Shopper marketing has undergone a metamorphosis since the advent of digital marketing, evolving into an omnichannel approach designed to reach shoppers at all touchpoints.
Those are among the key findings of new research from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), conducted in partnership with market research firm GfK. The report came in the wake of an ANA/PQ Media U.S. Brand Activation Marketing Forecast report, which said that between now and 2020, investment in shopper marketing is expected to increase 5.8 percent to $18.6 billion, outperforming the growth of total brand marketing spend.
“Shopper marketers are struggling to reach consumers across the right touchpoints at the right time,” said ANA President and CEO Bob Liodice. “Our research shows that the new goal of shopper marketing campaigns is to make brick-and-mortar visits mirror the effectiveness of the online environment while delivering a seamless shopper experience.”
Liodice added that, as a discipline, shopper marketing is subject to many misconceptions.
“There is little consistency in how it is defined and what the best practices should be,” said Liodice. “We conducted research to help bring clarity to the current state of the category and make predictions about where it’s headed. We also aimed to uncover the role shopper marketers play within their organizations, and the strategies needed for shopper marketing success.”
In a key finding, the study confirmed that mobile has become an important component of shopper marketing campaigns, attempting to engage people in-store and extend a connection post-visit. Mobile is being furthered leveraged pre-visit with geolocation, targeted mobile marketing and promotional apps.
The report disclosed information about the state of shopper marketing and its current place in the overall marketing mix:
- Shopper marketing has progressed from driving short-term sales to motivating shopper behavior. While the primary role of shopper marketing has always been to convert shoppers, it now has to deliver a combination of short- and long-term benefits, including driving conversion among shoppers, motivating shopper behavior through levers beyond price and executing solutions to shopper challenges and purchase barriers.
- A dedicated shopper marketing team is more likely to be viewed as a competitive advantage today than it was in the past. Among respondents in organizations with a dedicated shopper marketing team, 51 percent indicated that shopper marketing was a competitive advantage and 55 percent said shopper marketing reflected the convergence of brands, shoppers and retailers.
- When shopper marketing reports to marketing, it is likely to be more strategic and more highly valued within the organization. The discipline began to change as shopper marketers became more strategic and began leveraging shopper insights. When shopper marketing began reporting directly to marketing rather than to sales or other departments, it created a greater opportunity for integration. For example, the focus of shopper marketing shifted from the retailer to the shopper, and the percentage of marketers who felt that shopper marketing was a strategic initiative in their companies increased.
- Shopper insights are underfunded in many organizations. Shopper insights can drive program development but only 40 percent of respondents believed their organizations were adequately investing in shopper insights.
The study was conducted in April 2016 in partnership with GfK and represents responses from 185 marketers. Of those, 55 percent primarily work in B2C companies, 25 percent primarily work in B2B companies and 20 percent work in companies that are both B2B and B2C. The participants had an average of 12 years working in marketing/advertising and approximately 40 percent were directors or above.