Why Shopper Marketing matters

Ever since I took my role on the Wal-Mart team, I’ve had people want to know more about what a Customer Team Marketing Manager really does. The short of it is that we do Shopper Marketing. We are Brand Managers that are tasked with translating a national marketing campaign into a shopper relevant campaign at Wal-Mart. At P&G we like to talk a lot about how 70 percent of all purchase decisions are made at the shelf, at the First Moment of Truth. So what that is saying is that for all the Billions of dollars we spend on traditional media, only 3 out of 10 consumers actually know the product they are going to buy when they walk into the store. The rest have a chance of being persuaded at shelf, which explains why we are putting such a renewed focus on design. But it also explains why we are leading the charge in Shopper Marketing and restating how in-store marketing is accounted for in our total ad spend.

So what exactly is Shopper Marketing? Well I define it by a pretty wide net. In its most basic definition, it relates to any marketing that happens in-store, ranging from merchandising and displays to at-shelf education like shelf strips. But Shopper Marketing really means more than that. What Wal-Mart is doing with category adjacencies and store layouts is shopper marketing because it makes the shopper experience better. The warmth of a Potbelly store and clean design of an Apple store are Shopper Marketing. And Amazon.com’s recommendation engine is shopper marketing because it can translate to you buying more books, music, etc. So in the end, Shopper Marketing is leveraging the store as a marketing medium to influence shopper purchase decisions.

As the marketing landscape continues to change and fragment, shopper marketing will become increasingly important. Additionally, as the results of P.R.I.S.M roll-out over the next year, marketers will have an enhanced understanding of the return on investment that Shopper Marketing delivers. This type of visability with shopper marketing will require a understanding of how to create a win/win for both our brands AND our retailers. After a little over a year of being “on the ground” at Wal-Mart, I have become a passionate advocate for shopper marketing and a true believer. Anyone in marketing (be it Brand Managers, Agency Partners or Students) need to develop an understanding and competence in shopper marketing if they hope to succeed. Mark my words, knowing shopper marketing is going to be as important as understanding a great :30 second TV spot was for the past 50 years.

One Response to Why Shopper Marketing matters

  1. Christina Downey says:

    Here is hoping more brand managers understand the importance of the retail environment and how one consumer can be 5 or more different shoppers and that while advertising can be more “sexy”, time and dollars must be invested to understand that consumer as a shopper.

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