On Tuesday, March 25th, I was honored by being inducted into the Shopper Marketing Hall of Fame. It was a special night and I was truly humbled to share it with so many friends in the industry in addition to my wife, Mary.
Shopper Marketing is still a young, vibrant industry that never seems to stop having an identity crisis.
There are many folks who’ve been in this space far longer than I have, but when I started in 1997, no one had Shopper Marketing in their title. Today almost all Fortune 1000 companies selling goods at retail have some form of a Shopper Marketing role, whether it is in the Customer Insights area or in Marketing.
Because of its relatively young history and broad scope of impact, it is no wonder the definition of Shopper Marketing is still something that is often debated amongst Marketers and Retailers.
This year I was asked to Chair the Shopper Marketing Effie Jury. One of our first courses of business was get down a definition for SM that we as Jurors could use to find common ground before judging the work. What we found was that when you start at the center and focus on what is core, there is significant alignment. However, when you get to the tactics on the outer core, that’s where things get unclear.
We found common ground on the following core areas:
- SM is strategic. It takes a business problem point-of-view and approaches it from a systemic perspective vs a short term promotional approach.
- SM starts with trying to overcome a Purchase Barrier for a brand, category, or retailer.
- SM uses shopper Insights to narrow the focus on the thing that will cause behavior change or change a mindset.
- SM requires creativity. It is part craft and part science. It considers the emotion and senses of touch, sight, sound, and motion.
As you move outside the core circle, there are other areas that come into play such as:
- Evaluating the Purchase Barrier across the entire Path-to-Purchase.
- Considers in-store/omni-channel.
- Considers Trips and the nature of Trips.
- Often has collaboration between Supplier and Retailer in order to be effective.
On the whole, the space of Shopper Marketing is beyond the stage of basic definition and is now shifting to what role it will play in Omni-channel marketing, Internet of Objects, Proximity and Presence marketing, and the intersection of Digital and Physical.
While I’m super honored to be inducted into the Shopper Marketing HOF, I’m even more excited about what lies ahead and hopefully being part of shaping, discussing, and debating how we as an industry evolve this fun, creative, and ever-fast segment of Marketing.