Written by Roger Jackson,
July 27th, 2017 | Views

Is Shopper Marketing a Waste of Time?

OK, we should probably re-phrase our question for this blog – does shopper marketing waste too much time in our companies?

But what exactly do we mean by that? In our business lives*, there are two key things that contribute to time wasting. Firstly, spending too much time and effort on the wrong activities. Secondly, spending too much time making decisions, or not making decisions, or discussing making or not making decisions.

Thinking about this from a different point of view, if you already knew exactly what would make your shoppers buy more, then wouldn’t that save a huge amount of time? We’ll take each point in turn, and break it down.

Firstly, companies spending money on the wrong thing. A classic example of waste could be investing money in existing shoppers and rewarding them for no change in behaviour. Or perhaps, targeting loyal users of another brand who are not interested in swapping, wasting more money. It may even be investing in potential shoppers who on that visit to the store, just didn’t see a need for your category at all… These are just a few examples of misspent resources.

Then we have the second element; time making decisions. How much time do you and your wider team spend debating things about the shopper where no one really knows the answer? Do shoppers buy less than they could because they find the fixture confusing? Are we failing to get a fair share of attention because we don’t stand out enough? Are buyers of the competitor brand interested in something that category doesn’t talk about? Well, you could spend hours debating back and forth. And when everyone has an opinion, you do waste precious hours.

There are two things we hear all too often. One is “we didn’t land any commercial outcomes from our recent shopper research project” and the second is “our last research didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t already sort of know”. We scratch our heads to this –  it just shouldn’t happen!

Good shopper research will save time and money by helping you decide where and how to put your efforts. It should also save time by making future decisions faster. However, it isn’t going to do these things like waving a magic wand. If we had one tip for reducing your shopper marketing “waste”, just ask yourself one killer question: can you tell us, with certainty, one reason that an individual shopper bought more of, or something different in your category, on a recent shop? Starting here can help you move towards reducing waste on your shopper marketing and inform better decisions across all business activities.