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Shopping for tomorrow: Visions of shopper marketing’s future

Shopper marketing continues to evolve as a discipline. We’re developing new tools, new technologies, and new talent to power our future. But what does that future hold? And what skills will we need to compete successfully?

Meyers CEO Micheal Lane tackled questions about the present and future of shopper marketing in February as part of a panel discussion at a Path 2 Purchase Institute League of Leaders meeting in Dallas, Texas. Here is a summary of his thoughts on the topic.

Experience is key. The shopper’s in-store experience is at the core of effective shopper marketing. If we want consumers to choose physical stores over online shopping, then we must provide value in the experience. It’s not about providing in-store entertainment. It’s about giving the customer a memorable, easy-to-navigate environment. To accomplish that, we need to simplify the message so the offer made by point-of-sale materials comes across with absolute clarity.

Message over medium. Technology is opening new doors for shopper marketing, with mobile apps and other tools changing the way retailers interact with shoppers. But shopper marketing should always focus on message over medium. Whether communicating with a point-of-sale display or a mobile app, the marketer’s job is to educate consumers about the value of their product and persuade them to buy. That requires a clear message that resonates with shoppers in any medium.

Reinforce your brand. The most successful brands are distinctive, relevant, and consistent. The more shopper marketing tools reinforce the essence of a brand, the more consumers will understand the value you offer. Conveying value requires that brands fully understand the category where they live and breathe in the retail environment. Know who your product is competing with on the retail shelf, understand the category leader and their offer, pay attention to what’s changed recently in the category, and learn what the category looks like online.

Change is coming. Tighten your seatbelts, because the pace of change is only going to accelerate. The retail market will remain in a state of flux for the next several years, and technology will drive those changes in ways no one fully understands yet. There will be winners and losers in the process. Success will require leveraging every available tool to understand how to best relate to shoppers. Marketers who hope to keep up with the change will have to demonstrate product and category curiosity. They’ll need up-to-date technology, and they’ll have to apply basic brand management to an ever-changing market in order to be effective champions of their brand.

Shopper marketing will continue to evolve because we as people continue to evolve. What we find compelling today might be tedious tomorrow. Keeping up with those changes takes effort, and it’s work Meyers prides itself on doing. If you need guidance through the changing world of shopper marketing, we’re happy to lead the way.