You have a bulletproof national marketing campaign for your brand. It’s ready to go, and that’s exciting. The only problem? Kroger doesn’t want the same program as Publix. As the shopper marketer for your brand, Kroger wants you to customize that national campaign for their store.
At the same time, you’re concerned that customizing the campaign across too many retailers and regions will dilute the original brand message — and even damage your brand’s equity.
It’s clear you need to find a way to respect both your brand and each retailer. Oh, and let’s not forget about reaching the right consumers who will (fingers crossed) buy your product. That’s a tall order. But with our five tips, your shopper marketing activations will please all parties — brand, retailer, and consumer.
1. Find the Sweet Spot Where Your Brand and Retailer Audiences Overlap
The retailer and your CPG brand have at least one thing in common. Both want your shopper marketing campaign to reach the right audience and sell more stuff. But here’s the catch: Each retailer’s audience is going to be different from one another and from your national audience.
Of course, you’re selling the same product everywhere, which means there is overlap in these audiences. You just need to find it. But how?
Dig into qualitative and quantitative data on the retailer’s target audience. Who shops at their stores? Compare that to what you already know about your brand’s target audience. We promise there will be at least one similar group you can go after.
Say you’re trying to sell your potato chips at both Kroger and 7-Eleven. From your research, you know one of Kroger’s key demographics is millennial moms shopping for kid-friendly snacks. 7-Eleven, on the other hand, caters to college-aged guys looking for a quick bite. Both moms (well, their kids at least) and college students eat potato chips. Your own brand research and data tells you that.
Now that you’ve found the audience overlap between your brand and the retailers at-hand, you can customize your campaign for each audience and store. In other words, consider how to best target moms in Kroger and Gen-Z dudes in 7-Eleven. Just be sure to keep the national campaign’s goal and your larger brand strategy in mind, too.
2. Choose Distribution Channels that Further Your Campaign and the Retailer’s Goals
Once you truly understand the audience(s) you’re trying to reach at a given retailer (thanks, Tip 1), you have to decide which channels will best reach that demographic.
Every retailer has a varying suite of channels at your disposal. Apps, websites, social media platforms, owned media channels — the list goes on. You’d be seriously missing out if you picked channels willy-nilly without any strategy. Instead, consider where your target audience is most likely to look. Still selling chips at 7-Eleven? It makes more sense to leverage their 7NOW app for that Gen-Z audience than it does to advertise with direct mail.
Of course, it’s not as simple as choosing the best channel for your target audience. Nothing is ever simple in shopper marketing. As best as possible, you also need to consider the retailer’s goals.
Does Publix want to amp up app use? If it also makes sense for your target audience, customize your campaign to work on their app. That way, Publix is more likely to select your program because they’ll be thrilled you considered their business goals. It might even improve your long-term relationship with that retailer.
3. Align Your Shopper Marketing Program with the Retailer’s Vision and Values
Similar to considering the retailer’s goals for their channels, you should also try to align your shopper marketing campaign with the retailer’s overall brand. After all, every retailer has its own mission, vision, and values. Making your program match one of their values, for instance, will help you gain favor with that retailer.
To understand a retailer’s values and vision, do your research. Does Whole Foods have sustainability programs? Does Walmart contribute to local school lunches? Think about how your campaign can further a retailer’s initiatives. Not only is this good for your relationship with any given retailer, shared values between your campaign and a retailer’s efforts makes for a more connective experience for consumers.
4. Consider the Retailer’s Growth Strategy as You Customize Your Campaign
Okay, last time we’re asking you to bear in mind what the retailer is after.
What are the retailer’s business growth goals? Maybe they want to increase basket size, drive orders on their app, or expand their ecommerce presence. When you’re proposing a retailer-specific take on your national campaign, you should adjust your program (as much as you can) to help them meet their goal.
If they want to increase basket size, customize your program so it encourages multiple purchases. If they want more customers to use their app, create custom deals that only pop up in-app. You get the idea.
Again, capitalizing on the retailer’s existing business strategy will get your campaign buy-in and show that retailer you’re a solid partner with their best interests in mind.
5. Think About How Regionality Might Affect Your Shopper Marketing Activations
This almost goes without saying. Almost. Not all of the retailers you work with are in the same market. Depending on the location of the store chain, you might have to customize your campaign based on culture, climate, or regional events.
Imagine the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the Super Bowl. It makes total sense to run a program centered around the Super Bowl in Tampa Publix stores. Shoppers love fandom! But simultaneously running that same Super Bowl campaign at a Wawa in Philadelphia may only serve to make embittered Eagles fans boycott your brand.
Understanding how location plays into your program isn’t always as obvious or big-time as a Super Bowl campaign. Think about how it’s harder to sell ice cream in December in Chicago, but might work in LA. Or how a campaign in an urban market might hit differently with a Midwest audience.
Taking region into account is yet another way to show the retailer you’re paying attention to their needs while reaching the right audience.
There Are More Tips Where These Came From
Integrating these five tips into your next shopper marketing campaign will undoubtedly work for your brand, the retailers, and your consumers.
But these pointers are just the tip of the iceberg.
GRO has so much more to offer shopper marketers like you. Not only do we have more tips like these, we also have intel on specific retailers from years of running successful campaigns. We even have access to research and other information through membership associations — information you might not otherwise be able to get your hands on.
If you want a partner to help you strategize, design, and execute your shopper marketing programs nationwide, contact us.