Shopper marketing decoded: How to get it right

The ultimate aim of any shopper marketing strategy is to lure the shopper to make a purchase. Whilst a simple sounding in theory, it take more than just one campaign the point of sale to achieve that goal.

We sat down with Dan Paris, regional managing director at TBWA\Group, to find out exactly how should marketers approach shopper marketing. Paris is speaking at Marketing magazine’s Shopper Marketing conference on 25 - 26 June.

Marketing: Take us through the evolution of shopper marketing and what does it mean for marketers now?

Paris: One way or another, a number of brands sell their products through retailers who have become more and more powerful through time. For a brand to work out how to best represent themselves in that retail environment has been a conversation for a long time. In the UK and Australia, we used to look at this space and we used to call it retail promotion.

What has happened is that as media has fragmented, there has been a greater focus on making client spending work more intelligently. The Americans started playing around with this idea 10 years ago - this thought process was called ‘shopper’ marketing as opposed to ‘consumer’ marketing. Consumer marketing tends to be about experience, and shopper marketing tends to be about choice. Advertisements, for example, tend to be about experience - you show the someone driving a car; you show the girl getting her hair shampooed. Shopper marketing focuses on the reasons you would choose the car or the shampoo.

In the old days you would assume that an advertisement would suffice: if the consumer saw an ad, they’d be more likely to buy the product. But if they’re not seeing ads the way they used to and the first time they see your product is in store, then your in-store marketing has to improve. Shopper marking is really about the intersection between branding and selling, which is why shopper marketing looks into the whole decision making process involved in purchasing. Sometimes the shopper and the consumer aren't the same. The obvious example is dog food: the dog’s the consumer, and the purchaser is the shopper. The problem is that many people think shopper marketing only applies to FMCG. That isn't the case.

Procter & Gamble's A.G. Lafley coined an expression that defined shopper marketing around ‘moments’. The moment you use something for the first time is the ‘second moment of truth’. The ‘first moment of truth’ is when you’re in the store deciding whether to buy the product. What’s also emerged is what Google calls the ‘zero moment of truth’. Basically, before you buy something, there’s this whole world of search or social, talking to your friends etc. to get yourself as fully informed as possible before you enter the retail space. This is a whole new dynamic in shopper marketing.

Marketing: At a functional level, for both agencies and clients, what does it mean to think in terms of ‘shopper’ marketing?

ParisWe look at the world through three lenses: The brand, the shopper and the retail environment. It’s absolutely critical that all 3 factors are considered. We need to understand: from the shopper point of view, what is the challenge/barrier/cultural context in which the purchase decision is made? It means from a brand owner point of view that they need to look at very specific insights around that shopper. They need to know, firstly, what the shopper wants when it comes to that particular product; secondly, does the trade marketing team have the ability to work with the retailer to optimise strategies for the retail environment; and thirdly, on the brand side, they need to know what creative work will bring together shopper insights with the retail environment.

Marketing departments need a very specific, deep insight about their marketing inputs that can become very granular. Most organisations will have a customer team and a consumer team. The ‘customer’ team will be looking at the retailers - they talk to the retailers about what will work, and how they can help the retailer sell more. The ‘consumer’ team is about understanding what makes the buyer’s world tick. Thus, shopper marketing is an enhancement to ‘trade marketing’ space.

Marketing: So what does the ‘head of shopper marketing’ actually do?

ParisThey would bring the consumer (or brand) marketer and the customer marketer’s strategies together. They will look at everything from insight to retail promotion, retail pricing, trends in retail. Basically, winning in retail is their brief. In Asia, the scale of businesses often just don’t have the structures to support a specialist in shopper marketing. The marketing manager has to decide on all of these things. Some brands have heads of shopper marketing who are influencers that dispense best practices. What they all want to do is make their retail spending smarter.

Delegates will get the chance to hear from Paris and many more speakers at Shopper Marketing 2014. Those interested in attending the event may contact Joven Barcenas at or call +65 6423 0329.

To discuss the agenda, enquire about presenting or to suggest topics, contact Ambrish Bandalkul at or +65 6423 0329