Developing Shopper Marketing Playbooks: Three Essential Capabilities
A good place to start when thinking about the competencies agencies need to develop to compete successfully in the shopper marketing arena is with client needs. Which vehicles are best for generating awareness? How should we allocate our marketing spend across instore displays, search, digital coupons, loyalty programs? What is the best way to develop an integrated shopper marketing program that allows us to work across the entire path to purchase? What is the best marketing mix for a new product launch? An agency’s role is to provide clients with helpful, straightforward ways to deliver effective shopper marketing strategies that help them achieve their unique goals given their means. Despite the many changes in the marketing environment the publication of “The Marketing Playbook” (2004), the idea of playbooks to help clients meet objectives continues to be attractive. Shopper marketing playbooks are methods and tools for meeting specific client needs—e.g., awareness, consideration, trial, action and loyalty. As agencies develop their shopper marketing playbacks, they must continually update plays in their playbook to continuously improve effectiveness, reflect changes in the marketplace or as new vehicles become available.
The Three Essential Capabilities The ability to develop and deliver shopper marketing playbooks is based on three capabilities that serve as the foundation. They help shopper marketing agencies transcend the gauntlet of different shopper segments, retail formats and categories. While a shopper agency does not have to be strong in all three capabilities, most successful shopper marketing agencies are strong in a minimum of 2 of the three capabilities.
not only how shoppers behave when shopping different categories (food, apparel, consumer electronics or appliances), retail format (traditional vs. modern trade), times of year or trip types (stock-up vs. top-off trips), but the why as well (barriers and motivations). Why some categories are more about needs, and others about wants. True shopper insights go beyond identifying “who” the shopper is, providing more depth about “why” the shopper behaves a certain way within a category, during a season or within or across specific retailers. Shopper intimacy is no mean feat in India where demographic and income changes are altering shopper expectations at a dramatic rate. Shoppers seeking to express their altered status desire to be different, inimitable and envied at the same time. Increasing urbanization has given rise to streetwise and savvy shoppers who will not hesitate to try products which push the boundaries. For whom consumption is a means of reflecting their personality and changing belief system. In such a turbulent marketing environment it is a challenge to stay abreast of changes in shopper segments, but it confers a great advantage to those agencies who excel at it.
Jim Lucas Executive VP, Global Director , Retail Insight and Strategy