Food Brand Shopper Marketing: The Fundamentals

Fundamental Questions and Strategies to Build Your Food Brand’s Shopper Marketing Program

Food brands are constantly trying to get in front of consumers. This shopper-centric mentality helps shape consumer marketing in the form of various tactics, typically categorized as shopper marketing. Shopper Marketing is anything in or out of the store that relates to the shopper journey. Another way to put it, the path shoppers take to make a purchase. The overall shopper experience is always evolving; however, there are fundamental questions and strategies to follow. Following these will help your food brand build a smart and cost-effective shopper marketing program to reach your consumers.

Ask yourself, what is the goal of the program?

Sure, every food brand wants to increase purchases, but are you launching a new product making the goal to invite trial, or does your food brand’s product already have high affinity in the marketplace and you just want an additional push to stay top-of-mind? For example, if Coke was selling a new flavor, say Marshmellow Coke (can someone please make this product line extension happen?!) their teams would use different tactics of marketing versus standard tactics used when selling the tried and true flagship Coke. New products need different tactics and creative designs in order to stand out.

Other goals for shopper marketing programs might be:

  1. Invite trial of your food brand’s product
  2. Prove to retailers you’re supporting the shopper marketing program
  3. Seasonal products or campaigns

Remember that the shopper journey doesn’t begin in the grocery store

The journey of the shopper usually begins at home, in the car, at work, etc. Consumers may start by making a list of what they need at the store, cut coupons, go into their apps to find certain coupons (ex. Target Circle). Some of the best food brand shopper marketing tactics use proprietary algorithms to help identify shopper behavior, which makes my next point extremely important…

Targeting is crucial for success

It is critical to know your audience (typically found by using straight-up demographics). That way you can target their behavior, such as past purchases or online activity, and geotarget by either household or retailer locations. Take time to get to know your audience.

What are their behavior trends, and can you target them? Shopper marketing programs that identify behaviors and use IRI data to identify your ideal shoppers’ path to purchase is an excellent start to building a data-driven shopper marketing program with results.

For example, I’m an avid user of Target Circle. Before I do my grocery shopping, I like to look at offers, typically in the form of coupons, that I can add to my “cart.” I know Target delivers ads and offers to me based on my buying habits. Here in this picture, all of these items are ones that I have previously purchased, which means that these brands have spent shopper marketing dollars targeting me.

Invite your customers to try your product at a discount

Inviting trial is another way to measure the success of a food brand’s shopper marketing program. There are a few different ways to encourage trial…

  1. Couponing

Depending on your food brand’s goal of the shopper marketing program, one way to increase purchases within shopper marketing is to add a coupon. Examples of inviting trial digitally include Load to Card retailer programs. Examples of in-store offers include: Instant Redeemable coupon stickers / On-pack giving a value off, or Tear Pads paired with in-store signage. These are all great, fundamental ways to increase purchases when the consumer is already in the grocery store.

  1. Demos

With the changing landscape of COVID-19, in-store demos have taken a pause. However, demos are a great way to interact with the consumer instantly, allowing for trial immediately in the store and aide in potential purchases. Typically, great demo programs are coupled with a coupon to further entice a consumer to purchase.

Bonus Tip: If you plan to add couponing to invite trial, be sure to account for the costs of the coupon/redemption to your budget unless you have separate line items for redemption in your budgets.

Lastly, anytime you can get in front of consumers during the shopper journey is a good use of marketing dollars. Remember, shopper marketing tactics are different than, say, a brand awareness campaign that utilizes media such as TV or radio. Each has its own purpose in your food brand’s marketing toolbox, but shopper marketing programs are intended to reach the consumer while they are in that buying decision process.

Equally important is showing retailers you are willing to invest. Be sure to communicate your program with the category buyer. Remember, food brand shopper marketing programs don’t just increase purchases for your food brand’s benefit; there is a benefit to the retailer as well. It’s a win-win for both parties!

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the fundamentals of a shopper marketing program for your food brand, please reach out to the NewPoint team. If you are interested in more food brand marketing topics, please visit our Food for Thought page or check out NewPoint’s Patrick Nycz’s book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.