A recent article by Engage Consultants implied that seventy percent of money spent on promotions is wasted because too many shopper marketers do not market very well. Not only is that a harsh statement, it is very alarming to those in shopper marketing. The reason for the implication was based on two words that are missing in shopper marketing plans: target and profit. According to Dr. Philip Kotler, a well-known marketing guru, marketing is “the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit.” Targeting and profit are words often forgotten by shopper marketers, who tend to also confuse sales with profit. In order to achieve profits with shopper marketing, the key is to target the shoppers who represent the majority of your current profit and the ones who represent the largest opportunity for future profits. Loyal buyers that always buy your brand, on or off promotion, should be your number one target market. The path to profit revolves around repeat purchase at full price, not at a discount.
The model of a successful shopper marketing program consists of fully understanding the behavior you want from your shoppers and the marketing mix that will achieve that behavior. Brands and retailers must stop training their shoppers to buy on promotion if they want sustainable profits and not the up and down, roller coaster profits of price discounting. This not only teaches them to wait for a discount before they buy and then pantry load, but it also trains the shopper to switch to another brand that is on promotion if your product is not.
In the new shopper marketing era, we must change our thinking to what motivates shoppers beyond price and then train them to purchase products regardless of a discount. The good news is that there are a plethora of shopper marketing tools that can be used to effectively target shoppers along their path to purchase. With the average shopper using 10.4 forms of communication to make purchase decisions, there should be no problem finding the right tool to reach shoppers and turn them into profitable customers.