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Reaching Shoppers Through Multiple Customer Engagement Touch Points

Customer engagement strategy that targets shoppers is expanding beyond in-store, point-of-purchase, and end-of-aisle promotions, according to a new report search from GfK and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

Shopper marketing has evolved into an omnichannel approach aimed at reaching customers at all touch points.

The report came in the wake of an ANA/PQ Media US Brand Activation Marketing Forecast report, which said that between now and 2020, investment in shopper marketing is expected to increase 5.8%, to $18.6 billion, outperforming the growth of total brand marketing spending. The report sought to bring clarity to the current state of the category and project where it’s headed.

One of the key findings in the report confirmed that mobile has become an important component of shopper marketing campaigns, attempting to engage people in-store and extend a connection post-visit. What’s more, mobile is being leveraged pre-visit with geolocation, targeted mobile marketing, and promotional apps.

Here are some other key findings in the report:

Shopper marketing has progressed from only driving short-term sales to motivating shopper behavior. While the primary role of shopper marketing has always been to convert shoppers, it now has to deliver a combination of short- and long-term benefits, including driving conversion among shoppers, motivating shopper behavior through levers beyond price, and executing solutions to shopper challenges and purchase barriers.

A dedicated shopper marketing team is more likely to be viewed as a competitive advantage today than it was in the past. Among respondents in organizations with a dedicated shopper marketing team, 51% indicated that shopper marketing was a competitive advantage, and 55% said shopper marketing reflected the convergence of brands, shoppers, and retailers.

When shopper marketing reports to marketing, it likely to be more strategic and more highly valued within the organization. The discipline began to change dramatically as shopper marketers became more strategic and began leveraging shopper insights. When shopper marketing began reporting directly to marketing rather than to sales or other departments, it created greater opportunity for integration. For example, the focus of shopper marketing shifted from the retailer to the shopper, and the percentage of marketers who felt that shopper marketing was a strategic initiative in their companies increased.

Shopper insights are underfunded in many organizations. Shopper insights can drive program development, but only 40% of respondents believed their organizations were adequately investing in shopper insights.
The study was conducted in April 2016 and includes responses from 185 marketers. Of those, 55% primarily work in B-to-C companies, 25% primarily work in B-to-B companies, and 20% work in companies that are both B-to-B and B-to-C. The participants had an average of 12 years working in marketing/advertising and approximately 40% were directors or above.

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