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September 9, 2014
We’ve Got to Get to Da Shoppa!
It doesn’t take Arnold’s muscles to reach today’s shoppers. It’s much more about brains than brawn (or budget).

At home, most people avoid commercials by changing channels, fast-forwarding, checking their phones, or even leaving the room. Online, many of us have trained ourselves to ignore banner ads and pop-ups. And in the store, we’re usually ticking off items from our list, or just running in to grab a couple items and get out as quickly as possible.

But hey, us semi-evil marketing types gotta move product. So how do we overcome all those obstacles? By stepping into the shopper’s shoes, utilizing a complete marketing team, and employing a multidisciplinary approach.

Have you ever REALLY thought about your target audience and their day-to-day experience? From the moment they wake up to the end of their day, each of their respective journeys is unique.

And understanding that shopper journey — knowing their wants and needs and mindset — is the best way to formulate your messaging and communications tactics.

Ask yourself:
  • How do I communicate to shoppers at home, if/when they’re making a list?
  • What might attract their attention in the store?
  • Can we keep them engaged after they’ve made their purchase?
The bottom line: It’s all about creating a positive customer experience, from “pre-shop” to “post-shop.” So have fun with it, get noticed, and give them a compelling reason to choose your client’s product.

To improve your chances of success, consider every marketing discipline — from traditional advertising to public relations to social media (and others, of course). Bring these brand stewards together and get them on the same page with your strategy, and let them do their jobs:
  • Ad Person: Create and maintain the overall branding, develop traditional campaigns, etc.
  • PR Person: Build awareness, share news of product introductions and/or innovations
  • Social Media Person: Maintain the brand voice and campaign throughout social networks, be responsive, and monitor submitted user-generated content
So how will you reach out to your existing and potential customers?

For your pre-shopping communications, you might try banner ads, email blasts, e-newsletters, or good old-fashioned direct mail, newspaper inserts, print ads, radio, or TV.

At the store, there’s always window signage, shopping cart ads, floor decals, shelf danglers, coupon dispensers/tearpads, unique displays, sampling stations, or even coupons beamed to customers’ smartphones. You could reward them with immediate savings, or ask them to submit a text, photo, Facebook post, or Tweet.

And at the register, you can give them special codes on their receipts (to enter on a microsite for sweepstakes entries or rewards points) or connect with the store’s loyalty program (or fuel points program if they have one). Or check out some of the cool apps you can partner with to deliver exclusive, interesting content.

After their shopping trip, you can reward them for their purchase (have them enter UPC codes or receipt codes via website/microsite to earn stuff), as well as for any social sharing. Offer free downloads, coupons, giveaways, or prize drawings every week or month; try anything and everything to keep your customers engaged (and your brand at the top of their list).

Obviously, different products call for different tactics, but the overall philosophy is the same:

Understand the shopper journey as best you can, and reach them along the way with targeted, relevant messages in creative ways.

After all, you need to drive sales. So get on the shopping list, or attract their attention in-store. Convince them your product is worth buying. And then get them engaged with your brand, and keep them interested.

If you execute a successful shopper marketing program — and you knew this was coming — "they’ll be bock."

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