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“There are lots of digital efforts by brands going direct to consumers, and there are lots of efforts by retailers direct to consumers, but there’s been little understanding about how to truly combine a brand and a retailer together in a digital medium that builds equity for both.” 

– April Carlisle, Senior Vice President, Global Shopper Marketing, Arc Worldwide, quoted in “Let’s Get Digital,” Shopper Marketing, May 2013 DIGITAL SHOPPER MARKETERS SURVEY LOGO

A little over a year has passed since Shopper Marketing and the Path to Purchase Institute shared with us their findings in the 2013 Digital Shopper Marketing Survey and as much as it hurts to admit, I believe April Carlisle’s statement above regarding the digital rift between retailers and brands still rings true. Why is it so difficult for brands and retailers to get on the same page digitally?

Working with the largest CPG/Food companies has given me an inside line on how to nail digital shopper marketing programs with retailers of all different sizes and formats.

Let’s Look at Reasons why Digital Shopper Marketing Efforts Suffer

Some findings from the survey . . .

Few marketing organizations have digital shopper marketing departments
  • 47% of the 46 executives surveyed reported that their organizations did not have dedicated digital shopper marketing departments.
They have undersized staffs   
  • 51% stated that their companies had between one and five employees in total who are working on digital shopper marketing.
They lack the right technology and tools
  • When asked “What are the main barriers preventing you from creating effective digital shopper marketing programs?”, the top write-in answer was “Tools not yet fully developed.”
They lack well-defined digital shopper marketing strategies
  • Only 51% of respondents said that their organizations had developed a digital strategy; 38% said they didn’t, but were planning to create one.

One Year Later:  Where Do We Stand?

Source: Path to Purchase institute/Shopper Marketing magazine

Source: Path to Purchase institute/Shopper Marketing magazine

Good news first:  The survey did find that 84% of the organizations surveyed intended to increase their budgeting for digital shopper marketing over the past year. The bets have been placed and CPG and food companies are “all-in” on digital shopper marketing.

The bad news: Simply throwing money at the problem won’t fix it. CPG companies can’t simply “staff up” and expect to start performing. Imagine trying to develop a digital shopper program with each of the top 20 Hispanic grocery chains, the top 25 drug store accounts, and the top 50 convenience chains. What headcount is needed? Where do you find the talent? What’s the investment?

“You see a lot of manufacturers and retailer executing programs that are just promotional in nature,” Carlisle told Shopper Marketing, “and they’re calling that shopper marketing.  If it’s not shopper-informed, your digital efforts will be just as bad.” Imagine again launching the programs listed above. How would you learn nuances among these retailers to truly deliver content that aligns with each account?  How would you measure results?  How would you scale retailers or scale across your brand portfolio?

The industry is in a strange place right now. Sure, brands have figured out how to work with Walmart, Target, and Kroger. Other retailers demand more customization as technology improves and the pace of mobile and social quickens. This is tricky, since most brands tend to tier their retailer partners based on sales figures or growth potential. I believe only the top 10 retail chains get the attention they deserve.

How to Grow Your Retailer Relationships, Starting Today

Here are four ways to grow your relationships with mid-tier accounts, improve trust and alignment, and implement programs that win.

First things first, “drawing a line in the sand” with your retail accounts is so 2009. Remember, mid-tier grocers (or convenience, or pharmacies) grouped together have the same sales and upside for growth as a Publix or Safeway. Don’t forget the smaller players – apply these four attitudes . . .

  1. Listen to your retailers. Find out where social media, mobile, and other strategies sit on their list of priorities. Learn what type of content best syncs with their goals. Ask their advice on how to deliver programs that solve a problem of theirsFact: The likelihood that a retailer will activate digital programs increases as the size of the retailer decreases.
  2. Leverage technology to help overcome your staffing gap.
  3. Fail fast and make sure you have tracking and analytics set for all of your interactions with retailers. Learn. Tweak. Repeat. In a rapidly evolving space, we’re all learning.
  4. Take the time to set your priorities. If you’re investing in shopper marketing, you’d better be selling more product. Also make sure to outline your secondary and tertiary objectives: increase customer engagement, improve customer relationships, amplify new product launches.

Promoboxx Is The First Digital Shopper Marketing Platform Built to Eliminate Your Barriers to Creating Winning Digital Shopper Marketing Programs

Promoboxx is a solution to any of the four main reasons, which I outlined above, why digital shopper marketing programs suffer. If you are short on staff or don’t have a dedicated digital lead, we’ve got you covered. If you haven’t built a well-defined digital shopper marketing strategy, our technology and expert team together can shape a winning playbook. If you believe the technology doesn’t exist, then I invite you to schedule a demo.

Here’s what you will discover . . .

  • Our platform was built for retailers first, because retailers matter most. We studied why tier 2 and 3 retailers in the grocery/supermarket, drug, mass, and convenience channels are hard to activate. We built a solution to eliminate their hang-ups, improve communication, and increase engagement by as much as 400%.
  • We efficiently augment the size of your staff. The right marketing professionals, fully skilled, are waiting here at Promoboxx to help you succeed.
  • We drive store visits. Increase Sales. Expand carts for your partners. Our tracking and reporting close the loop.
  • We connect your brands with your retailers. We will help you enable effective co-marketing with all of your accounts, regardless of their size or format. Build trust. Improve relationships.

Enhance Your Campaigns – Request a Demo Today

Proven expertise, cost-effective management of digital shopper marketing campaigns, and technology that puts you in control of your campaigns.  If those benefits speak to your brand’s needs, it is time to talk to Promoboxx.

Speak With Us Today