Today’s Shopper Marketing: It’s Open 24/7

New study shows traditional marketing approaches the door, welcomes ‘omnichannel’ approach

Published in Convenience Store Products

By
Steve Dwyer, CSP Reporter

NEW YORK -- What was once a mass-marketing push with an emphasis on traditional, “above-the-line,” paid marketing—campaigns with fixed on and off switches and longer lead times—is now anchored around ongoing, dynamic, multi-touch experiences.

In other words, like a good c-store, marketing never closes.

Dubbed omnichannel marketing, the concept aims to jettison tight control and silos and replaces them with a focus on provoking content through integrated brand planning and activation.  

These insights serve as core takeaways from global management consulting firm Booz & Co.’s report “Reimagining Shopper Marketing: Building Brands through Omnichannel Experiences.” Authored by boozdigital consultants Matthew Egol, Raju Sarma and Naseem Sayani, the report was done in collaboration with The Brand Activation Association (BAA), a national nonprofit supporting marketing disciplines.

According to the authors, omnichannel marketing is “not just another iteration of how brands collaborate with retailers on events and promotions—it’s about how they re-imagine their engagement with the consumer shopper so that it rises above ‘siloed’ behavior, unlocks value across devices and platforms, and delivers a more curated and interactive brand experience.”

Devices and platforms are seen in the continued emergence of mobile apps, websites, social media and more, with devices and platforms serving as a springboard to take fragmented brand interaction with consumers to foster omnichannel marketing. 

One example cited was Minneapolis-based General Mills, which has collaborated with retailers “to influence the path to purchase through insight-based content solutions.” The company has developed programs “to deliver inspiring food content ideas on sites like www.bettycrocker.com, while also tying in-purchase incentives.”

These collaborative programs are supported with integrated marketing designed to influence both in-store and e-commerce sales, factoring in “retailer dot-com presence, paid media support and in-store integration.”

Retailer Call to Arms
While retailer actions are often contingent on what starts upstream with their supplier partners, retailers must unleash their own unilateral efforts to build omnichannel marketing. The report cites that retailers “hold rich troves of data and insight into the purchase habits of their most loyal shoppers, the types of events and occasions that drive shopping trips, and their relationship with the products they purchase most.” 

The report goes on to state that “value from omnichannel marketing is unlocked as brands and retailers build sophisticated insights of their own—but even more so as they connect these capabilities to one another through broader collaboration and partnership.

“Retailers need to pursue a more scalable and strategic approach to developing their programs, while embracing ways to collaborate with brand manufacturers so both sides can build greater scale and fully leverage the strength of their respective brand portfolios, content assets and marketing investments.”

Moreover, manufacturers and retailers must “choose the best way to play, given the nature of their markets and their unique brand portfolios, and then develop a limited but distinctive set of capabilities that enable them to execute that way to play.”

From a marketer perspective, boozdigital found that CPGs are poised to increase certain select investments that support an omnichannel approach.  

When marketers who participated in the report were asked how they would change various elements of ad and promotional mix over two year’s time, 44% plan to increase the presence of mobile marketing more than 10%. For social media, 37% plan to increase these efforts more than 10%, while Internet ads on retailer sites and shopper marketing were both areas where ad and promotional mix will be hiked up. 

Marketers also expressed a stated goal to invest in branded content and shopper experiences to engage shoppers prior to store visits to grow the shopping basket. Investing in branded content and shopper experiences to drive repeat usage and loyalty after shoppers buy and use their products was next up to bat. Leveraging mobile apps to better activate shopper behavior in the store was also cited.

At the end of the day, content serves as the fulcrum for this channel marketing approach, but in that context content deployed goes well beyond TV commercials or print ads. “The consumer experience has become nonlinear and always on, and the number of ways marketers can interact with the consumer has exploded.”

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