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How Walmart Marketers Can Win In and Out of Store with Performance Marketing

There’s more to shopper marketing than coupons and samples, and if you wait until your shopper is already in the store, you’ve already lost the battle. Technology has changed the way people learn about and acquire everything from socks to real estate. You have to meet them where they are, with information relevant to them, at a time when they are receptive to your message. The “best practices” ground is always shifting. You need to stay nimble, connected, and aware. On March 12, 2019 Supplier Community brought together a group of shopper marketing rock stars from a variety of suppliers, agencies, and service providers to help participants do just that.

One of our featured speakers was Chris Campbell, Director of Client Partnerships with Ibotta, who shared his insights on where shopper marketing began, where it is now, where it’s going, and how performance marketing can help you reach the ideal state for Walmart marketers.

Shopper Marketing: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Shopper marketing has been around in one form or another for a long time. Ever since the early 1900s and the introduction of mass media, companies have spent large amounts of money reaching consumers through broadcast media channels such as radio and television.

Then, around 20 years ago, the world was introduced to digital display that targeted customers based on purchase intent, using search history and cookies.

Display media gave us the ability to capture massive amounts of data. Unfortunately, companies don’t always know what to do with all this information, so they hire insights organizations to help them figure out how to manipulate the data.

Today, we’re entering a new era in which many organizations are already participating – the era of performance marketing. Performance marketing allows marketers to target customers based not only on purchase intent, but on past purchases as well, yielding much higher conversion rates.

The Ideal State for Walmart Marketers

The basic model of shopper marketing is the four-part funnel. We spend money on advertising and media, which in theory is driving purchases, which is driving insights, so we can then retarget that ad spend and drive more purchases.

  1. Build Brand Awareness

The first part of the funnel is building brand awareness by getting content to the right consumer at the right time with the right message.

  1.  Drive Conversion

The second part is driving conversion by presenting a call to action, something within the body of your media or in-store element that motivates the consumer to make that purchase.

  1.  Measure Results

After that, we must measure results. What is the attribution, the sales lift, and the incrementality?  How effective was this media and did it do what we wanted from a KPI perspective?

According to Campbell, at this stage, it’s important to have defined exactly what those KPIs are in order to effectively measure results. We need to determine what the client is ultimately looking for and how we can solve for that.

  1.  Optimize Campaigns

The fourth piece of the ideal state is taking those measured results and optimizing the media to drive ROI, drive up return on ad spend, and improve to further meet objectives on any future campaigns.

Unfortunately, Campbell says this doesn’t always happen, and there are some misses when it comes to reaching this ideal state, especially in the area of purchase intent. When analyzing your media – how you’re messaging consumers – it’s important to look at it from the perspective of driving them to a product, specifically with an incentive. In other words, we need to make sure we’re driving conversion, and the best way to do that is to give shoppers what they want.

Give Shoppers What They Want

So, what do shoppers really want? A recent study from Nielsen, in which consumers were asked “What is most important to you?”, answers that question.

  • Rebates or Cash Back – 49%
  • Product Discounts – 46%
  • Free Products – 35%
  • Free Shipping – 35%
  • Frequent Flyer Points – 20%
  • Exclusive Access to Sales/Merchandise – 16%
  • Discounted Shipping – 13%
  • Recognition as Valued Customer – 9%
  • Higher Priority Service – 8%
  • Charitable Donations – 5%
  • Personalized Experience – 4%

The study shows that shoppers want to be rewarded for trying something new. If you want shoppers to treasure hunt your product or purchase a trial item, new innovation item, or line extension, you need to not only help them understand the messaging, but provide them with some incentive to do so.

Partnerships, Collaboration and Incentives

And while this all seems pretty intuitive, Campbell says a broader range of the funnel is often missing. Even organizations such as Ibotta live toward the bottom, primarily covering the conversion side of the equation, which is why partnerships and collaboration are so important.  

Since 2012 Ibotta has given over $500 million to users through partnership initiatives which succeed because they are based on what the user wants out of the promotion. And once you’ve determined what they want, then you can move up and down the funnel to establish how the promotion should be positioned, what kind of creative should be built, what the available measurement tools are, and how the insights can be derived from all of that.

In the end, most consumers want content that is personalized to their particular situation, and by employing multiple partners – from CPG startups to Fortune 500 companies – you have the ability and opportunity to reach a broad range of clients. If you’re going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a large campaign, you want to make sure it really works, that it’s bringing people to Walmart and driving sales. That’s how you really measure its success.

“Platforms that can not only deliver real eyeballs, but convert them into sales are the biggest winners of P&G’s digital ad spend shift.” 

The above quote from Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard highlights that point. Companies don’t want to spend their shopper marketing dollars on driving brand awareness. They can do that themselves. They want to spend their dollars on driving sales, and that’s what shopper marketers, as their partners, are being judged on.

We must be willing to bring others to the table. According to Campbell, that’s the way we should be operating, rather than through traditional financial silos. Take the budget conversation out of it and just say, “Here’s the situation. We have XYZ client, this is their objective. Help us get to that.”

It’s only then, by working with one another and putting all of the different partners together, that each of us will be able to accomplish our individual goals and see real success.

Click here to view the full video.

You can also find more information or sign up for future Supplier Community events here.