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    Shopper Marketing Needs Better Collaboration to Succeed: Study

    The Promotion Marketing Association said it has new research on best practices for maintaining relationships between manufacturers and retailers.

    The Promotion Marketing Association (PMA) said yesterday that better collaboration is key to successful shopper marketing for retailers and manufacturers alike, according to proprietary research the association's Shopper Marketing Center of Excellence conducting with Nielsen Business Media.

    Findings from the study, The PMA Survey on Managing and Measuring Shopper Marketing, were unveiled during a panel discussion at the PMA Shopper Marketing Conference in Minneapolis yesterday.

    "The survey...reveals breakthrough insights into shopper marketing, " said PMA president Bonnie Carlson. Conducted in March of this year with Nielsen publications Brandweek, Progressive Grocer, and Convenience Store News, the study polled manufacturers and retailers as well as the agencies and marketing service organizations collaborating with them, to gain insight into the latest practices and trends in shopper marketing.

    Over 60 percent of those polled said that they're currently practicing shopper marketing, and 94 percent of retailers believe that all or some of their competitors are already practicing shopper marketing.

    According to the PMA, any shopper marketing definition must include three essential elements: it is grounded in an actionable understanding of the shopper; involves reaching/connecting with consumers when they're in the shopping mindset, whether within or outside of the retail environment itself; and is a joint effort between manufacturers and retailers.

    Other survey findings include:
    -- Two-thirds of retailers have seen increases in sales and improvements in profitability as a result of collaborating on shopper marketing initiatives, while two-thirds of manufacturers have also experienced enhanced profitability. All reported higher sales, enhanced brand equity, stronger retailer relationships/greater cooperation, and stronger consumer relationships.
    -- In general, both manufacturers and retailers believe that it's mainly the manufacturers' responsibility to bring shopper insights to the planning table, though a good portion of manufacturers want retailers to offer more shopper insights.
    --Just one-third of both retailers and manufacturers said that they agree on the metrics for evaluating programs even "most of the time."
    --Almost two-thirds of manufacturers said they only "occasionally" or "never" agree with retailers on how to measure programs, while no retailers reported that they agree regularly with their vendors.
    --Two in three retailers noted that manufacturers are aware of their segmentation, but aren't well versed in it. In fact, two-thirds of manufacturers don't consistently build their programming around the retailer's segmentation.
    -- Among retailers, 31 percent named strengthening consumer relationships as their primary reason for running shopper marketing initiatives, while less than 10 percent of manufacturers cited the same objective.
    -- 22 percent of manufacturers said that their main reason for such initiatives was to bolster relationships or gain greater cooperation with their retailers, but none of the retailers surveyed feel this way about their vendors.
    -- 44 percent of retailers said that they're more likely to support shopper marketing programs than standard initiatives, and none said that they receive a lesser level of support.
    --Almost six in 10 manufacturers reported that retailers are giving more support to shopper marketing than they did just a year ago, although only one-third of retailers said they're getting more support from manufacturers over this same period.

    Based in New York, the PMA is a not-for-profit organization and resource for research, education and collaboration for marketing professionals.

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