Forging a New Ring of Power in Shopper Marketing

Okay, maybe a Lord of the Rings metaphor feels a little out of place here, but stay with me on this.  Over the last few days at Shopper Insights in Action 2011, three “forces” have been presented that are fundamentally changing the shopper marketing landscape: Neuroscience, Technology and Community.

A.K. Pradeep did a masterful job at presenting the compelling influence neuroscience is having on shopper marketing.  For example, three key metrics of the brain – attention, emotion, and memory retention – correlate directly with three key market performance indicators – purchase intent, novelty (differentiation), and awareness which in turn yielded marketing principles such as motion, novelty, error and ambiguity.  Combined with another compelling neuroscience presentation this week by Jonah Lehrer, one would have to conclude neuroscience is having a profound impact on marketing to shoppers.

But consider also the power of technology.  Beyond the brain science, there were whole tracks devoted to mobile, GPS, social media, digital engagement and emerging technologies with topics that included engaging in a digital world (ref. Scott Finlow VP Shopper Insights, PepsiCo) and a discussion of using virtual reality prior to making capital investments (ref. Cindy Casper and Cecilia Wu from Sam’s Club).  If those weren’t enough, there was also a preponderance of attending businesses offering hi-tech neuroscience-based research services (e.g., check out

And finally, it became very apparent from presentations regarding the power of collaboration and engagement with consumers (ref. Rejuvenating a Franchise by Family Dollar and The New Age of Collaboration by A-B among others) that there is power in communities where consumers, brands and retailers converge for meaningful communication and connection. Grant McCracken also pointed this out on Day 1.

These three new powers – neuroscience, technologies and communities – when combined together – form a powerful new set of forces for value creation; value for consumers and economic value for business.  So, now you know why I used the “ring of power” from  LOTR (that’s Lord of the Rings) as a metaphor.  Forging (aka, integrating) these powerful forces in the furnace of the marketplace will yield even greater power… but this time for the good of those wielding it.

(Special Note: LOTR aficionados will recognize there are 6 more rings. That is true. They are being forged in secret in the marketing departments across the consumer products and retail world. More discussion about them at a later date. Until then, may the force be with you… oh, wait… wrong metaphor…).