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?

Renewed Focus on Shopper Marketing Looms for 2011

Marketers Emphasize the Art and Science of Reaching Shoppers All Along the Path to Purchase

Consumers have evolved – a not too surprising outcome of the recession and resulting lifestyle changes across the country.  Values, priorities and resources have shifted profoundly, reshaping shopping behaviors and motivations.  Marketers need to gain insight into this new mindset, finding ways to deliver value and connect with customers on the long and winding path to purchase.  According to excerpts from the Ad Age Insights Shopper Marketing Report, agencies are restructuring for enhanced shopper marketing – defining primary challenges, best practices and developing needs as an overall brand marketing priority. 

Booz & Co. states that manufacturer investment in shopper marketing has nearly doubled over the past five years, currently at $35 billion with 15 percent annual growth anticipated (based on funding reallocations from traditional media and trade promotion).  If that’s not convincing enough, the Booz data also notes that 83 percent of consumer-packaged goods companies surveyed expect to increase their shopper-marketing investment over the next three years. For 55 percent of those companies, investments in shopper marketing will exceed all other marketing spending, including internet and social media.

At the same time, consumer spending is more cautious with shoppers looking for deals, using coupons and actively focused on getting the most for their money.  Research from the Integer Group shows that 86 percent of respondents felt that coupons were at least somewhat influential in choosing a brand; as many as 70 percent used coupons to justify their brand choice.

These trends represent a significant marketing opportunity for direct response messages, going beyond the sole purpose of getting someone’s attention, and instead delivering usefulness and value.  Front door media is uniquely suited to this purpose, hand placing an impression of quality in a location where residents interact with the media and have a high percentage of response. The right message of value receives more consideration in the comfort of the home, where consumers are relaxed and more responsive.  Shopping decisions and lists are made in the home, and nearby phones and computers support the consumer’s ability to act on the message.

Are you bracing for enhanced shopper marketing? And what are your plans for reaching your best customers early on their path to purchase?

The Path to Purchase Starts at Home, During the Holidays and Year-Round

The Search for Value is Not a Linear Process, with Consumers Making Shopping Decisions Every Day in Every Way

Consumers consider brands as they move through a variety of daily events such as walking through a store, or even non-events such as opening the pantry door.  With major retailers referring to the path as a circle, a pool or even a puddle, it’s dramatically clear that it is neither linear nor defined by a particular channel.  The path to purchase is a big picture opportunity for retailers, fueled by mobile, digital, social, radio, television and print media – and advantage goes to markets using multi-channel strategies to layer messaging and offer consumer value all along the path.

A recent survey by retail industry analyst E-tailing Group confirms the consumer’s focus on value, indicating that merchants must get creative as almost half of shoppers will refuse to pay full price this holiday season.  Further customer service and promotions are heavily favored, and 39 percent of shoppers plan to complete most of their holiday shopping by early December (an increase over last year’s 34 percent.) Savvy marketers have recognized these factors as advantages for offering relevant information to the shopper early in the process, meeting expectations of brand value, keeping them informed and becoming part of the research and ritual of making shopping decisions.

Further, news from IDC Retail Insights points out that ‘sequential use of multiple channels’ by consumers will shift to ‘concurrent omnichannel behavior’ – meaning that new options such as mobile price research weakens the retailer’s immediate influence on purchase decision made right at the product shelf.  Brands that answer back with “three-dimensional selling,” working to solve a customer problem rather than sell a product, are on the right track by offering high value to reinforce greater brand appreciation earlier in the shopping chain.  The consumer may not necessarily care about which entertainment provider they use, rather they are more interested in the cost, availability and convenience enabled by their various options.

The path literally encompasses all aspects of shopping, from considering needs, evaluating brands, comparing prices, researching options and listening to recommendations from trusted friends.  For marketers, influencing customer choices involves strengthening the connection that comes to mind in each of these instances.   Reaching consumers early on the path maximizes the opportunities for shopper connections – whether it’s planning dinner, making a shopping list or just realizing the kids need new shoes.

Does your marketing strategy recognize the limitations of a linear view of the path to purchase? And are you doing enough to reach your customer early in the cycle, offering value and resonant messages that can linger for extended consideration and response?

Shopper Marketing at Home: Front-Door Access to Influencing Consumers

A study released today by Booz & Co. for the Grocery Manufacturers of America projects shopper marketing as the fastest-growing area of marketing investment for packaged-goods marketers over the next three years. Findings indicate an overall increase in awareness and sophistication of shopper marketing strategies—illustrating a primary industry focus on creating incremental consumption and loyalty by delivering the right messages at the right time and place to the right customer. Reaching consumers at home is at the core of this effort, with emphasis on accessing a highly targeted audience in a location where recipients interact with the media and have a high percentage of response.

Front-door shopper marketing can stimulate a retail visit and influence shopping behavior by avoiding the clutter of direct mail that appears in the mailbox and bypassing the steady noise of ongoing marketing channels. Digital strategies are proving to tie into shopper marketing, with a strong percentage of consumers researching online prior to making shopping decisions. And as indicated by the graph below from the study, evolving consumer behaviors coupled with emerging technologies have given birth to a variety of new shopper marketing vehicles and consumer points-of-contact.

Chart-for-Shopper-Marketing

Front door marketing benefits from this convergence as well since shopping decisions and lists are made in the home, and nearby phones and computers support the consumer’s ability to act on the message or offer.  

Booz & Co.’s current report, Shopper Marketing 4.0, indicates shopper marketing is not just an effective means of driving action by creating trial and purchase, but also a way to increase awareness and loyalty, all of which are critical to long-term brand health. Marketers should assume consumers are looking for value, pricing differentiation and personal relevance in their brand choices, and work to deliver the right message of value through the right channel.

Data-driven front door strategies support this thinking, reaching targeted customers early on the path to purchase and maximizing their opportunity to consider and respond to brand messages. As the report notes, one of the most important prerequisites for future shopper marketers will be the ability to generate shopper insights to create a lasting emotional connection with frugal consumers in a deal-driven environment. Some of the other crucial abilities include:

  • Collaborating with retailers and creating a scalable calendar of events that support drive periods
  • Evaluating, using, and integrating of new vehicles, especially in the digital frontier
  • Coordinating across shopper marketing, brand advertising, promotions, merchandising, and events to support more integrated marketing efforts
  • Accurately measuring shopper marketing effectiveness in a way that includes both brand health and ROI

Shopper marketers, where will your emphasis be on the path to purchase as 2011 rolls around?

High Q2 Coupon Redemption Reflects Price-Conscious Consumer Trend

Via CPGMatters:

CPGMatters’ August 2010 issue contains coupon redemption information for the second quarter of 2010. So far, Q2 marks the seventh consecutive quarter of growing coupon redemption.

Key findings include:

  • Overall, redemption has increased 6% during the first half of 2010
  • Average coupon value hovers around $1.59 during the first half of the year
  • Marketers have offered 18 billion CPG coupons so far this year, up 11.4% from 2009
  • Among retailers, the largest increase in redemption value has been in convenience stores, warehouse clubs, and discount variety stores (as a whole, 36.6% increase)

The high coupon redemption trend echoes consumer sentiments from a July study published in Brandweek.  81 percent of the surveyed agree that “It’s fun to see how much money I can save by using coupons or my shopper loyalty card.”  And based on the chart at right, 61% are more price conscious now than they were a year ago.

“People who share such sentiments likely aren’t longing to return to freer-spending ways once an economic recovery signals that it’s safe to do so. That’s surely true of the 44 percent who agreed that “I can’t believe how wasteful I used to be when I shopped.” The chart indicates some shifts in consumers’ approach to purchasing.”

These new behaviors are determining what will be the new “normal” in consumer purchasing.  With the end of the back-to-school shopping season drawing near, and the winter and holiday shopping season approaching, are your marketing campaigns addressing the shift in consumer purchasing behavior?

Issue 3.1 of The CheckOut: Coupons & Shopper Marketing Trends

Last month, the Integer Group released Issue 3.1 of The Checkout, a monthly national survey of shopper-marketing trends. The issue focused primarily on the role of coupons and how coupons are affecting shoppers and their decisions.

Some interesting facts and implications from the report:

  • Shoppers are using coupons to drive their brand decisions before entering a store
  • Women look for coupons in traditional media, while men become more involved when using technology (brand websites, mobile marketing, etc.)
  • Coupons are perceived by shoppers as an incentive to try new brands and as a loyalty reward
  • Shoppers want coupons that are easy to use and simple to find
  • 75% of shoppers favor instant discount coupons
  • Check out the list of top brands and retailers who are deemed as having the “best” coupons

Read the rest of the report here.

5 Things you need to Know about Sampling to Hispanics

PowerDirect was recently cited in an article on Portada-Online.com, a leading source for Latin marketing and media.

The article was about product sampling to Hispanics.

In it, we identified 5 best practices:

  1. Why direct-to-door is more effective in Hispanic sampling versus direct mail
  2. How the economic downturn has resulted in more consumers (including Hispanic ones) making purchase decisions before they go shopping
  3. The value of sampling to introduce new immigrants to your brand
  4. Why you should identify cultural differences between different Spanish speakers from different countries
  5. The importance of targeting to minimize sample waste

Check out the article here.