As savvy CPG marketers, we’re all pretty aware that one-size-fits-all shopper approaches are (at best) on life support. Millennial behaviors differ radically from those of Xers and Boomers. The buying dynamics of economic Haves and Have-Nots vary widely. If you’re a brand committed to optimal results, you’re probably already putting serious focus into how you tailor messaging and media to impact your diverse target.
In today’s marketplace however, there are new “divides” emerging that are creating additional diversity among shoppers. If you’re not actively considering them in your plan, your marketing may be literally falling through the cracks—failing to connect with a large portion of your shopper base. Here a few trends that I think marketers should pay attention to:
Men vs. Women. Seems basic, I know, but the world of shopper marketing has historically been focused solely on “her” and failed to consider that men now constitute a third of primary grocery shoppers. Men shop differently and in surprising ways: they’re more analytical and information driven, typically favor value over price, and happily embrace tools like coupons. My advice? Know how important men are to your brand, then make sure your campaigns acknowledge them by 1) not being overtly feminine, and 2) catering to their product priorities and decision-making style.
Live Small vs. Live Large. There’s a philosophical split happening. Millennial families are staying in urban centers (and empty nesters are returning) while others head to suburbia. Many consciously downsize (witness the tiny house phenomenon) while others feel “more is more.” Be certain that your brand wins the full lifestyle spectrum with the right packaging, value proposition, and assortment. At a local level, use store-centric marketing to make sure your messaging speaks to the area’s prevailing preference on life-size.
Digital vs. Traditional Marketing Users. For every person making shopping lists on an app, there’s still someone with scissors and a Sunday circular. A recent segmentation study on shopper media engagement usage showed that – even among those who have smartphones and internet access – only 6 in 10 use digital as an integral part of weekly CPG shopping. What does it mean? To hit a broad audience, your brand will likely need a dual-mode approach to every initiative, with a full-fledged complement of both new-school and old-school media.
E-Comm vs. Physical Store Shoppers. Online grocery is exploding and it’s creating yet another significant shopper divide. While the majority are still brick-and-mortar shoppers covering the full footprint of the store, e-commerce buyers may not visit the store at all. And even if they do (click-and-collect users, for example), it will be a truncated trip. How does it affect your brand? Most likely in your merchandising strategy. Not only where you are in-store (for those who visit), but also where you are online. Simply loading more product on the store floor, in more places, is starting to yield diminishing returns.
The lesson here? Mass often equals mediocre. The shopper marketplace continues to divide along more dimensions, with some so polar-opposite that there’s literally no middle ground. Marketers trying to find and market to the “average” of their audience will often get just that—average ideas, unremarkable campaigns, and average sales. So understand the real diversity of your shoppers—not just their demographics, but also their attitudes, lifestyles, and behaviors. A tailored approach will make sure your marketing doesn’t slip through the divides and instead builds a bridge to big results.