Shopper-Marketing Success Depends on Manufacturer and Retailer Collaboration

May 30, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Agency Business | Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Retail & E-Commerce

Collaboration among retailers and manufacturers is critical to the success of shopper marketing, according to research commissioned by the Promotion Marketing Association (PMA) Shopper Marketing Center of Excellence with Nielsen Business Media.

Two-thirds of retailers polled say that as a result of collaboration they have seen increases in sales and improvements in profitability; similarly, two-thirds of manufacturers say they have realized enhanced profitability.

“The PMA Survey on Managing and Measuring Shopper Marketing” study was conducted to gain insight into the latest practices and trends in shopper marketing – a high-growth discipline within integrated marketing that is a distinct way of targeting consumers, the PMA said.

Shopper marketing has three essential elements, according to the PMA: A grounding in an actionable understanding of the shopper; reaching/connecting with consumers when they’re in the shopping mindset, whether within or outside the retail environment; and a joint effort between manufacturers and retailers.

More than 60% of those surveyed report that they are practicing shopper marketing; and 94% of retailers perceive that all or some of their competitors are already practicing shopper marketing.

Nearly 6 in 10 manufacturers report that retailers are giving more support to shopper marketing than they did just one year ago; but just one-third of retailers say they are seeing more support from manufacturers over the same period.

Among other key findings of the survey:

Shopper Insights

  • Two of three manufacturers report that they are conducting primary quantitative and qualitative research to better understand shoppers, and their shopper insights could be stronger.
  • In general, manufacturers as well as retailers say it is primarily the manufacturers’ responsibility to bring shopper insights to the planning table, though a good portion of manufacturers want to see more shopper insights coming from retailers.

Measurement and Follow-through

  • Only six in 10 manufacturers report that they consistently performed a postmortem, and just 55% of the total say they share these evaluations with their retail customers.
  • Only one-third of retailers and manufacturers report that they agree on the metrics for evaluating programs “most of the time.”
  • Nearly two-thirds of manufacturers say they only “occasionally” or “never” reach agreement with retailers on how to measure programs, while no retailers report that they agree regularly with their vendors.


  • Two in three retailers report that manufacturers are aware of their segmentation, but are not well-versed.
  • Two-thirds of manufacturers say they do not consistently build their programming around the retailer’s segmentation.
  • Part of the problem is that 64% of manufacturers said they have developed their own shopper segmentation.

Primary Objectives of Shopper Marketing Programs

  • Increased sales is the top objective for retailers as well as manufacturers.
  • Among retailers, 31% list strengthening consumer relationships as their primary reason, while less than 10% of manufacturers say so.
  • Some 22% of manufacturers report that their primary reason is to strengthen relationships or gain greater cooperation with their retailers, but none of the retailers surveyed say so about their vendors.

About the survey: The comprehensive online survey, fielded in March 2008 with Brandweek, Progressive Grocer and Convenience Store News, polled manufacturers and retailers as well as the agencies and marketing service organizations working with them.

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