The fishy business of Shopper Marketing

I’ve got a voracious appetite for reading. This weekend I’m trying to catch up on a few industry reads. This morning I’m browsing through the 2nd Edition of Shopper Marketing, published by Kogan Page Limited in 2010 and updated in 2012. I like it because it has 36 chapters, each by a different professional from across the globe,  many of whom are colleagues and friends.

The subtitle of this new book is called “How to increase purchase decisions at the point of sale” but it’s hardly ironic that my favorite chapter is about what happens at home.  Because it is truly the day-to-day patterns of our everyday lives that shape not only what items we impulsively toss in the cart on a given shopping trip, but what brands become inscribed in our sub conscious brains as cultural preferences.

It’s also no surprise that Harvey Hartman wrote the chapter. Shopper marketers, especially those in insights areas of the discipline, tend to drone on about need states. Harvey, (whom I know and admire for his frankness) will tell you, correctly so, that experiences in our homes generate cultural tasks, not need states. In a nutshell, the study of culture trends and shifts matters greatly to all things shopper.

His story in the book gives me a fond memory AND true understanding of exactly why I used to buy Gorton’s fish sticks, and why, since picky eater toddler finally grew up, I no longer ever need to buy them again, but feel connected to the brand in a positive way.  It also explains why my husband continually sneaks regular Ritz crackers (and liversausage) into the cart despite the daunting nutrition label and its impact on his physical heart. The impact of Ritz crackers on his emotional heart is just to strong to resist.

At the end of the day, it behooves (love that word) every marketer who is accountable to the shopper (read as: ALL of us) to back away from thinking just about in-store behaviors. It’s prudent to move some of your research and personal reading time to understand the culture of preference and the impact of life at home to the deep-seated preferences we all bring with us to the stores.

The Hartman Group, encompassing a fine group of smart and intuitive humans that surround the always outspoken Mr. Harvey Hartman himself, have continually provided true depth and dimension to my reading and to my understanding of the fishy business of shopper marketing. They helped shape my non-stop shopper-centric focus in the business.

For now, I’m on to a chapter called Too Many Choices, a situation that actually prevents sales at the shelf. This chapter will likely explain why I love small stores and farmer’s markets!

What’s on your reading list?


2 thoughts on “The fishy business of Shopper Marketing

  1. Dear Annie,

    Thanks for the post! Very interesting point of view.

    I would like to invite you to have a look at my blog on shopper marketing.
    There is a section devoted to explaining what is shopper marketing and why it matters.

    Also I published a post “Is Shopper Marketing A Marketing Fad Itself?” which might be interesting to you.

    Hope hearing more from you soon!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *