A study released today by Booz & Co. for the Grocery Manufacturers of America projects shopper marketing as the fastest-growing area of marketing investment for packaged-goods marketers over the next three years. Findings indicate an overall increase in awareness and sophistication of shopper marketing strategies—illustrating a primary industry focus on creating incremental consumption and loyalty by delivering the right messages at the right time and place to the right customer. Reaching consumers at home is at the core of this effort, with emphasis on accessing a highly targeted audience in a location where recipients interact with the media and have a high percentage of response.

Front-door shopper marketing can stimulate a retail visit and influence shopping behavior by avoiding the clutter of direct mail that appears in the mailbox and bypassing the steady noise of ongoing marketing channels. Digital strategies are proving to tie into shopper marketing, with a strong percentage of consumers researching online prior to making shopping decisions. And as indicated by the graph below from the study, evolving consumer behaviors coupled with emerging technologies have given birth to a variety of new shopper marketing vehicles and consumer points-of-contact.


Front door marketing benefits from this convergence as well since shopping decisions and lists are made in the home, and nearby phones and computers support the consumer’s ability to act on the message or offer.  

Booz & Co.’s current report, Shopper Marketing 4.0, indicates shopper marketing is not just an effective means of driving action by creating trial and purchase, but also a way to increase awareness and loyalty, all of which are critical to long-term brand health. Marketers should assume consumers are looking for value, pricing differentiation and personal relevance in their brand choices, and work to deliver the right message of value through the right channel.

Data-driven front door strategies support this thinking, reaching targeted customers early on the path to purchase and maximizing their opportunity to consider and respond to brand messages. As the report notes, one of the most important prerequisites for future shopper marketers will be the ability to generate shopper insights to create a lasting emotional connection with frugal consumers in a deal-driven environment. Some of the other crucial abilities include:

  • Collaborating with retailers and creating a scalable calendar of events that support drive periods
  • Evaluating, using, and integrating of new vehicles, especially in the digital frontier
  • Coordinating across shopper marketing, brand advertising, promotions, merchandising, and events to support more integrated marketing efforts
  • Accurately measuring shopper marketing effectiveness in a way that includes both brand health and ROI

Shopper marketers, where will your emphasis be on the path to purchase as 2011 rolls around?