Two weeks ago I flew out to beautiful Minneapolis to attend the Path to Purchase Institute’s Shopper Marketing Expo, overall a great experience. The exhibitor floor was jam packed with great vendors and solid solutions, Heineken of course did not disappoint with their after party, and the speaking sessions gave great insights to the state of the industry and what the future of shopper marketing will bring.
One thing that I found interesting during my visit was that many of the exhibitors are still somewhat stuck in a dated model of marketing to the in-store shopper. There were all sorts of great and appealing POS, floor mats, lighting, displays etc… that are meant to garner attention from the consumer while they’re in store, but it just didn’t seem like enough. As the first day’s keynote Kristil Argyllan cited during her session, brands need to leave room for innovation. As an industry, it is important to not only embrace new technology, but to understand it, and grow with it. She explained the story of how the slogan “Got Milk?” was created, and why it has stood the test of time in an industry that is constantly changing. In this example, she spoke about the realization that the milk consumer doesn’t even think about milk until they run out. Only at that time does it dawn on the consumer that they need to run out and get milk. There’s not much time for consideration of purchase, or a post-purchase dissonance. Often times a spouse will pick it up on the way home from work, or parents will send their teens to the store to pick it up.
How does this set the stage for a dated model of shopper marketing? It doesn’t matter how blanketed brands are in their approach to getting attention in the store, how attractive or positioned the product is. These things help sure, I’m not dismissing the fact that a great display will grab my attention and make me think about the product, but that’s really just in passing. Now more than ever, an attractive display might not even be seen due to our incessant engagement with our mobile devices. This outlines how important it is for brands to shift to the mobile device in the shopper marketing industry.
A term I’m almost sick of hearing at this point is Millennial. Brands and Agencies are watering at the mouth to sink their teeth into this consumers wallet, yet they’re not targeting them correctly. Millennials grew up in the digital age, they’re on their device more than any other generation, and they have the most spending potential. This generation wants instant gratification, and that’s not being given to them through a targeted mobile ad, a fancy display, or a bright POS fixture.
The Shopper Marketing industry can benefit immensely by adopting a more mobile facing strategy that rewards millennial consumers in store. For example, gamification is a hot spot in mobile right now. By using gamification, we can drive consumers in store to redeem a reward or get a chance to play again once in store to receive a higher valued reward. This sort of engagement keeps your brand in the mind of consumers in the ‘pre’ and ‘during’ shop, and gives you ground to interact with the consumer after the purchase. Offering a fun and simple experience while in store with a chance for instant gratification allows consumers to gravitate to your brand and associate it with a positive experience in future shopping trips.
Case and point, make room for innovation. The brands that best connect the digital and physical world are the brands that will dominate the shopper experience for years to come.