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Progress is no sure thing. At each stage in the shopper marketing lifecycle, a company has to cross critical inflection points that can either catapult its shopper marketing organization to the next level or stall the entire effort. The key to maintaining momentum is to make a genuine cultural commitment to shopper marketing, deliberately plan movement through the lifecycle, and carefully invest in the right infrastructure and talent base. Those com- panies that have successfully managed the transition from one stage to the next generally share six critical characteristics:

  • Compelling Leadership. The oft-cited secret to Procter & Gamble’s momentum is the articulated business rationale and continuous internal evangelism of shopper marketing leadership.

  • Realistic Expectations. When Unilever institutionalized its shopper marketing program, leadership understood and committed to working through challenging modifications.

  • Flexibility. Dial launched its shopper marketing program knowing that it would not have the perfect strategy off the bat, and committed itself to ongoing on-the-job experimentation and learning.

  • Commitment to Building Talent. Clorox rotates brand marketers through shop- per marketing teams before they return to run brands, diffusing shopper-centric skills throughout the organization.

  • Unwavering Focus on Relevance. ConAgra tries to make retail buyers’ lives easier by proactively bringing manufacturers together to develop cohesive program solutions.

  • Willingness to Tackle Culture. Safeway is shunning the traditional adversarial manufacturer/retailer relationship by surveying manufacturing partners to determine how Safeway can become easier to do business with.

It is important for organizations to understand how their position in the shopper marketing lifecycle affects their effectiveness, critical areas of focus, and priority activities. The follow- ing sections lay out a roadmap showing how organizations can maintain momentum as they traverse the lifecycle.

Compelling leadership and willingness to experiment drive momentum through the lifecycle


Procter & Gamble Navigates the Shopper Marketing Lifecycle

“The more retailers and manufacturers investigate shopper marketing, the more they see the inherent difficulties. Success can come only as a result of careful planning, strategic investment and total organizational commitment.”

  • Dina Howell, General Manager – Global Operations, The Procter & Gamble Company

Widely recognized as a leader in shopper marketing, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has created an advanced program that incorporates elements of strong collaboration, a developed and skilled organization, and detailed measurement and analytical capabilities. This program, the result of years of development, exemplifies the Deloitte Shopper Marketing Lifecycle and includes the key development stages of incu- bating, scaling and culturally embedding.

Strategic Advantage



Culturally Embedding

Commercial Innovation

Shopper Marketing Rotations


Multi-functional Teams

Initial “Collaborative” Pilots

Market Development Organizations (MDOs)

Tactical Advantage

Investment in Insights

Tenure of Shopper Marketing Effort


In the 1990s, P&G began experimenting with shopper marketing strategies and tactics as a new com- ponent of existing customer marketing programs.

Initial “Collaborative” Pilots

P&G’s early direct-to-consumer mailers could be tailored to match a retailer’s brand and positioning. These first steps at manufacturer/retailer collaborative marketing paved the way for the partnerships needed to make shopper marketing succeed.

Investment in Insights

Advanced collaboration with retailers requires strong shopper insights, and P&G initiated a research program focused on understanding the individual in shopper (i.e. decision) mode. Utilizing demo- graphic information, consumer purchase data, quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews, P&G was able to identify trends and purchase patterns. The resulting shopper insights were based on detailed, account-level information and were shared.


After achieving a critical mass of skilled resources and executive-level buy-in, P&G entered the scaling stage of the lifecycle at the same time that it developed multi-functional teams and the Market Develop- ment Organization. This new organization model, focused on collaborative co-marketing with retailers and capable of being expanded throughout P&G, dramatically increased shopper marketing’s impact and influence on sales.

Multi-functional Teams

P&G worked to create a team structure that could bridge the communication gap with retailers. The shopper marketing program leveraged established sales relationships but ensured marketing staff maintained a share of the control of product promotion and advertising. Utilizing a pilot approach, P&G experimented with adding additional marketing and research staff. As collaboration and sales improve- ments could be demonstrated, the marketing team model could be scaled to additional retailer teams.

Market Development Organizations (MDOs)

P&G developed Market Development Organizations (MDOs) that were tasked with “Thinking Locally” and specialized in creating marketing programs with individual retailers. In addition to co-locating with


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