This week’s article, ‘The Shopping Habit’, provided some great insights around the emerging and constantly evolving discipline of shopper marketing. However, it skipped over what should be a top priority for any marketer trying to engage a shopper audience – the need for collaboration between the numerous stakeholders involved.
Shopper marketing is about the collective and collaborative understanding of several objectives, not all of which are aligned. Brand KPIs are often different to retailer KPIs. And what about the shopper themselves? What do they want?
The agenda for shopper marketers should always be to understand these specific objectives first, then create an activity that everyone buys in to. On many occasions, brands will initiate activity without consulting the retailer, who subsequently rejects proposals. Tactics obviously need to be tailored, for example, promotional activity in categories of low engagement will never succeed as the shopper is less likely to switch brands at point of sale, so we need to get to them earlier.
Understanding and collaboration is key. Shopper marketing is only effective when all parties represented are understood and buy in to the activity.
True shopper marketing specialists don’t believe that there are ‘tricks’ involved. Shoppers (or consumers) will not build trust with a brand if they feel their purchase has been generated through the art of ‘trickery’.
What shopper marketing does serve to do, and what marketeers have been doing for generations, is to better understand the dynamics around a product purchase: be it price, value, usage, image, merchandising or incentive. Shopper marketing, we would argue, attempts to understand a fuller picture to ensure that all parties can benefit.
As shopper marketeers, we observe, we understand, we collaborate and we often need to negotiate; all before we create. This process allows us to better connect and create a purchase, delivering a better outcome for all parties involved, including the shopper.
Simon Tebbutt is head of shopper marketing at ApolloNation.