Study Finds Advertisers Don't Quite Get Shopper Marketing

Shoppers window shoppingWhen it comes to shopper marketing--reaching consumers when they are actually in shopping mode--a new study shows that major advertisers still have a lot to learn.

Part of the problem is that while both retailers and marketers agree that it is primarily the marketers' job to bring consumer insights into the planning process, there's a fair amount of misunderstanding about what that means, says Bonnie Carlson, president of the Promotion Marketing Association, which fielded the study.

"Consumer insights are great, and it's important for marketers to know the psychographics and demographics of their customer. But shopper insights are different. That same consumer can actually be in multiple shopper mindsets even in a single week--she shops differently when she's doing a major shopping trip on Saturday than she does when she's in a rush to pick up dinner after work," she says. And retailers and marketers need to collaborate more closely to understand those mindsets--whether that means dual focus groups, or joint exit interviews.



"Retailers are doing more to get those insights, but they aren't necessarily sharing them with marketers," she says.

Done right, she says, shopper marketing--embraced by 60% of marketers in the PMA survey, while 94% of retailers believe that their competition is already doing it--"is all about making it easy for shoppers, so things like packaging and store layout become very important."

An example of a program done well, she says, is a little kitchen set up by Nabisco near the dairy case: "That puts its crackers near the cheese, and its cookies near the milk. It can both surprise and delight a shopper."

One surprise in the study, she says, is that both retailers and marketers named increasing sales as the No. 1 goal, and two-thirds of each group says they have achieved them. "We thought they'd say it was all about ROI, and profitability," she says.

Metrics are also an issue. Only one-third of both retailers and manufacturers report that they agree on the metrics for evaluating programs even "most of the time," while nearly two-thirds of marketers say they only reach agreement with retailers about how to measure success "occasionally" or "never."

Overall, she says, the study points to a greater need for alignment: "Both sides need to move a little closer together."

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