The world of shopper marketing is changing, and it’s becoming a lot more social.
The new 5th annual Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) shopper marketing study has some interesting insights on how the practice is evolving. The report demonstrates that companies getting the most out of shopper marketing now are the ones that focus on “solution-based merchandising”. Wait, before you roll your eyes at what sounds like some more meaningless marketing cliches, the point here really is interesting.
Solution-based merchandising is a focus on the customer’s needs and how they use the product. These shopper marketing programs don’t just deliver value through lower prices, convenience and product bundles. They make the brand come alive with ideas for activities and suggestions for using the product more creative ways. Often this can involve complementary products that expand the experience.
Many marketing programs fail because they jump too quickly to the cart. They programs blend in with everyone else pushing sales, sweepstakes, coupons, etc. Companies seeing the best results from shopper marketing are better at addressing the customer need and creating action simultaneously. In short, they are great at “winning both the hearts and carts”. That’s a quote out of the report from Patrick Simmons, VP of Customer Marketing at General Mills.
The differences between the leaders and the rest of the pack here are incredible. See the chart below. The pack is just focused on the cart while the leaders and communicating with consumers in an entirely different way.
Digital Separates the Best
Of all the fancy displays and in-store promotions a brand can focus on to improve shopper marketing, the top activity that separates leading companies from the rest of the pack is digital. It’s that simple. A brand’s ability to engage shoppers online before they enter the store is the biggest factor that separates the leaders from the laggards.
Payoff at the Register
Marketers good at this are seeing strong business results. As shown in the chart below, their shopper marketing programs are delivering stronger ROI than other programs and they are growing sales faster than competitors in the category.
Every brand has a story. To get people thinking about their role in that story before they walk into the store, you’ve got to get them emotionally involved so they see what it can do for them. At the same time, provide the activities that make it fun and encourage sharing. Nobody can do that better than your best customers.