11 November 2010

3 Reasons You Should Care About Shopper Marketing

This blog has always been about the complete range of ways to connect marketers and consumers. The definition of advertising includes all channels: broadcast media, promotion, direct, digital, word of mouth – everything.

Near the top of my list has always been Retail, with a bit of amazement that Digital seems to trump Retail in trade publications, at industry conferences and across the general buzz of Twitter feeds.

This week Retail won a moral victory. According to a Booz & Co. survey, major manufacturers expect Shopper Marketing to grow faster than digital, social and advertising. You can see two articles about it here and here, and the report is available here in PDF form.

Why you should care about Shopper Marketing

There are at least three reasons why advertising people should care about Shopper Marketing.

1. Your clients care about it. If you advertise a product sold at retail, think about the fact that your clients have clients, companies like Walmart, Kroger and Dollar General. Like you, those retailers want to sell a lot of your clients’ products. They also want to drive traffic to their own stores and increase the cash register ring for each customer. All of this is Shopper Marketing. Most advertising sells only the product; Shopper Marketing achieves objectives for the retailer as well as the customer. It’s not just a matter of shelf talkers and floor signage, it’s a strategic approach that approaches consumers when they are really shoppers. The Booz & Co. survey predicts that as Shopper Marketing rises, trade spending will decline. I’m not so optimistic, but if it happens, then retail will become more strategic and much less about pay-to-play.

2. Your competition is using it. If you’re a great advertising person, you’re helping your client identify a clear consumer insight, develop a compelling strategy, write a smart channel plan, and produce creative that’s memorable and persuasive. If it works, your target consumer will go and buy the product. What happens, however, if on the way to the shelf she sees some other offer or information that leads her to buy a competitive product? You will have been outmaneuvered. This is a wide battleground: Shopper Marketing vet Chip Hoyt points out that "the shelf" isn't just in a store, it can be at home or on the go.

3. Consumers take it seriously. It sounds trite but the store, however you define it, really is a medium and consumers engage with it. My colleague Jim Lucas observes that 110 million U.S. households make an average of 120 store trips a year, which means 13.2 billion chances to sell. Especially in a tough economy, consumers will read the circulars, cut the coupons and stop to see the end-aisle displays. In addition, one of the points made in the Booz & Co. study is how consumers research their options before making a purchase, using product information or pricing available on the Internet. Aha! I knew it. Digital does play a role! Yes, it does. If you work in a digital agency, you should be especially mindful of Shopper Marketing.

Take time to learn

Shopper Marketing has a place in the marketing mix just like any other channel. Take the time to learn about it so it doesn’t become a strategic blind spot. We’ve suggested some resources in the past (here, here and here).


  1. Steve,

    Very interesting post! Definitely gonna return for more soon.

    I would also like to invite you to have a look at my blog on shopper marketing:


    Hope we can exchange some ideas in the future!



  2. Thank you Johannes...I like your blog and am now following you on Twitter @shoppernewsblog.