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Key Insights:

  • Shopper Marketing Activity is Exploding In the 2007 Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)/Deloitte Consulting LLP study, “Shopper Marketing: Capturing a Shopper’s Mind, Heart and Wallet,” only six percent of manufacturers we surveyed, and none of the retailers, had significant shopper marketing organizations (more than 20 people). Today, that number has jumped to 29 percent and 60 percent, respectively. Respondents to the 2008 survey also said that over the next three years in-store marketing activity will continue to grow at a rate higher than that for almost any other marketing tactic. Nearly every large manufacturer and retailer has jumped into shopper marketing to some degree, yet our research indicates that few have systematized the capabilities needed to sustain success.

  • But the Gap between the Sophisticated and Unsophisticated is Widening Many manufacturers believe they are catching up because they have initiated shopper mar- keting programs. Most are wrong. The few companies that really “get it” are becoming very sophisticated at shopper marketing and are building gaping strategic advantages. They are using shopper marketing to fill the void of the store and shopper in an integrated, 360-de- gree marketing approach. Everyone else is just testing the waters. The more sophisticated companies report one and a half times greater effectiveness than the less sophisticated group at achieving results across all shopper marketing objectives.

  • Shopper Marketing Capabilities Follow a Three-Stage Natural Lifecycle Shopper marketing requires a more transformational change than most companies realize. Companies must go through a natural lifecycle in the implementation of shopper marketing in order to achieve the potential results. While many companies have designated resources and begun developing programs (stage one), they often fail to build the capabilities required to perform with scale (stage two), and rarely, so far, succeed in culturally embedding (stage three) this new and different way of thinking and working.

  • The Lifecycle Journey can be Accelerated A company can move through the lifecycle faster if it thoughtfully crosses inherent inflection points (naturally occurring moments when the shopper marketing organization can either jump to a higher level or get stalled) and maintains momentum through careful planning, strong leadership, and organizational commitment. Simply throwing resources into a shop- per marketing program won’t cut it.

  • The Key is Building Organizational Capabilities, Not Just Running Programs Realizing the benefits of shopper marketing requires a well-articulated strategic position, defined structures, and deep partner relationships. Shopper-centric marketing can not just be an ad hoc collection of individual programs, but must be thoughtfully integrated into overall brand and commercial plans. Likewise, integrated mix models and rigorous post evaluation must granularly test the effectiveness of in-store and traditional tactics alike. Reaching this point will require the industry to strengthen efforts to develop industry-wide metrics to target and evaluate shopper marketing efforts.

  • Developing Genuinely Collaborative Relationships Requires Trust, Structure and Process Surveyed manufacturers and retailers rated themselves highly on ability and willingness to collaborate. However, both sides also feel strongly that their partners are letting them down. To build the trust required for committed collaboration, companies may need to realign their structures and processes to more closely align with key partners.

  • The Promise of Shopper Marketing is Enormous for Those Who Do It Well Companies that have embraced shopper marketing as a key component of 360-degree integrated marketing are growing 50 percent faster than the categories they participate in. The most advanced companies are growing at almost double the rate of their categories. Moreover, 90 percent of manufacturers with more advanced capabilities report that shopper marketing helps them effectively meet retailer needs and boost top line growth. Clearly the promise of shopper marketing is enormous. However, there are a limited number of seats at the table, and retailers are already beginning to choose their favorites. The win- ners will likely have greater influence with their chosen partners, greater access to data, and increased opportunities to influence shoppers at the “moment of truth” within stores.

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