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Shopper Marketing | More Important Than Making a List (and Checking It Twice)

By Tasneen Padiath

I’m no wine connoisseur, so the marketer in me kicked in on a recent trip to my local liquor store.  I considered the attributes I wanted – under $15, preferably red, not too sweet or fruity, a familiar brand name and something that connotes a fun experience. Faced with an array of wines from California to Chile, from Merlot to Bordeaux, I was struck by the enormous difficulty marketers face in differentiating their brands and creating a connection with consumers in the moment.

Granted, I was probably a little outside of the target segment for most wine makers, but what would have altered my decision? A catchy label or even a suggestion from one of the sales people could have nudged me in a different direction. The lesson for me here: while there is immense opportunity to influence a brand decision before a consumer goes shopping, the importance of the in-store experience—whether through product placement, point of purchase signage or a well trained store employee—cannot be minimized.

According to a recent study from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Booz & Company, and SheSpeaks, shoppers choose 59% of the brands they buy in the store. Of those items, 85% of shoppers perceive in-store factors as more influential than out-of-store marketing. After price, communicating benefits on packaging is most influential, whether to reinforce existing brand preferences, drive competitive switching, capture purchase when there is no strong brand preference, or create impulse sales. In fact 77% of shoppers do not take detailed shopping lists into the store. Instead, they use “mental lists” that include “brand consideration sets,” but evolve as they are exposed to more marketing at home, in transit and in the store.

This probably explains the surge in interest from MLC’s membership on Shopper Marketing. We recently hosted a round robin discussion with a few of our CPG members to discuss the future of the function.  We discussed questions such as:

  • Where should Shopper Marketing sit within the organization? (Centralized Under Sales / a Center of Excellence / Centralized Under Marketing)
  • What skill sets should we look to hire and develop?
  • What are the right metrics to measure our performance?

MLC Members, We’re also seeing increased interest from retailers to partner with manufacturers on Shopper Marketing. Look out for more discussion groups from us in early 2010.

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