All Marketing Is Shopper Marketing, But I Digress

Are you tired of hearing about shopper marketing? Or no, maybe you are still wondering what the hell “shopper marketing” is? It’s two words for retail, instead of one.

Stuart Elliott calls shopper marketing “one of the hottest fields in advertising” in his piece on Team Enterprises, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Team Enterprises is starting its shopper marketing division, to be called Team TransActive.

Steve Groth, a partner at Team Enterprises, said, “The game is being won or lost for clients at retail.” He added: “We’ve had the nucleus of a shopper marketing group for some time, and we wanted to super-charge those capabilities.”

Retail is like direct. It’s one of the neglected corners of the industry. The Arkansas of Advertising.

Having worked at two prominent retail shops–The Integer Group and BFG Communications–I’ve long held that a brand’s in-store work has to match the smartness of the brand’s top-line advertising. The brand might be built on TV, in print or online, but the deal goes down at the point of sale (or it doesn’t).

This is an exciting time to be working in retail, a.k.a shopper marketing, a.k.a. promotions or marketing services. Technology has breathed new life into the field. What were once flat, dumb end-aisle displays are now giving way for something better. Today an in-store display can be an information kiosk where brand preference is fortified via real time personalization. For example, if your grocery store knows that you enter the wine and beer section each time you visit (thanks to the RFID-enabled customer rewards card in your wallet or purse), and that you typically browse in that section for five minutes on average before moving to the cheese aisle, the store and/or a beverage brand is able to craft special offers just for you, and notify you on your mobile in real time.

Here’s a look at how technology is changing sampling, a core element of the retail experience:

To rock at the point of sale today, a brand and its partners need to function on many levels. A so-called marketing services firm has to be deliver point-of-sale advertising, mobile marketing, real time marketing, experiential marketing, relationship marketing, one-to-one marketing and direct marketing. To say nothing of incredible design skills, analytical ability and a commitment to building the brand at every point of contact.

Are you down? I hope so, because there’s an emerging class of digitally-empowered shoppers waiting for you to feed them what might amount to a coupon, but in a way that makes them smile and come back for more.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.