantics? Far from it. Let’s explore why.

The Shopper Is Not Always The Consumer.

In every category we’ve studied, some of the people buying are not buying for themselves. Every category (and we’ve studied a lot). In many categories (toys for example) the number of shoppers who are not consumers is very high. In some markets almost half of male personal care products are bought by women. Whilst researching our upcoming book (Click here for an introductory chapter), I spoke to Hans Hallen, of Carlsberg, and in the beer category, whilst the majority of beer in the home is drunk by men, decisions about stocking up are often made by, you guessed it, women. Even in an intimate and highly personal category such as feminine hygiene, there are a small number of people buying for others (mothers and embarrassed husbands, typically). In every category the story is the same. Some shoppers are not consumers.

So what you might ask? Well… Surely as a target, someone who uses your brand must be different to someone who does not. Their experience of your brand is fundamentally different, and therefore the approach you make must be varied.

Different activities might be required

If the shopper isn’t the consumer, some of that expensive shopper marketing efforts may have a limited impact. If you want to market a new beverage in a store, then wet sampling is a great technique – get people to actually try the product there and then, and assuming its great they can buy it. But amongst shoppers who are not consumers, this tactic will be less effective. As will product consultants, who typically talk a consumer story. As a shopper I might quite like the look of a new product, but if I’m not the consumer it isn’t necessarily so that I have permission to switch to a different brand. Communication messages that are ‘consumer targeted’ can’t be directly delivered. Let’s go back to sanitary towels. How many guys here would be brave enough to go back home with a different brand because “the lady in the store recommended it” Thought not!

All of the above we know to be intrinsically true. But whilst CMOs and authorities such as Wikipedia, indulge in this lazy approximation, marketing effectiveness and efficiency will not be optimized. What happens to the money that is targeted against the “consumer in the store” but hits the “shopper who isn’t the consumer”? It is much more likely to be wasted.

No. Consumers are not the same as shoppers. They are not. Moms buy for kids. Daughters buy for granny. Husbands buy for wives. Consumer does not equal shopper. A consumer choice is different to a shopper choice. So what should a shopper marketer do about it?

Insist on accuracy

Risk being called a pedant. Insist that the word ‘Shopper” is used when talking about purchase. Politely correct the guys from the agency when they talk about consumer decisions in an in-store environment. No need for a soapbox – but do insist.

Write to Wikipedia and ask them to sort it out already

I’ve tried. Maybe if a few more people did things might get changed

Check the data

If you have data that suggests all of your consumers buy for themselves, check the sample. Often consumer research deliberately selects people who are purchase decision makers too. This therefore becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and proves nothing.

Check your marketing mix

Based on this, work out whether your activity requires the consumer to be present. If the consumer isn’t present in the store, can a message be sent to the consumer via the shopper (e.g. giving samples to take home rather than in-store sampling: or leaflets versus signage).

Check the mix by channel

Different shoppers will be in different channels. If one channel has lots who are buying for themselves, this might require a different marketing mix versus channels where shoppers are buying for others.

Evaluate differently

I know that many of you don’t have this type of data, but even so, you can build your thinking into the way you evaluate activities. DO certain activities require the consumer to be present? Do these work, or not work, versus activities that do not require the consumer to be in the store? Does the performance of these activities vary by channel? Create some hypotheses around this and test with future activity. Shopper data is great, but the absence of data doesn’t mean there has to be an absence of insight too.

Whilst often the consumer is the same person as the shopper, they are sometimes not. Make sure, as a shopper marketer, you are clear on who you are marketing to, otherwise you risk wasting at least some of your marketing spend.

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Written by Mike Anthony

April 3, 2013 at 9:00 am

41 Responses

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  1. Mike, you are absolutely correct. It astounds that this still needs to be explained and pointed out to industry members. However, the mistake continues to be made – so the need remains.

    David Zahn

    April 3, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    • Hi David,

      Everytime I present this at a conference I half expect to get laughed at because what I am saying is so obvious – but it never happens because whilst we intuitively know it, the “consumer” language has been so all pervasive for sixty years that too many people are stuck in the “consumer in the store” paradigm. Check out how many ‘shopper marketing’ agencies use that line. Terrifying!

      Thanks for reading, commenting, and hopefully spreading the good word!

      All the best,

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      April 4, 2013 at 7:33 am

  2. Currently in the middle of a large pet food insights project. You don’t get more separated in terms of shopper and consumer than that. Interesting fact I uncovered. Although pets generally don’t care for the taste of mint, doggie chews are often sold flavoured with same to appeal to the human shopper rather than the doggie consumer. Shopper preference projection is an interesting psychological field! The world is indeed truly mad…

    Ken Hughes

    April 4, 2013 at 1:21 am

    • Hi Ken,

      Thanks for sharing – would love to understand the rationale (real or hindsight) behind the minty pet chews!

      By the way, my cat loves mint!

      All the best,

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      April 4, 2013 at 7:34 am

    • Don’t recall that I’ve seen info about dogs not caring for the taste of mint – I’ll have to check that out. Causes me to wonder why dogs seem to go nuts over the #1 green chew on the market, along w/ its copycats. Nonetheless, the pet category is certainly a classic example of one where the shopper and the consumer are very distinctly different – perhaps even more so than the baby food category.

      Jackie Bunnell

      April 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm

  3. Thanks Mike. I feel your pain as terminolgy and peoples lack of understanding of who they are talking about does rather muddy the issue. My only add to your comments is that in fragmented trade and developing markets the shopper is in most cases the consumer ( particulary in beer) and in some cases that happens at almost the same time. I have found that just getting the teams to think about decisiion making rather than “shopping” helps to de-lineate the issue.

    All the best

    Chris

    Chris Connor

    April 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks very much for contributing, and thanks too for the empathy! Your points about different channels, and different markets are really interesting, and broaden this discussion significantly – thanks. This happens in lots of categories – channels have fundamentally different shoppers: with different missions, and different brand experiences. A man buying himself a beer to drink now in a Convenience store in Thailand, versus a woman, buying the same category, for her husband to drink, in a supermarket just down the road. And yet too often the marketing response appears to be largely the same by channel…

      Your point about decision making is a good one – and there are consumption related decisions (what do I drink) versus purchase related decisions (what do I buy)… As long as we understand that, understand how these decisions are made, and by who – then I think we’re taking a big marketing step forward.

      And a quick question – where do you see most “purchase by a shopper who is not the consumer?”

      Thanks again for your contribution – very much appreciated!

      All the best,

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      April 8, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      • I once was studying female beer shoppers and discussing ‘agency’ shopping. There emerged 4 typologies of confidence when it came to the shopper choosing a different brand on a good promotion over the requested brand from the consumer in grocery in Ireland. They described it by in-store communication levels to the spouse. Some just bought the good offer on behalf of their spouse with a “sure he’ll drink anything” justification. The next group sent him a text saying “this is what I’m buying instead” – they didn’t really want a reply and had put it in the trolley anyway, they were just ‘covering themselves’. They still felt they ‘knew best’ but were simply acknowledging the other party . The next group ‘phoned’ the consumer from the store to ensure the substitution was acceptable, and the last group simply bought what was requested in the first place and ignored the offers – what did they know about beer and best to get what he asked for in the first place. Apart from the sexism, there thus emerged a ‘continuum’ of acceptability for female agency beer shoppers in terms of substituting in-store. The work went on to then explore, in a lot more depth, what made each of these typologies tick and how to leverage and unlock growth therein. Worth sharing I think as beer came up above …

        Ken Hughes

        April 8, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      • Hi Ken,

        Thanks for sharing In work we’ve done in Asia (to Chris’ point) in hypermarkets, we saw plenty of “he’ll drink anything”

        I particularly liked the idea of the different communication modes they could take – especially about the ‘covering oneself’. now I often do this if I’m out buying under instruction from my wife! I’ve also done the ‘phone home’ too!

        Interesting case of technology making the connection between consumer and shopper so much easier!

        Thanks for sharing (and how is the time machine coming along??) 🙂

        Mike

        Mike Anthony

        April 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm

  4. I’m not sure we’ll ever “fix” this issue, and maybe we that’s what keeps us in business? But it can be frustrating having to constantly differentiate with marketing and insights colleagues.

    However, I have found that talking about Shopper + Shopping Occasion (or Mission) and Consumer + Consumption Occasion does begin to allow people to understand the different types of research, communication and product design that they should be thinking about.

    For example, a “Consumer Insights” person will traditionally be responsible for testing and evaluating packaging – but packaging has as much if not more to do with shopping than consuming, and in some cases (e.g. cooked foods, and in the above case of dog food) nothing at all to do with the actual consuming. However I have often found “pack test” research being done in complete isolation of the shopping mission, and even in the worst cases recruiting consumers and not shoppers of the product.

    Its good to know that we’re all in this together and if we keep reinforcing the differences and the opportunities then we’ll maybe win over a few more people.

    Maria Manly

    April 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    • Hi Maria,

      Thanks for this – it is frustrating, but I think part of this is because there really isn’t a cohesive model that is being systematically applied to the Total Marketing challenge. Shopper stuff is often bolted on to an existing consumer approach – the attitude sometimes akin to “oh, right, you do that shopper thing – that’s the in-store bit right?’ and then it is handed off.

      My experience is very close to yours – there are two marketing challenges: change consumption behavior and change shopping behavior. That’s it. Can’t do one really effectively without the other (definitely can’t consume more if more is not bought, and in the long term, shopping stops if consumption doesn’t match it).

      What is required is a new look at that marketing task, to see which elements of the marketing mix have to work for the consumer, which for the shopper, and which for both. Packaging is a great example: it clearly has to work for both (and has to work pretty hard in lots of other ways – I posted here about why on earth packaging is so often passed to the most junior of marketers!

      The two marketing tasks are separate but interlinked. The Shopper Marketing Revolution is more about the impact on marketing and how marketing needs to change, than it is about shoppers!

      Thanks – as you say – nice to know we are not alone!

      Mike Anthony

      April 10, 2013 at 7:49 am

  5. Hi Mike,

    What do you think about the shopper from channels like Cash&Carry? Due to the fact that here we have more types of customer branches (HoReCa, Trader, SCO) we find a shopper that is influenced not only by the product, but also by his shoppers. Should we approach this particular case in a total different way?

    Thanks.

    Ciprian Vintila

    April 12, 2013 at 4:04 am

    • Hi Ciprian,

      Thanks for the question…

      Yes, Cash & Carry is very different (though in many parts of the world a significant amount of sales in hypermarkets is to trade too). In my experience the philosophy is the same – every store has a different mix of different shoppers. Treating them all the same is daft – and therefore the cash and carry customers need to be segmented too… Hypermarkets in Thailand have separate sections of the store for trade customers, recognizing a split between trade and ‘shoppers’.

      So the approach is the same – segment and target – but clearly the activities you would use in any channel should vary based on the shopper composition.

      Hope that answers your question – let me know if you need more.

      All the best,

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      April 12, 2013 at 8:29 am

  6. Hi Mike,

    compliments on the article! A “Ghost” we are hunting for years. Shopper marketing is such an important piece of the total marketing tools. We often forget that aiming fi commercials towards the consumer (fi a beer commercial) a lot of times does not reach the shopper (in this case the woman). We (Boost Shopper Marketing) work for many years for Heineken on shopper activation and we’ve seen many of these cases live. And it learned us a lot on these mechanismes.
    Lets spread the word!

    cheers,

    Paul

    paul

    April 12, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for the compliments, and for taking the time to write – much appreciated. Total Marketing is the way forward, and both consumer and shopper marketing have their place within it.

      Anything less simply isn’t enough anymore!

      Keep up the work and keep spreading the word!!!

      Cheers

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      April 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm

  7. Pet food is the best example I’ve heard that drives clarity in your point about how shoppers and consumers are not necessarily the same. Clearly our pets are not shoppers yet they, we hope, consumer what the family shopper buys on their behalf. Shopper marketing is about appealing to the shopper for the home, including in this case the family pet. It is amazing the distinction still remains so unclear even among the ‘experts’, but as you point out, it’s essential.

    Larry Wilson

    April 12, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    • HI Larry,

      Thanks. You are correct, Pet food is an obvious example, but one that also confuses:

      It confuses some because it is so extreme, so people treat it as an exception.

      It also confuses as people may argue that actually the housewife is the consumer, or user, as she does the feeding. The same is said about babyfood.

      The reality is that in both of these categories the actual consumer (animal or baby) has a say in brand choice (there are plenty of sniffy cats and a vomiting baby communicates its needs well) – and therefore infuences brand success as does the shopper.

      Thanks

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      April 14, 2013 at 8:09 am

    • I agree with Larry above. I would put pet food first, followed by baby & toddler categories, such as; nappies, baby formula. I also think that toys are another good example.

      Paddy Carmody

      April 14, 2013 at 8:40 am

      • Hi Paddy,

        Thanks for this – I worked in Toys over a decade ago and it was one of the first areas that really started me thinking about users versus shoppers. These are all good examples – but the most important point for me is that this is true in every category – there are always some shoppers who are not consumers… sadly whilst those working in petfood probably know it, often others tend to forget!

        All the best and thanks for contributing!

        Mike

        Mike Anthony

        April 15, 2013 at 11:57 am

  8. Great discussion! Agree with the dialogue. After years in the business of understanding consumers and shoppers, my hope is we can put them back together someday and recognize both are essential to understand and measure in our Marketing Mix measures. One observation: Households have spheres of influence; and often shoppers have more power. They have the power to change the HH’s voice, by overriding requests while shopping. Even among HH’s, some consumers have more influence on shoppers within HH’s and are more critical to marketers. We don’t currently measure these dynamics. The emergence of decision science is helping us focus on spheres of influence. Second observation: we still operate under the theory, if we can’t measure it…it must not exist. Shopper marketing programs are in great need of enhancing ROI metrics, so they can be equally measured like consumer marketing is in sophisticated Marketing Mix models. Excited to see us continue to push forward. Lots of hard work still to do! We’ll let the rest catch-up in the meantime.

    Michelle Adams

    April 15, 2013 at 12:05 am

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks so much for this. I think you raise a couple of really important points.

      The first about shopper and consumer: that there is a danger as we urge people to consider shoppers that these become separated, when in truth marketing excellence must address both. When we created the model we use at engage we worked hard to create a model which does this: separate but together, to recognize that shopping and consumption is different but marketing must do both.

      Your second point about influence is likewise of enormous importance. So often we see shopper needs trump consumer needs – and that decisions are actually often a blend of both (regardless of whether the consumer is the shopper or not).

      Its a tough line to take – but we take it because it works well: everytime I talk of integrating there is someone who uses it as an excuse to say that shopper marketing is a waste of time: but I see a perfectly reasonable position where consumer marketing and shopper marketing, can be clearly defined, but also integrated…

      As you say – long way to go, lots of hard work, but what a journey!!!

      Great to have you on board!

      All the best,

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      April 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm

  9. I do agree about this article and would like to comment that most of fmcg marketing decisions had been driven for years (and remain in most of the some cases) by consumer attitudes feed backs ( focus groups ex.) which may differ and vary a lot from a category to another, from a shopping environment to another, and that only solid shopping decesion tree models based upon in-store observations or lab.tests may highlight.

    vincent haguet

    April 16, 2013 at 12:16 am

    • Hi Vincent,

      Thanks for contributing – I agree – whilst there is more and more effort being put into really understanding shoppers, it is still tiny compared to the spend on consumers. And the number of times I see consumers being asked shopper questions is really scary….!

      All the best,

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      April 16, 2013 at 6:53 am

  10. Hi guys,

    Shoppers are shoppers and not/never consumers, shoppers are motivated and influenced differently to a consumer. Why… ? because a consumer is about needs firstly but secondly benifits. Shopper.. thats were needs and benifits are combined with price and thats where therefore the value for money propositions influences the decision.
    Simply put out of the store/showroom its is about needs (including things like image these days) and benifits but instore or on the showroom is where price is introduced and this additional information induces a new thought process

    Allan J

    April 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    • Hi Allan,

      Thanks for joking the conversation.

      You are right – that in a store they are shoppers – they are not in consuming mode. The point I was making is the difference between a shopper who is also the consumer.

      I’m not see I totally agree with what you are suggesting – that the primary difference between a consumer and a shopper is “price” – this is part of the truth but in my experience there are myriad differences between marketing to shoppers and to consumers.

      If you want to know more do let me know.

      Thanks again for joining in.

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      April 18, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      • Hi Mike,

        Thank you for the feedback, I agree with all that you say, especially the importance of the shopper who I believe as a result of becoming marketing wise, is becoming more influential than the “consumer”. Purchase is becoming more important than demand. Born out by brand money moving from media to packaging and Point of Purchase marketing.
        In terms of price, this is largely inroduced to the shopper at the point of purchase and therefore creates a value for money element into the buying decision not present oras highly relevent to the consumer.
        Point of purchase marketing is also a unique skill set, incorpariting elements of both sales and brand marketing but unique because it is targeting the ‘shopper’ not the consumer or the customer.

        Great discussion and incredble relevent.
        Regards, Allan

        Allan J

        April 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      • Hi Allan,

        Thanks again. Your points on price are really important – interesting that pricing decisions are often made by consumer marketers based on feedback from consumers base on sampling the product.
        Terrifying!
        Thanks again!

        Mike

        Mike Anthony

        April 19, 2013 at 8:40 am

  11. Great threads. I am glad that I read all of them(?). My conclusion on this Ying/Yang is you have 411’s and 911’s and they can and will be measured by that magic formula the SALE? This is no chicken and egg puzzle the consumer is first! Analogy, we all need to consume oxygen……but there are those who will shop for a better place to breathe. I turn left when entering a store just too prove the Marketeer’s that I have a choice.

    joe
    Area Code Shopper

    joe underwood

    April 22, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    • Hi Joe,

      Thanks for joining the discussion. Agree – the consumer comes first. Without consumption very little of value happens. The opportunity I believe is to better understand what happens between a consumption need and that all important sale… and what roles consumers and shoppers play in that.

      Thanks again,

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      April 23, 2013 at 7:51 am

      • Recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the National Marketing Director of a Billion Dollar Manufacturer/Distributor of fencing materials and discussing the importance of the “Consumer”! A quote, “The consumer makes the wheel turn but our local merchant/supplier makes our phone ring!” Being a local merchant/supplier for the products of this Billion Dollar company I asked what partnering expertise can you provide so that the local consumer can contact me so that I can make your phone ring? Basically the canned response, e.g., competitive pricing, product availability, etc. My response was I can get the same service from 6 similar companies! Again, I asked about partnering?

        Mike, so if consumer/shopper is the ying and yang why is it so hard for a Billion Dollar company (s) to implement partnering efforts?

        joe
        Titan Fence, Inc.
        Area Code Shopper

        joe underwood

        April 23, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      • Hi Joe,
        That’s a pretty big question!

        I think part of the answer lies in how you described the company – “Billion Dollar Manufacturer/Distributor” – I guess this is how you see them – how do they see themselves? Businesses who define themselves as manufacturer/distributors (either in what they say, or more importantly, in what they do) are dinosaurs who will ultimately fail (as soon as a competitor gets really good).

        They have survived thus far because manufacturing, distributing used to be enough. For many industries (and I’m no fencing expert) this is no longer enough. Marketing to consumers is also no longer enough for some.

        Just because there is a better way, it doesn’t mean others will take it. As long as partnering efforts are seen as costs, then this will continue. Many companies continue in their current way because ‘it works’ – not realizing that there may be a better way – or that perhaps it doesn’t work as well as it used to.

        I guess they continue because they can – for now. Because they see no need to ‘spend’ in this area. Because they either feel they don’t need to, or that they don’t feel that they would get a return on investment. Or because they see themselves as a manufacturing company, not a “market serving” one.

        One day, they’ll realize they need to change…

        Mike

        Mike Anthony

        April 24, 2013 at 7:57 am

  12. […] whether shopper marketing is strategic or tactical, especially following Mike Anthony’s post on whether shoppers are consumers or not.  The major fact of the matter is that shopper marketing has been mis-defined for too long. […]

  13. i think one reason for limited progress in shopper centric marketing is because marketers are struggling to balance the in-store marketing mix between shoppers who are consumers and shoppers who are not.
    Even when we know that shoppers are a mix of consumers and non consumers, it is a challenge to develop communication for one brand targeting two segments. Can we have an in-store marketing mix targeting two shopper segments, i.e. wife and husband for the same brand?

    Chamari Fernado

    May 4, 2013 at 9:10 am

    • Hi Chamari,

      Thanks for this. Like in any marketing it is difficult to manage more than one target in the same space: you are right when you identify this as one of the biggest issues.

      In my view the starting point is creating clarity of what the objectives are, and then to understand the ideal marketing mix to achieve both objectives: then to see if there is a major conflict, and how could this be mitigated. Changing media to one that can be tuned to different audiences would be a good example: in-store staff could feasibly identify who they are talking to before communicating, for example. If the conflict between the two marketing mixes is too great, then they should be prioritized…

      Hope this helps!

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      May 6, 2013 at 1:29 pm

  14. Wow. Such an interesting discussion and one that would love to bring up at our next industry forum. As a manufacturer and marketer of foods targeted at the age if many MGBs, I often hear our fellow consumer marketers telling us our consumer is our shopper therefore why is shopper needs different? The conversation string above has got me thinking about how we can create a frame of reference around the shopper and their shopping mission which takes into account their total basket expenditure in context with their other category purchases where every purchase decision for that mission will ultimately ladder up and have an impact on that one particular product at that time. For example, As a consumer, I absolutely might prefer Brand X however based on the previous purchase decisions I.e. number of items in my trolley/basket, or other ‘offers’ within context of the retail environment, in conjunction with how much money I have available to spend, my particular ‘consumer’ preferences at this point of time may be swayed to something else which delivers to my immediate priority such as managing my trip spend… Therefore the question becomes, how do we market our brands to build such brand loyalty that they don’t become compromised by external factors

    Charlie

    May 6, 2013 at 2:25 am

    • Hi Charlie,

      Thanks for contributing!

      The shopper/consumer one is difficult for many – and you add some really important points. As marketers we get myopic – and we begin to believe our own hype. We actually believe that our brands are ‘the most important thing’ in the consumer’s life. This is often not true, and this is no more true than in the store – where your beautiful brand may be just one of many things in my mind.

      Understanding this – understanding where you fit into the overall shopping mission is the first step. Then, as you say – we need to work out what to do about it.

      By the way – what is the industry forum you refer to?

      All the best,

      Mike

      Mike Anthony

      May 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm

  15. […] whether shopper marketing is strategic or tactical, especially following Mike Anthony’s post on whether shoppers are consumers or not. The major fact of the matter is that shopper marketing has been mis-defined for too long. Without […]

  16. Here in the Middle East, I reckon Shopper marketing in the truest sense is still in its infancy, so we are smack bang in the middle of the shopper/consumer debate, thus essentially living the struggle you describe.
    And to build upon the many examples where the shopper and consumer are different people, we have situations here where the man of the house might shop for the family or when maids/drivers are sent with lists – these lists may mention a specific brand or stop at the category/sub-segment/pack format level. The maid might be familiar with the brand at sight but could sway towards lookalikes and may not consider price as a decision variable, for example.
    Also, most of the discussion has centered upon situations where the consumer and shopper are different people (or species!). But even when they are physically the same person, they could behave as different creatures. At certain levels, the consumer tends to choose via selection while a shopper might choose by deselecting (eliminating) within the clutter.

    Great discussion!

    Sandeep

    May 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    • Hi Sandeep,

      Thanks for this – and thanks for your examples of when the consumer isnt the shopper – sometimes the ‘instructions’ are very clear – sometimes not so!

      And of course the shopper is the consumer many times – but as you say, that doesn’t mean that they can be treated the same. i deliberately focused this post to highlight the fact that the shopper isn’t always the consumer – take a look at my latest post about what happens when they are the same people

      Mike Anthony

      May 9, 2013 at 7:05 am

  17. […] may be able to recreate it in their stores, but they are the exception. Out there in the store the shopper may not even be the consumer.  But even if I’m the end consumer, I’m now in shopping mode, not loving mode…. And […]

  18. […] the debate around consumers and shoppers not being the same (Mike has explored this extensively here), this definition implies that shopping happens in a store. The Wikipedia page goes on to quote […]


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