In the world of consumer goods, there are those who use them—the consumer—and those who buy them—the shopper. In many cases, such as pet products, baby formula, and menswear, the person doing the shopping isn’t the same as the one doing the consumption.
So why do marketers invest so heavily in whipping consumers into a desirous frenzy and then fail to appeal to the shoppers who ante up the money at the check-out?
Shopper marketing bridges this vast gap. We start by understanding the person who consumes your product. The consumer marketing team’s job is to create desire in the consumer and they can’t possibly do this unless they know who should want the product. What do they want from the product? How often do they consume? On what occasions do they consume? What drives their desire to consume it?
Once you have this information, you can focus on increasing that consumption, which should be your goal if you want to build the brand and increase sales.
You can go to great lengths to influence the shopper but if there isn’t a consumer on other end pushing for the shopper to buy the brand, your success is compromised. The consumer’s needs go unfulfilled and your sales won’t meet your expectations.
Consider this. A teenager wants mom to stock up on a certain sports drink and even puts the brand name on her shopping list. She gets to the store and sees a display of a different brand on a gondola end. She can’t see the difference in the products themselves and therefore figures that one sports drink is as good as another. So she buys the alternative. Her teen might be disappointed—or not—but will consume the beverage any way, and may even like it better. The point is, because the manufacturer failed to impress its brand value on the shopper, they lost the sale. And the result is that this consumer might actually become loyal to the alternative.
Without youngsters nagging mom for their favorite cereal, teens in need of the coolest clothing, or men deciding it’s time to upgrade the television set, the wheels of purchase are not set in motion. The shopper marketing approach recognized the importance of this role as the necessary spark. The consumer goods company has three customers: the consumer, the shopper, and the retailer. Each one requires a different relationship and a unique set of influencers.
First, know your consumer. Ensure that your brand is desirable. Build your value proposition so that it resonates so powerfully with the consumer that this individual pushes all the harder for the shopper to make the buy of that specific brand. That teenager should tell mom that no substitute is acceptable, and here’s why. If you fail to impress the value upon the consumer, the shopper won’t see it either.
Start with the consumer and create a powerful ally here. But be clear that it’s the shopper who wields the ultimate buying power.
Do you know who your consumer is? What about those who shop for the consumer? How do you differentiate your marketing to each segment? Please share your thoughts and experiences here.