Key pillars of shopper marketing and insights on the digital shelf with DIAGEO #21

June 15, 2022

According to a recent survey by the Path to Purchase Institute,  53% of shopper marketing teams report into marketing and 33% report into sales. For a relatively mature discipline across CPG, shopper marketing is still experiencing a surprisingly large amount of growing pain.

So, how can we change this? In this episode, we’re breaking down the key pillars of shopper marketing on the digital shelf to explore how CPGs can build and activate their brands as effectively as possible. To do this, we’re joined by a fantastic shopper marketing expert: Efrain Rosario, Global Head of Futures Shopper Planning at Diageo and host of a new podcast called The FMCG Guys.

This post is based on an episode of The Digital Shelf Cast featuring Julia Glotz. For more conversations like this one, subscribe to The Digital Shelf Cast on AppleSpotify and everywhere else you listen to podcasts.

📝 The show notes

04:13 How Diageo is thinking about the shopper marketing discipline.

“Here at Diageo, we tend to think of shopper marketing as the process by which we create and activate experiences to help our consumers discover buy and ultimately enjoy our brands. […] “So, that to me is why I think shopper can, in essence, reside both in commercial and in marketing functions and be effective whichever place it advocates. Because our responsibility as members of our organizations is, ultimately, to create those connections between commercial and marketing so we can play it both.”

Shopper marketing and insights sit within the wider structure with responsibility for the insights and strategic planning elements from a shopper perspective. Witnessing a shift between commercial and marketing is ultimately one of the beauties of shopper marketing – it helps make the connection between commerce and brand building for the organization.

10:24 In three words, the most significant shopper behavior changes over the recent past.

  1. Willingness to try. Shoppers were more open to trying new brands and retailers, new channels during the pandemic. And while some things have shifted back, some of the stores, new brands, retailers, and channels that consumers tried have ultimately become a habit for them.
  2. Data fluency, not just from a brand and retailer standpoint, but also from a consumer standpoint. Consumers and shoppers have become savvier with regards to understanding the importance of personal data and the value it represents. If brands started to educate consumers and shoppers with regards to the value of their own personal data in turn brands and retailers will ultimately service their shoppers and consumers.
  3. Elevated influence of purpose, brand purpose with regards to purchase decisions. What a brand stands for and how it chooses to operate, making sure that they’re creating value not just for the individual or the entity, but also for the world community.

13:48 Growing price sensitivity affects a shopper willingness to try new brands and new products and the value shoppers place on purpose is taking a bit of a reduced role with some of the current economic uncertainty. Brands and retailers have to consider the balance both providing moments of escape, while at the same time helping consumers to optimize their savings.

15:28 Marketers became more agile as a response to changing shopping habits. Diageo had to adapt internal workings to move faster or more effectively. Personally, it’s made him much more open and willing to experiment with new data sources.

17:56 Being new to the organization, he’s bringing fresh thinking to the metrics that Diageo explores. That’s finding a balance between the metrics that have been tracked on an ongoing basis and being able to complement those by looking at the data that is available and analyzing it in a slightly different way or thinking about how to use the same data to map the consumer and shopper journey in the omnichannel.

“It’s not so much about reinventing the wheel, but it’s more about how we can take the best of what already exists and just make it that much better.”

19:42 Why an omnichannel-first mentality is critical to shopper marketing. Today’s we won’t find too many examples of consumers that shop exclusively through one specific channel and that’s not just even thinking about everything they buy, but even thinking about one purchase.

23:02 The most common reason why CPG organizations sometimes find it difficult to act on the insight that omnichannel-first is important. Too often large orgs take what could be very simple and make it overly complex. He’s a big fan of simplicity. Part of the challenge has been how to effectively distil something that can be very complex in into understanding what is the core essential piece of what I need to go and do.

26:09 The importance of product pages on the digital shelf. Increasingly people are using online product pages to research and narrow their consideration. So, the goal of product pages is very similar to physical touchpoints and stores. Product pages are there to help people understand or to educate them on the category that they’re buying from, giving them the pieces of information that they need to make a purchase decision.

“There are different elements within the product page that do those effectively. For marketers it’s about understanding that brands have that touchpoint in the journey and thinking about how to best utilize that in unison with other touch points on the journey.”

27:45 Looking ahead to some of the big trends shaping shopper marketing and insights:

  1. The increased influence of purpose on purchase decisions. Relevant questions are around the role of sustainability, social activism, local community regarding influencing what products people choose to buy.
  2. The blurring of physical, digital, and virtual venues. What does that represent for the shift and consumption occasions for one’s category
  3. Raised expectations around the experience that certain products or certain categories tend to provide

30:57 The continued expansion of Diageo’s DTC platform, TheBar.com both in terms of the added value to consumers, but how the org can leverage the learnings not just to be more effective on the bar.com, but also on other channels as well.

31:31 Looking head to the next three to five years, we all must develop some level of data fluency. It’s key to leverage some of the internal expertise that one has around data but also leveraging some of the partners, other teams or talking to interesting companies that are in your specific industry.

35:21 Having new media and new platforms present an opportunity for brands and retailers to collaborate more.

37:36 Launching The FMCG Guys  in partnership with The CPG Guys in the US and his one essential piece of advice,

“Stay constantly curious because it leads to exploring the edges of consumer shopper and culture to find out what’s next. That mindset of experimenting and curiosity is what’s going to be critical in terms of defining the modern marketer.”

👋 People and references

  • Diageo
  • The FMCG Guys
  • The CPG Guys


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