Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Future is Shopper Marketing

“Results are only in the marketplace.”
– Sam Walton

The grandfather of modern big box retailing and founder of Wal-Mart said it well. Without the cash rings, you are just racking up costs. And that’s why the future of the marketing organization is shopper marketing and where the best marketers should be headed in the future.

Sounds like an over claim? Depends upon your point of view and what you see as the challenges facing brand marketing in today’s hyper connected world.
If we take a narrow cast view of shopper marketing as being in store POSM then we may see this as an over stretch. But if you view marketing as the science and art of effectively satisfying target consumer demand at the point of maximum influence and ‘driving them to purchase’ – then you can’t get much closer to a definition of shopper marketing!

I was particularly inspired recently on reading an ‘internal memo’ written by a passionate shopper marketer to CEO’s of major consumer goods companies. The rallying cry was “Ground Zero is the cash register – and the cash register should inform the corner office”.  This is not a plea for “spiraling –out- of –control price promotions” but more effective marketing activity.

So in the quest for more effective ways to market brands to consumers in tougher economic times, CEO’s must turn to Shopper Marketing which is THE way to more effective Marketing ( on the demand side at least). Of course this still means that your R&D, Marketing Innovation and  operations, logistics, distribution systems need to be working as well (on the supply side). If you can’t make it and deliver it to where it is available for purchase by your shopper, you have bigger problems to solve than your marketing strategy. In business, you have to walk and chew gum at the same time to succeed – even more so today. 

No more Purchase Funnel

Even before we are getting to be comfortable with the consumer purchase funnel and the “First Moment of Truth”, it’s changed. No linear purchase models any more, consumers are planning, discussing, influencing and choosing brands through mobile, social media, Facebook, shopping ‘ apps’  and in store. TV spends are going down because research is showing that ads are being ignored in many markets. Google says that consumers are spending more time online instead of in front of the TV!
From more mature markets we learn that CPG advertising spends are giving  way to more social, digital and in-store influences, getting into the modern shopper mindset – they way we shop today.  This week Paul Polman the CEO of Unilever announced that the Multinational conglomerate is seeking new working models from its agency partners. Agencies are being challenged “ to win in this world shaped by mobile and social”. Not just advertising any more but multiple pathways to reach the target consumer in an “always on” world.

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