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30 Seconds On The Business Of… Shopper Marketing

30 Seconds On The Business Of… Shopper Marketing

Gulf Business speaks to James Tracy-Inglis, managing director of Saatchi and Saatchi X.

What exactly is shopper marketing?

Just that – marketing to shoppers! People behave differently when they are in ‘shopper’ mode than they do when they are going about their normal daily lives as consumers.

So as shopper marketers, we use insight into their behaviour, strategic tools and creativity to deliver communications that inspire purchase momentum and overcome barriers to purchase.

How popular is it in the Middle East?

Retail is big in the Middle East and so the need to actively plan shopper marketing as a communication tool is definitely growing.

Having said that, an increasing number of people are moving to the digital space for their purchases. This represents an exciting shift in the way people are shopping and therefore how brands engage with them along the digital path to purchase.

What are its biggest benefits, particularly in this region?

The benefits of shopper marketing are huge for those who do it well.

To effectively market to shoppers, companies must generate targeted insights for specific shopper segments, specific trip missions and even specific stores.

Shopper marketers should work closely with brand and category marketers along with promotion teams to develop integrated programs that meet the needs of the manufacturer, retailer, and shopper.

Do regional clients and marketers understand its importance?

I think that clients understand the importance of shopper marketing, but are still looking for short cuts and the market is mostly price driven.

What are the biggest challenges facing shopper marketing?

One of the main challenges is big retailers refusing to cooperate in sharing insights and relevant data from their systems for shopper marketers to create a targeted shopper marketing strategy.

Secondly, most of the marketing campaigns in the MENA region are based on a ‘traditional’ media approach targeting broad consumer bases.

Thirdly knowing shoppers is different from knowing consumers. They might be convinced as shoppers but the behaviour can be totally the opposite when they enter the store. We need to understand the shopper throughout the purchase cycle, otherwise we struggle to build long term loyalty.

Lastly, what kind of a role do you see it playing in the region in the near future?

With an empowered consumer, we are heading towards what we call the new model of a ‘participation economy’ and if yesterday’s buzz phrase was ‘return on investment’ then today and tomorrow’s will be ‘return on involvement’. This means finding out what is truly meaningful to your customers and involving them in your marketing by encouraging them to participate in the experience.

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