Last week I attended a fantastic event in Chicago called “The League of Leaders,” an initiative run by the Path to Purchase Institute. Heard of them? Of course you haven’t.
That’s because the subject matter focused on shopper marketing, the red-headed stepchild of the marketing ecosystem.
I delivered a keynote to this group of marketers representing pretty much the crème de la crème of the entire consumer packaged goods spectrum. In my opening remarks, I made a joke about the fact that the advertising industry was slumming it in Cannes, whereas I’d hit the proverbial jackpot at the Westin O’Hare Airport Hotel, instead of puking off the port side of a luxury yacht.
Unfair comparison, really. The reality is, the only place to be was in Chicago. That's where the REAL money is! Case in point: Total U.S. retail sales projected for 2014 is a whopping $4.7 trillion (according to eMarketer), with in-store representing $4.4 trillion of this amount.
So why then is the overwhelming majority of marketers’ budgets being spent on acquisition marketing, designed at worst to deliver reach, frequency, awareness and whiffs of consideration, or, at best, to get someone into a store or supermarket, as opposed to completing the process and closing the deal in-store?
Observation 1: There is a complete disconnect between what is spent on prospecting, persuading and reminding versus what’s spent on sampling, converting and closing.
According to Veronis Suhler, $51.53 billion will be spent in 2014 on point-of-purchase, coupons, promotional licensing, premiums, loyalty programs, product sampling, and finally sponsored games, contests and sweeps. As a rough benchmark, eMarketer projects 2014 US media ad spending to be $177.8 billion (that’s ad spending, not marketing).
If you are familiar with my Marketing Bowtie™ framework that essentially unifies the traditional and flipped funnels (picture them side by side, where outside-in meets inside-out to deliver a bowtie), then we would be talking about what I call P.O.P. (place of purchase and/or point of purchase).
Observation 2: There is an acute lack of investment, intellect and/or innovation in the last three feet (in-store).
Speaking of P.O.P., there’s also a third expression, namely “proof of purchase.” This gets into flip the funnel territory, or retention as the new acquisition wheelhouse. In an era of mobile wallets and Passbooks, there is an extremely limited showcase of viable technologies, platforms and/or apps designed to deliver “from the cart into the heart” (stick a ™ on that for me, please).
Observation 3: The marketing machine abandons ship at the sale, and does not continue the momentum and relationship building post-sale.
The fact is that shopper marketing (increasingly being referred to as customer marketing) is still thought of superficially and tactically instead of from a more holistic and integrated perspective. If only there was a way to connect the dots…
Which brings us to the final piece of the puzzle, the one device to rule them all, the true common thread throughout the entire contact management continuum.
Of course I’m talking about mobile.
Observation 4: Mobile suffers from the same neglect in-store as it does everywhere else in the marketing world.
Arguably, mobile is even more important in-store.
As is innovation.
Fortunately, I did see a handful of incredible technologies and startups at this meeting that are looking to revolutionize the blue ocean of shopper marketing. These companies are also coupled with startups experimenting in areas like multiscreen integration, heat mapping, conductive ink, augmented reality, in-store mapping and big data.
And so, to those executives frequenting the aisles of their favorite supermarket for Pepto-Bismol to nurse those post-Cannes blues, I humbly suggest “canning” next year’s festival for a much shorter, less costly trip.
You don’t even need to leave the premises to have arrived.