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Shopper marketing needs definition says Lucy Lorimer of The Market Creative

Hailed by many as one of the most important disciplines, shopper marketing is increasingly being adopted as a key capability by leading businesses. However, despite being well established in some quarters for many shopper marketing is a concept still in its infancy and there is a lack of agreement on its definition.

In fact, there are a multitude of views on what shopper marketing actually is, often borne out of and constrained by the background of those implementing it. Those in the business of retail media seem more likely to define shopper marketing solely within the realms of point of purchase in-store, while colleagues in trade marketing appear more likely to define shopper marketing in category management terms.

It’s critical to get perspective right though. Although shopper marketing culminates when purchase decisions are made, the focus on when cash is parted with distinguishing it from consumer marketing, there are usually a multitude of factors across the shopper journey that affect behaviour.

We’ve taken a holistic stand on a definition: Shopper Marketing involves the shopper per se, incorporating the entire physical and emotional journey (not just in-store or online) to purchase. This includes the opportunities we have to influence them to buy in-home, on-the-move or in-store and, ultimately, how we inspire and motivate shoppers to act.

While every shopper marketing campaign will be different, there are a number of areas which should usually be considered in the aim to influence sales and form the basis of a successful shopper campaign strategy.  

Visibility is important given that most environments are cluttered; differentiation creates stand-out and a relevant point of difference; engagement encourages dwell time and increases likelihood to buy; opportunity maximisation lets you work out where, when and how shoppers are most open to suggestion and helping makes decisions easy: confused shoppers don’t act.

Enjoyment, in particular in the form of surprise, and inspiration are crucial to promoting desire. Channel maximisation is important. Retail media is like any other media and should be used depending on a combination of relevancy and reach.

The most successful shopper marketing campaigns are built on a foundation of meaningful insight along with compelling brand strategy and communications, blended with retailer insights – by which we mean an appreciation of a retailers performance, pressures, business and marketing priorities. Without these three elements; shopper insight, brand focus and retailer understanding, it’s not possible to maximise shopper marketing.

Shopper marketing may in some quarters still be in its infancy. However, its value is steadily becoming more recognised, not only in the marketing department but at board level too.