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    CPG Companies Increasingly Rely on Shopper Marketing

    New survey reveals trend will likely continue, as 95 percent of respondents are actively engaged in shopper marketing. 

    WESTPORT, Conn. -- Shopper marketing -- defined as "strategy- and insight-driven in-store or retailer-specific marketing that includes some form of equity-building messaging" -- has become a widely practiced and transformational approach in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, according to the 2011 Futurescope survey from GfK Interscope.

    Ninety-five percent of the 300 CPG/retail industry practitioners surveyed said they're actively engaged in shopper marketing, with more than 80 percent saying the emerging discipline is vital to their company's success. Half of the respondents say shopper marketing is driving innovation; and more than 60 percent say it is driving collaboration with retailers.

    The online survey polled industry players representing retail, food, beverage, personal care, healthcare, beauty, general merchandise and electronics.

    Three out of four respondents reported their company devotes at least 5 percent of its marketing budget to shopper marketing -- compared to 69 percent last year and 56 percent in 2009.

    "The survey found that financial investment in shopper marketing continues to increase. This upward trend will likely continue," said Alison Chaltas, executive vice president with GfK Interscope.

    When asked if shopper marketing will get significantly more resources and focus, 28 percent said it is already happening, while nearly half of the respondents (47 percent) predicted more investment within the next two years.

    The research found that digital and mobile technologies are exploding with a great deal of testing being conducted. Internet coupons/offers is the leading tactic currently in use, according to half of the survey respondents. Thirty-seven percent pointed to mobile websites as the leading tactic, with a third of respondents each naming QR codes on in-store displays and point-of-purchase, coupons sent to mobile phones and participation in retailers' mobile marketing.

    Two out of three executives "agree" or "strongly agree" that digital/mobile will transform shopping in next four years. More than half of respondents said such advances in digital/mobile tactics will shift power to shoppers by empowering them to the detriment of manufacturers and retailers.

    "Shopper intimacy fuels shopper marketing success," Chaltas said. "A robust shopper insights foundation is key. However, there is a shopper insights capability gap. Only half of respondents say their organization's shopper insights foundation is strong, but nine of 10 say shopper insights is 'important' or 'extremely important.'"

    Shopper intimacy is increasingly elusive, according to Chaltas. The industry has gone from a simple, linear progress of pre-store, in-store, in-aisle to a multi-stage web of evaluating, sourcing, selecting, maximizing and advocating. Along the way, there is a "dizzying array of shopper touch points" from online, mail, in-store and word-of-mouth.

    "All of the touch points are impacting that shopper throughout the day -- pre-shop and post-shop -- and you need to think about these not as consumer touch points, but shopper touch points," she said.

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