GfK Interscope recently completed some interesting research looking at the challenges of shopper marketing in the digital media era. Shopper Marketing analyzes the path to purchase - all of the information sources, influences and steps the consumer takes prior to purchase. While it's often associated with in-store activity, as well as being called by a variety of names, shopper marketing has been the beneficiary of loads of attention as the path to purchase no longer means go into a store, buy in-store, nor research online, buy online.
More often, the path to purchase has transformed from a linear process to something more convoluted these days - a combination of ROBO (research online, buy offline) activities, buy online pickup in-store, word of mouth driven activity or any combination you can imagine. What we know, and GfK confirms, is that there are more places to stop and learn, compare or price products, and that impacting the prospect along that route, or shopper marketing, is more important than ever.
The GfK study of executives in the retail and manufacturing sectors illuminated some key points:
- 80% said the emerging discipline of shopper marketing is vital to their company's success.
- Half reported that shopper marketing is driving innovation within their companies.
- 76% indicated their companies were devoting 5% of their total marketing budgets to shopper marketing.
- 47% indicated their companies would be increasing these budgets in the next two years.
- Moneys are being shifted from more traditional media budgets - TV and print - to fund shopper marketing initiatives.
While GfK points out that just five years ago, these budgets didn't even exist, they note the proliferation of channels and points of purchase as making it harder to break through to prospects.