Solving for Shopper

Many people in shopper marketing seem to think and act as if the shopper is the problem.  That’s a different and, in my opinion, incorrect way of putting the shopper at the center of the universe.

In Chapter 26 of the second edition of the book Shopper Marketing, Matt Nitzberg, an EVP from dunnhumbyUSA defines shopper marketing, when done well,  as “an expression of shopper-centered thinking and a deeply rooted shopper-centered culture.”

That’s number one on his list of five. Number five is “managed as a dynamic set of activities benefiting from continual measurement and improvement. ”

It’s a great chapter, full of frameworks to think about and use to build better shopper marketing practices. But, simply combining two key points in his definition premises gets me right back to my point. Solving for Shopper. Understand. Measure. Improve.

I’d ask you, as a practitioner, if you’re measuring improvement in sales in your category at retail, but ONLY if you’re also measuring an improvement in how the category (or your brand) is improving the shopper’s experience while shopping or life when he/she is using or consuming the products.  If all you can report is yes to the short term sales lift, you’re missing the whole point.

The shopper isn’t the problem. But she probably HAS one.  True shopper-centered culture means you’ve dug deep enough to understand the problem, and through your actions, are doing everything you can to alleviate it on her terms across her purchase experience. That is how you earn behavior change. When you can measure that type of improvement, which may take many versions of test and learn, you may actually be able to get to that elusive thing called loyalty.

It’s simple, yet we make it so hard. Matt lists eleven things that typically get in the way of the true promise of effectiveness in shopper marketing. In my twenty years, I’ve seen a lot of these things in play on a very regular basis.

As Matt Nitzberg says so eloquently in Chapter 26 of the Shopper Marketing book,  it’s important to understand how to stay on track with the shopper so shopper marketing doesn’t become “yet another way to rent market share from week to week.”

“Focusing on attempting to change shopper behavior through fairly irrelevant brand or store-centered initiatives must be subdued” in order to focus on the shopper, says Matt.

Those that do it well will use the continual cycle of test, learn, measure and improve to show results that reflect an ability to solve for the shopper’s problems. And that’s when the magic happens, and shoppers start sharing your stories, says ShopperAnnie.

FYI for my readers: I am NOT compensated in any way to write about this book. I did receive a complimentary copy of the book from the editors, based on my tenure in the industry. My choice to write about specific elements of the book reflects the passion points I have always supported; first and foremost a true commitment to face the shopper as the center of the universe.

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