Shopper Marketing in the Digital Era
In this always-on mobile real-time era, is there still a place for Shopper Marketing?
In this increasingly competitive retail marketplace, where brands are trying to stand out amongst all the other products, vie for shelf space, and reach the consumer, we’ve all heard about brand CMOs increasingly being asked to prove that their marketing investments are showing an ROI.
One advantage that fast-moving consumer goods brand manufacturers have is that with their relatively low price point, they have the opportunity to activate impulsive in-store activity and new sales. No wonder that today as much as 20 percent of a CPG Brand’s marketing budget is allocated to Shopper Marketing.
What is Shopper Marketing?
It covers a variety of tools such as end-of-aisle displays, shelf-talkers and colorful floor stickers in aisle. However, the tools available for Shopper Marketing are not as robust or impactful as they could be. The basics are end-of-aisle displays, stickers on the floor in aisles, sometimes-working beacons, and robot-talking shelf talkers.
Furthermore those tactics require a lot of time for pre-planning both with vendors and retailers months in advance, often competing with other brand activations at the same time.
And there are so many companies out there promising to deliver, it can be overwhelming for brand teams who end up relying on ad-hoc activations or one-off campaigns which result in vendor fatigue and never getting out of the testing cycles because measurement is not sufficient to clearly determine the winners.
Brands and Shopper Marketing teams need digital marketing solutions that clearly drive measurable results that can be scaled into a cohesive and intelligent activation and not ad-hoc testing.
So in this always-on mobile real-time era, is there still a place for Shopper Marketing?
The answer is yes, and Shopper Marketers are increasingly leveraging the tools already available to digital marketers. Real Time Bidding, Big Data, Programmatic, Location Specific, Targeting, are all being used today.
The new era of Digital Shopper Marketing incorporates all those tools, with focus on driving sales for specific products and SKUs in specific retailers and stores. Now with Digital Shopper Marketing, brands can achieve higher in-store sales lift with lower investment and increased efficiently by bypassing the need for the months of negotiation and planning with the retailer.
There are three components of a modern Digital Shopper Marketing solution.
- Driving shoppers who already have awareness and intent, to the right stores with product inventory available (path-to-purchase).
- Activating impulse in-store buy-now behavior, when a shopper is in a store with available product, leveraging real time data and intelligent activation that drives ROI.
- Precise, accurate, and trustworthy measurement of the above two behaviors.
An industry-wide challenge to Digital Shopper Marketing has always been scale, in terms of the concentration of impressions that can be achieved in and/or immediate vicinity of store. But today, after years of growth in programmatic (RTB) ad inventory, we now can get the scale that is needed for impact.
- Facebook has about 30 percent of total available impressions
- Google has approximately the same as Facebook
- Aggregating all other supply-side ad inventory together, brands can achieve scale higher than either FB or Google
So today CPG brands and ad tech companies can buy the data to know which stores to target (that have specific products or SKUs) and in some cases even measure the sales lift of those products or SKUs, and in the best case even measure that lift in real-time to allow optimization of campaigns on the fly among all the stores, to achieve the greatest sales lift.
Most Marketing teams lack true visibility about what SKUs are in what stores, when stock-outs occur, and how this can affect the campaign activation, as well as understanding what successful campaign metrics look like. Was the product out of stock for the stores targeted? Was this store included in the lift analysis? If so, results may be skewed. Accurate and timely knowledge of where products are in stock can make a difference when a retail buyer is analyzing performance of your brand and items.
With those two key challenges of Digital Shopper Marketing solved, we are already seeing brands increase their allocation to Digital Shopper Marketing, above the current 20 percent because of evolving digital tools as well as the ability to incorporate real-time data for intelligent activation. And lastly, delivering clearly measured double-digit sales lifts for brands for ROI measurement, via our newly announced Nielsen partnership.
*Elizabeth Johnson, CEO of Pathformance Real Time Digital Marketing, is an experienced Shopper Marketing, CPG, and Retail professional. Dedicated to providing real time data and software solutions to Shopper Marketing, Agencies, and Ad-Tech partners for intelligent and result driven digital marketing.