Shopper Marketing Starts at Home

Shopping behaviors and priorities may be far more complex than once thought, developing and evolving over time and inspired by any number of needs and wants

Shopper marketing was once thought of as a purely in-store experience, with specific outreach to consumers as they browsed aisles in an effort to close the deal.  But marketers today are recognizing that shoppers arriving in the store are not completely blank slates waiting for the right marketing message to move their purchasing decisions.  Much of their motivation to purchase starts at home and for any number of reasons – from needing to feed a picky child, planning a party, redecorating a home, or simply restocking a thinning pantry with familiar items.

Cause and effect is at the core of shopper marketing, and this includes both in-store and out-of-store motivations.  The right channels and messages are essential, and turn shopper marketing into a science for delivering value to the right customer at the right time. This in turn has renewed a focus on the path to purchase, a circuitous route to shopping decisions. Many more opportunities exist than meeting a shopper in a grocery or retail store aisle.

copyright © 2010 sean dreilinger

For example, children may open their favorite toy at home to find a promotional pamphlet introducing a new character… ‘We know you love Thomas the Tank, so meet Emily the Engine.’  Since they watch Thomas on satellite television or Netflix, they may start to seek out Emily or even ask for her as the next toy resident in their version of Thomas’ fictional Island of Sodor. Mom or Dad puts this on their list and it becomes a priority shopping trip, largely based on events that took place in the comfort of their own home. Add to that a front-door delivered coupon from a major toy retailer or mass merchandiser with savings off of any Thomas the Train toy, and Mom or Dad is effectively incentivized to visit that retailer.

Front door media is uniquely suited to influence shoppers at this early stage on their path to purchase, supporting shopping decisions and lists made in the home with high-value offers delivered to the front door. Are you reaching your best customers at home, layering front door tactics onto your overall shopper marketing strategies?  And if not, what are you doing to reach your target audience as they are forming lifetime associations with products and behaviors?

Retailers Ride Holiday Growth Wave into 2011

Retail momentum continues, as consumers’ desire for discounts is fueling promotions and shopper incentives

Retailers were generally pleased with the 2010 holiday season, seeing 5.7 percent growth over 2009 and handily beating initial projections by the National Retail Federation.  In fact, the NRF further says that January marks seven straight months of retail gains, demonstrating that many consumers are ready to spend after a long and difficult economic slump. It’s a winning situation for consumers – retailers are anxious to maximize this upswing and are upping their game with continued promotions and discounts. 

Good news for shoppers who have come to expect some level of competition for their spending power. Their expectation of value is rock solid and increasing the pressure on retailers to deliver.  For retailers it is a bit trickier though, and marketing efforts must break through the barrage of promotional activity to really get the consumers’ attention as they travel the path to purchase. Shoppers have become savvier about sifting through their options – comparing prices and demanding value as they prioritize their spendable income.

In turn, marketers are layering additional tactics onto established and successful retail marketing strategies.  Capitalizing on what they already do well – such as developing incentives that demonstrate real customer understanding – marketers are raising the bar by adding underused channels such as front door marketing into the mix.  Bypassing a crowded field of messages, retail marketers are in some cases exceeding a 20 percent response rate.

Are your retail marketing initiatives generating the results you need, especially as Americans seem to be stepping out of their years-long spending slump? And if not, what are you doing to expand on your campaign strategies?

Good Marketing Always Finds a Reason to Celebrate

Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, St. Patrick’s Day – You Name it; Retailers Have Been Using ‘Holidays’ to Drive Customer Traffic for Decades

Ah, love is in the air.  Just look around. On TV, in newspapers, magazines and online – who needs a calendar to be reminded of Valentine’s Day when the good folks at Hallmark, Teleflora and Godiva are pulling out all the stops to ‘nudge’ you into buying or doing something nice for your sweetie.

According to a recent study commissioned by the National Retail Federation, the average person will spend $116.21 on traditional Valentine’s Day merchandise this year, up 12.8 percent over last year’s $103.00. Couples this year will spend an average of $68.98 on their significant other or spouse.  And total holiday spending is expected to reach $15.7 billion.

For years marketers have been relying on this and fringier holidays to boost sales. (Presidents’ Day is the perfect time to buy a mattress, right?). No matter how silly some of the sales connected to the various holidays seem, they do represent yet another opportunity for retail marketers to connect with consumers who are more willing to spend as the economy strengthens.

By adding alternative channels to the mix, marketers can extend these ‘holiday’ sales efforts and expand their reach beyond the ordinary. The new twist on front door marketing combines the same scientific data used in traditional direct marketing channels with unique special offers to deliver the right branded message to the right door. Yet another layer to an aggressive marketing strategy designed to get customers into the store.

Are you taking advantage of all the right effective channels to drive retail traffic?

Win Big with Sport Fans

Score More High Value Sales

As the NFL wraps up its season this weekend, Cowboys Stadium will be filled to capacity with the seats practically selling themselves. This, my friend, is a sports marketer’s dream.  Unfortunately, this scenario is the exception and not the rule. A big event like the Super Bowl, the NBA play-offs or the World Series is sure to pack them in. But how do you get fans to the field or the court during the regular season or if you’re not the reigning champion?

It’s no easy feat but a team hits pay dirt when they pack the stands – aside from ticket sales, they can be looking at money rolling in from food, merchandise and parking fees as well. And it isn’t just professional sports, but collegiate and amateur as well. Getting fans to your venue is critical in increasing profits.

But American budgets are tight and attending sporting events is one of those ‘entertainment’ options that people are curtailing even though they might still wish they could indulge. Competition with televised games doesn’t make it any easier. But smart marketers know there’s something ‘real’ about attending a live sporting event. It’s an experience. Something that can even be shared or remembered for years to come.

In addition to using new media to reach fans, many teams have turned to front door marketing, offering special ticket prices, packages and incentives to get fans off of sofas and into their venues. By delivering a team-branded, not-to-be-missed offer to specific targets at the block group level, teams are effectively increasing ticket sales and increasing attendance. Are your direct marketing efforts scoring big with your fans?