Can Shopper and Brand Marketers Work Together?

December 9, 2016

By Kerry Breen


As the content writer for the ANA’s Marketer’s Edge research program, I work with a team to understand marketers’ top concerns and create practical tools and solutions that help them succeed in their jobs. The Marketer’s Edge just wrapped up research on the discipline of shopper marketing and found that shopper marketers are struggling to reach consumers across all touchpoints. The point of purchase is no longer just in-store as a result of the rise of digital marketing, and marketers are looking for new ways to create a win-win-win for brands, retailers, and shoppers.

Our quantitative research was validated with feedback from in-the-field shopper marketers at a committee round table held in September. I attended the meeting and listened to marketers discuss their biggest challenges, which were also identified by the research. 

The most animated discussion was around the lack of integration between shopper and brand marketing teams. Committee members felt that these teams can complement one another but that having different goals creates obstacles. Brand teams are less likely to think integration is valuable, so the shopper marketers in the room discussed ways to demonstrate the benefit to their colleagues. 

One committee member said that if national brand managers and shopper managers don’t work together, they won’t have the ability to create and control consistent messaging across all of a brand’s touchpoints. Another stated that the path to integrating these teams starts with making sure the right people have a seat at the table from the beginning. 

Other challenges found by the study that committee members discussed: 

  • Data: Shopper marketers have tons of data, but they don’t know how to extract insights to make an emotional connection with shoppers.
  • Lack of consensus on the role of shopper marketing: Many people still think of shopper marketing as a tactical sales driver and not as a strategic lever for growing a brand.
  • Talent: Shopper marketers need to start educating people and hiring more strategic roles. 

To read key findings from the research and learn how you can take action to solve your shopper marketing challenges, read the full report

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