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04 Sep 2014
posted by: Amanda

Ten tips for shopper marketers everywhere

1. Right bums on seats.

Sounds obvious right? So why do so many of us get it wrong. Shopper is the new kid on the block and as such your people are Jack of all trades personified…. Analyse ….present …..convince ….engage….execute  being just some of the daily tasks. These skills are not easy to find in one person so you may need to think about how you structure. Check that you’re not asking the impossible from one person.

2. What do you do again?

Sound familiar? If I could have a £5 note for every time I was asked this question… The point is though that we all are working so hard that we don’t take the time out to share & engage key stakeholders into what you or your team is trying to achieve. Ask the next person you meet in the lift to describe in one sentence what you / your team do. The answer might be very revealing!

3. Can I have some more please?

Yes we know it's very frustrating that you don’t have your own budget and that you have to go cap in hand to marketing for everything but that’s just the way it is right now. It will – and is – changing so in the meantime make sure your business case - although shopper led – clearly demonstrates a brand ROI.

4. So what?

50-slide presentations? Maybe even more?  I once read somewhere that for maximum impact we should only present things using odd numbers, e.g., 3 or 5 agenda items and not 4 or 6. I also read that the human brain can only cope with a maximum of 7 agenda items at any one time. Beyond that our eyes glaze over. Check over your / your team’s latest presentations and see just how many ‘key’ point or agenda items are common in their decks or proposals. This could be a reason why the team are not gaining stakeholder traction to a strong enough degree.

5. Share & share alike.

Yes we know the retailer is the Devil incarnate but they are also your route to market. Shielding your insights and strategy might be important but they’re no good if they never make it off the page on your desk. Unless your strategies become reality, the desired market share increase won’t happen. This means taking a leap of faith and being prepared to share – warts and all – the key insights required to drive change with the retailers’ stores. 

6. Live in the real world.

‘….Aim for the stars, if you fall you’ll land on the moon...’. That’s what they teach you in business school. Back on planet earth we find that the key role a shopper marketer needs to play is to be the practical one. Consumers live in the aspirational world, ‘I’d like more choice & ideas at the shelf..’ Shoppers in the real world, ‘..right I’ve got half an hour before I pick the kids up, I need something I know for dinner....’ Key point? Be creative but practicality rules.

7. Shopper-consumer connectivity.

OK… hands up, this phrase does sound a bit jargon-y but the point we’re trying to make is just because you’re responsible for shopper, there needs to be a consistent – and appropriate approach. One of our jobs was with a herbs & spice company and their strategy was all about driving penetration because the majority of households at best had three herbs or spices at home. The consumer team decided to activate through brand communication on the difference between a herb & a spice thinking this would drive sales, the shopper team about how else to use parsley once you’d got it home and used it once. Both strategies could work, but the disconnection resulted in a disjointed campaign.

8. Be different.

Shopper marketing is the perfect opportunity to give the retailer what they want; differentiation. One of the retailer’s biggest complaints is that brands offer them no differentiation because their shoppers can buy the exact same brand, jar, flavour, pack size, etc over the road at their competition. This is not something that can change easily and therefore shopper marketing is the perfect vehicle to create something different for each retailer. Yes the strategy might be to drive one more herb or spice into the cupboard each month, but how you do it can look different for your retail partners. This will really play to their agenda whilst costing you little.

9. Demonstrate ROI.

Do you take the time out to tell yourself or your team – and others – how well something worked? Good practice is to share results by reviewing each quarter the major initiatives you were responsible for, their impact & your learnings for next time. This should not only help you get more cash for more initiatives from the budget holders but also help your career path too!

10. Shopper impact.

OK so sales increased and more shoppers bought but do you know whether you are actually achieving your shopper goals or not with the activity that you are implementing. For example, if a key strategy is to drive shoppers to the aisle, or increase ease of shopping, are you actually achieving this? Increased sales are a short term hit that could be coming from a number of places. Driving positive change to fundamental shopper behaviour is a long-term win, but a big one. Make sure you set shopper behaviour change goals in your next strategy plan.

Good Luck!!