A recent survey of over 300 marketing executives across various retail and manufacturing sectors – including retail, food, beverage and more, revealed that 82% of the respondents identify Shopper Marketing as being vital to their long term success.

So what exactly is Shopper Marketing? Well like a lot things today there are no shortage of definitions. I like this one the best:

“Shopper Marketing is understanding how one’s target consumers behave as shoppers, in different channels and formats, and leveraging this intelligence to the benefit of all stakeholders, defined as brands, consumers, retailers and shoppers.”

Reading that definition it’s no wonder more than 80% of the respondents find Shopper Marketing to be so vitally important and why 95% of the respondents are actively engaged in it. I mean, who wouldn’t want to understand their target customer, how they behave across a seemingly endless amount of platforms and then use that information accordingly? Retail marketers and their agencies surely would…

It also seems these executives who’ve deemed Shopper Marketing to be so important, are putting their money where their budgets are as over 75% of the respondents indicated they allocate at least 5% of their marketing budget to Shopper Marketing. Now I realize 5% may not be worth doing a cartwheel over but maybe it is when you compare it the 69% and 56% who stated this in 2010 and 2009, respectively. And the trend seems to be going up for when asked if Shopper Marketing will get significantly more resources and focus, 28% say that is already happening, while nearly half of the respondents (47%) predict more investment within the next two years.

Alison Chaltas, Executive Vice President with GfK Interscope, who conducted the survey, sees a bright road ahead for Shopper Marketing… “Shopper Marketing is starting to drive innovation and we‘re starting to get results. Those are all great things for the future,” she said.

Going Mobile…

We are, as I just wrote in a post just a few days ago, addicted to our cell phones, mobile phones, smartphones and whatever name you want to refer them by. Ours is very much a mobile and digital world and as such two of three respondents (65%) “agree” or “strongly agree” that digital/mobile will transform shopper behavior in the next four years.

I happen to disagree with Gary Schanzer, Executive Vice President at GfK Interscope who called the 65% a “big number.” I think that number is way too low as I am of the mind that not only will digital and mobile technologies transform shopper behavior in the next four years… it already has.

I will agree with Mr. Schanzer however when he says “… almost everybody says we lack best practices for leveraging digital/mobile in store. We haven’t learned enough yet. We have to have a lot more trial, a lot more understanding of what works and what doesn’t work. So there’s a big opportunity in the industry. The place to start is with the commitment of people, organizations and resources. We have long way to go. There is lots of room to grow and get better as an industry.”

It would appear additional survey findings support this…

  • 33% of those responding to the survey say they are dedicating less than 1% of their marketing budgets to digital/mobile
  • 48% “disagree” or “strongly disagree” with the statement that their organization is prepared to manage impact of digital/mobile
  • 53% “disagree” or “strongly disagree” with the statement that their organization dedicates adequate focus and resources to leveraging digital/mobile

The commitment Mr. Schanzer speaks of is precisely what is needed today. A commitment of retailer marketers and their agencies to fully embrace the fact that understanding how to best utilize mobile marketing and mobile advertising in the retail space will be paramount to the ultimate success in the Shopper Marketing arena.

So, what do you think of Shopper Marketing?

Is it the next big thing or just an over hyped marketing phrase?

Have you, as a retail marketer, used Shopper Marketing?

Sources: shoppertech.org, consumergoodsclub.com, Why Retail Marketers Need To Be Practicing Shopper Marketing, The Ongoing Love Affair With Our Mobile Phones