Top Trends We Heard at the P2P Summit on Shopper Marketing
The Social Media Link team joined more than 600 marketers to collaborate, learn and share insights about driving shopper engagement along the path to purchase at the P2P Summit in Chicago. We heard from senior marketers and CMOs at top companies like Burt’s Bees, Kimberly-Clark and the Coca-Cola company share ideas on how to use traditional and digital marketing tools like personalization and influencers, as well as evolving technologies like AI and voice-activated shopping in order to affect the consumer’s path to purchase.
If you weren’t able to attend the conference, don’t sweat it. Here’s a recap of the top takeaways. Plus, check out what attendees and presenters were saying with #P2PSummit.
Consumer-Centricity is Key for Shopper Marketers
When it comes to standing out in the competitive set at retailers, brands must embrace the shopper as an individual. We heard marketers from Walgreens to Burt’s Bees and industry experts from Custom Intercept to Elicit Insights discuss the topic of consumer centricity in three ways: personalization, showcasing the consumer’s voice and authentic storytelling.
Brooke Niemiec, CMO of Elicit Insights, began her presentation with the claim that “a consumer-centric organization makes all decisions with the customer in mind.” In order for a brand to successfully implement a consumer-centric marketing strategy, the team must organize customer data and technology, generate actionable insight and drive business value that maximizes value.
For marketers at many brands, this means personalizing communications for consumers, especially when it comes to the beginning of their purchase journey. During his presentation, Greg Kearns, Brand Manager of Shopper Marketing for Walgreens Kimberly-Clark, said that the pre-shop battle for many brands is the most difficult part of a sale: consumers see more than 10,000 ads per day, and only 150 are acknowledged. With personalized advertisements, marketers reach the consumer with the right message at the right time. Since these messages stand out in the clutter for shoppers, personalized advertisements take the stress out of the pre-purchase stage in their journey.
Another way brands are embracing consumer-centric marketing strategies is through amplifying the voice of their consumers to communicate to other shoppers. In her presentation, Taylor Steele, Assistant eCommerce Manager at Burt’s Bees, shared how consumer-generated content is helping their team launch new products.
According to Nielsen, 66 percent of consumers say they trust consumer voice more than any other ad format. However, brands are spending less than $1B on consumer reviews, compared to $35B in paid search and $25B in display ads. When Burt’s Bees laid out and implemented a consumer review strategy, they saw a 90 percent increase in brand conversion.
Many presenters throughout the conference also urged marketers to understand and embrace brand DNA as a way to communicate their passion points and related causes authentically. Being able to speak to core values that align with the consumer’s values elevates loyalty. Don’t make the mistake of riding along with a cause in order to engage consumers – it must be part of the DNA of the brand.
Mike Berendes, Chief Evangelist at Custom Intercept Solutions, said in his presentation that “a compelling story is one that convinces an audience that something should be done.” Marketers can reach this in five steps: audience empathy, audience resonance, audience engagement, audience memory and audience action. However, in order to ultimately prompt audience action, the story a brand is telling must be authentic to its DNA.
eCommerce, AI and Voice-Activated Shopping Pose Challenges for Shopper Marketers
Throughout the P2P Summit, we also heard concern from shopper marketers and retailers over the rise of Amazon’s Alexa and the ability to address what is currently a small channel but shows huge growth opportunity. Ethan Goodman, SVP of Innovation at the Mars Agency and Rob Claffagllone, Lead of Shopper & Customer Marketing at Beiersdorf, spoke about how this trend is more than just a fad: “One in five people have made a voice purchase through an Amazon Echo or a similar device and another third plan to do so in the next year.”
Although voice-activated shopping was mentioned several times as the next big thing in shopper marketing, confusion and differing opinions existed in terms of how brands should address this emerging technology.
The clearest perspective seems to be: let the bigger brands navigate this first, as the process of selling on Amazon is still sloppy, and the bigger players are doing good work ironing out the wrinkles. For retail, simplifying and personalizing the path to purchase is key. Understanding purchase gaps is also critical in driving shoppers in-store. Shoppers may go to Target and Kroger and CVS in a single day, but retailers need to understand where their gaps are – where they’re losing on a category level and why – then message shoppers in a targeted manner to change their behavior.
Retailers are also racing to simplify and personalize the path to purchase in order to compete with external delivery/subscription services. There is a clear push for improved store delivery and curbside pickup, while also improving the in-store experience in order to entice shoppers to visit brick and mortars.