Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 8th 2015 Contents Marketing's love affair with
Ever since the advent of
the brand management
model, marketers have
embraced the belief that
the consumer is the cen-
ter of the marketing uni-
verse. Business schools
teach it, pundits preach
it, and marketers heed the call to conversion.
Brand teams have been indoctrinated to
believe that in order to build a successful
"brand," they only have to understand the
target consumer: the person consuming the
product or service.
That s why marketing has traditionally
stopped at the entrance to a retailer because
brand marketers believed that if they had
communicated effectively with the consumer
up to that point, they were in good shape to
But this consumer-only approach to mar-
keting is no longer sufficient. The industry
is now increasingly discussing the strategic
role of the shopper but this increased strategic
significance has many brand marketers asking
Why the shopper is
Why the shopper is strategically important
is directly linked to what marketers are ulti-
mately responsible for doing. You may say
we re responsible for things like building
brand equity, increasing share, building an
emotional connection with consumers, and
These are all valid but, according to the
American Marketing Association s (AMA)
official definition, marketing is responsible
for "delivering and exchanging offerings." In
other words, getting people to purchase goods
and services. In the end, marketers are respon-
sible for affecting behaviour, whether that s
purchase or consumption.
At our very essence, we should strive to
become behavioural experts. We don t build
brand equity solely for the sake of equity. We
build it so shoppers will purchase the brand
and consumers will consume it. We build
equity to affect behaviours, an idea most
marketers have not yet internalised.
So if we re responsible for affecting behav-
iour, then shouldn t everything we do across
a fully integrated marketing plan (consumer,
shopper, trade, innovation) be geared towards
influencing the same purchase and consump-
tion behaviours? The answer is yes, absolutely.
The industry s recognition of the shopper s
importance has been slow because companies
struggle with understanding how a new dis-
cipline like shopper marketing fits into old
Something we all need to ask is whether
the marketing approaches of the past are suf-
ficient to move us forward. Are we relying
on old thinking hoping it will transform mar-
keting for a new generation of consumers
Marketing has become increasingly less
strategic and more tactical. Have you found
yourself delivering incremental share points
only to see them erode away two quarters
later? This lack of effectiveness has marketers
scratching our heads and asking whether
we re successfully connecting with consumers
and shoppers through the right messages,
delivered at the right time and place and with
the correct amount of emotional insight. I
think it s safe to say that we re not consistently
delivering any of those things.
There are gaps in the picture we ve painted
of our consumers, gaps that must be filled
in order to accomplish our vision of full mar-
We need new ways of building strategies,
ways of filling those gaps.
One way is to change our focus from purely
consumer, to consumer plus the shopper.
Understanding the differences between the
two will give any company the holistic portrait
they need in order to build a successful shop-
per marketing discipline.
The strategic role
To best understand the strategic role of
the shopper versus the consumer let s look
at how these two terms are typically defined:
Consumer: Consumes the product or service.
Shopper: Purchases the product or service.
You ll notice that the shopper is drawn
inside the consumer because the emotional
is always influencing the behavioural. Shop-
pers do not walk into a retail space as blank
slates. They come fully loaded with all kinds
of information from the consumer that affects
their behaviour in that store. It s important
to note that whether your shopper and con-
sumer are the same person or two different
people these principles remain the same.
The consumer absorbs information that
builds the perception of and relationship with
the brand. The shopper absorbs any infor-
mation relevant to a purchase and then com-
bines it with the consumer information during
the decision making process. It s this inte-
grated information that the shopper carries
along their shopper journey.
People shift between the roles of consumer
and shopper throughout the day. If you used
the last bit of shampoo this morning and
made a mental note to add it to your shopping
list, you went from consumer to shopper
back to consumer, all in a matter of seconds.
This can happen anywhere, at anytime in
If we were to now write expanded defini-
tions, this is what they would be:
Consumer: Builds the perception of and
emotional relationship with the brand that
includes consuming the product or service.
Shopper: Leverages that perception of and
emotional relationship with the brand while
going through the decision-making process.
The strategic role of the consumer is to
build an emotionally intimate relationship
with the brand while the role of the shopper
is to leverage that emotional connection along
their journey so they purchase the brand.
Shopper marketing is simply the recognition
of the shopper as a new strategic target, the
behavioural variable of marketing.
It s important to point out that the con-
sumer and the shopper must both have an
intimate emotional relationship with the
brand. There is this perception that since
shopper marketing is about driving purchase
that it needn t be emotional, and that with
the perfect rational sales argument complete
with promotional idea, product attributes
and price, we can win with shoppers.
This couldn t be more wrong. Emotion
drives everything we do as humans, including
our purchase decisions; therefore, brands
must always either be building that emotional
connection or leveraging it.
Product attributes and price have their
role, but outside the context of the emotional
connection they are purely tactical and much
By adding the shopper to your marketing
strategies, you re accomplishing two critical
First, you re now addressing both of the
marketing variables: emotion and behaviour.
Second, your linking the shopper s in-store
experience to the consumer s out-of-store
experience, driving a new level of marketing
integration. This type of integration is the
future of marketing.
Christopher Brace is the founder and
CEO of Shopper Intelligence and he will
be in Trinidad from the March 12-14, 2015
at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School
of Business to deliver a one-day seminar
on shopper marketing: Bringing New Value
To A Brand's Go-To-Market Strategies
(March 12) and a two-day workshop on
shopper communications: Bringing Emotion
To The In-Store Environment' (March 13,14).
If you would like further information on
either of these workshops, please contact
645-6700 ext. 330 or send an email to
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JANUARY 2015 • WEEK TWO
Arthur Lok Jack GSB
Setting the stage for shopper marketing:
Strategic role of the shopper
The strategic role of the consumer is to build an emotionally intimate
relationship with the brand while the role of the shopper is to leverage that
emotional connection along their journey so they purchase the brand.
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