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Get Results for Your Brand, Retailers, and Consumers with These Modern Shopper Marketing Plays

Sep 29, 2021

Written By
Kelly Criswell

Shopper marketing is a trending topic among CPG food and beverage marketers. As a shopper marketer yourself, that’s great news for you, right?

Not necessarily.

In reality, there are still a lot of misconceptions about what shopper marketing really is. It doesn’t help that capturing the consumer on the path to purchase is no longer solely an in-store, linear endeavor. The cosumer’s path to purchase now integrates social media, digital delivery platforms, and ecommerce channels.

If you want to win everyone over with your modern shopper marketing ways, it’s time to toss old shopper marketing tactics and ideas. Instead, adopt a trifecta approach that’ll produce lasting results for consumers, retailers, and your brand.

Out with the Old (Shopper Marketing) and in with the New

When done to today’s standards, shopper marketing is a tough job. Brand marketers don’t typically take the retailers into consideration. Meanwhile, a shopper marketer has to please all three parties — your consumers, brand, and retailers.

But if shopper marketing is so important, why is it not given more attention?

It’s because others in the CPG industry are thinking about the old days and ways of shopper marketing. Back when it was all random sweepstakes, couponing, BOGO sales, and other ploys to get consumers to spend more money — and nothing more.

Sure, retailers were happy because tactics like BOGO sales moved more product off their valuable shelf space. And consumers were mostly okay with it since they got a decent deal. But brands were left wondering, what’s in it for them?

These older shopper marketing campaigns were often sterile and disconnected from the larger brand strategy. As such, they didn’t do much to build a long-term, loyal customer base. If anything, they made the product a mere commodity.

If old school shopper marketing asked, “How do I sell more chips at Kroger?” New school shopper marketing asks, “How do I get the Kroger shopper to become more invested in and connected to my brand and therefore buy more chips?”

Try these fresh strategies to engage shoppers in meaningful ways. Plus create mutually beneficial results for both brand and retailer while you’re at it.

Align Your Shopper Marketing Campaigns with Your Brand’s Big-Picture Strategy

We’ve made it clear by now that shopper marketing campaigns can feel empty, contrived, or even cliché. To avoid this fate with your new shopper marketing efforts, ensure your campaigns’ strategies meaningfully contribute to your brand’s goals.

Don’t run a promo for every holiday or latch onto every societal event just because other brands are doing it or you’ve always done it that way. Evaluate your efforts to again ensure they match your brand’s overall image and strategy.

For example, does it make more sense for Outshine to participate in a summer sale or a Christmas event? They’re popsicles. We’ll let you decide.

Another way to pair your campaign with your brand’s strategy and feel is to participate in cause marketing. Find a charitable organization that aligns with your brand’s values, partner with them, and launch a campaign around the partnership.

If you manage to contribute to your brand’s identity and goals with your shopper marketing initiatives, you’ll make your brand happy by building relationships with consumers who now have a clear image of and association with your brand. And consumers will no longer be irked by those redundant sales.

Speak to the Appropriate Target Audience for Your Brand and Retailer

Brand marketers generally only have to worry about connecting with your CPG brand’s audience. Your shopper marketing campaigns have to connect with both your audience and the retailer’s target shopper.

So a shopper marketing campaign for Takis’ at 7-Eleven has to reach Takis’ consumers who also shop at 7-Eleven. This is different from Takis’ shopper marketing campaign at Target. Perhaps 7-Eleven shoppers are young males while Target shoppers are 30-something moms buying for their kids.

You know what we mean. You live this.

For shopper marketing success, find the overlap between your brand’s and a certain stores’ typical audience.

You could also try a brand partnership to really hone in on an audience subset. Let’s revisit 7-Eleven for a second.

Your target audience research again reveals that young men frequent this convenience store. Additional research (perhaps social listening) suggests these dudes love video games. Partner with Xbox to run a campaign where 7-Eleven shoppers who buy Takis have a chance to win free games.

Game, set, match.

You’ve used your audience’s affinities to craft a program that’s meaningful and memorable to them and sells more Takis at 7-Eleven.

When in Doubt, Try Something New with Your Next Shopper Marketing Campaign

If you haven’t picked up on this by now, let’s state it outright. Some shopper marketing campaigns are just plain-old tired. We can’t tell you how many ‘stock up and save’ or ‘supermarket scavenger hunt’ plays we’ve seen over the years.

There’s nothing wrong with these kinds of sales, especially if they genuinely align with your brand’s strategy and personality. But if you really want to make a splash, try something new!

Integrate a novel technology into your next shopper marketing push. Augmented reality is really taking hold in society, even in grocery stores. Or talk to consumers on the path to purchase using social media that ties the brand and retailer together.

Brand partnerships with like-minded companies work well to infuse novelty into shopper marketing, too. Not everyone thinks to give away shoes on bags of chips, after all.

Revamping Your Shopper Marketing Campaigns is Worth the Effort

Large CPGs like yours have about a gazillion initiatives going at once. And shopper marketing isn’t the only team or department. We get that it’s easy to lean on your old shopper marketing ways and relaunch the same campaigns season after season, year after year.

But if you (cough your execs and brand marketing friends) can relook at shopper marketing as an opportunity to build a loyal customer base, everyone will see it’s worth the investment to get exciting new campaigns off the ground.

Then, you’ll increase sales for your brand, create loyal customers, and retain retail partners. The shopper marketing trifecta is yours for the taking.

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