Close the loop
We talked a little bit about closing the loop when we dissected the Zoozoos campaign sometime back. Now, P&G is leading the charge in closing the loop with all its advertising campaigns – if it doesn’t work at the store, it’s no longer a good marketing idea. P&G is propagating this “store back” concept with all its agencies, not just its shopper marketing agencies. According to P&G, shopper marketing should not be seen as yet another process, but as a change in mindset. If agencies don’t have the end in mind while coming up with the marketing idea, it’s a miss.
Despite spending close to $3.5BN on trade promotion, P&G still sometimes gets beaten by smaller rivals who have a sharp focus on the store shelf. For example, Colgate-Palmolive’s SoftSoap has maintained its share in the competitive body-wash category even though it spent less that $5MN on measured media. What is key to this SoftSoap success is formulation, fragrance and packaging, which seem like a distant hazy dream on TV spots. The only one place where these can be interacted with is at the store. No wonder Colgate states emphatically that their packaging is the No. 1 touchpoint with the consumer.
While the article does give more examples and reasons why shopper marketing is getting more attention, we believe that the store is the best medium to capture conversions. These will not happen with just mass media or the lip service that agencies pay to Integrated Marketing Communications.
P&G is taking the first bold step to move from “consumer led” marketing where agencies looked for insights into how people use and interact with the product into what is clearly “shopper led” marketing. Here, the agencies will have to think differently. How do people buy the product?
A shopper at shelf is open to, and is asking for information, when they are comparing products. The stimulus-response gap is the shortest at point of purchase. By giving the right stimuli backed by fundamental sciences, we can do more to influence behaviour and help brands close the loop by making the mass media work harder.