Moore’s Law and Shopper Marketing – Day 1 Morning Recap from SIA

Moore’s Law is the observation that over the history of computing, the number of transistors found on integrated circuits doubles every two years. Intel figures chip speed doubles about every 18 months. Well, based on the morning presentations at the Shopper Insights in Action conference sponsored by IIR USA, it feels like shopper marketing knowledge is doubling about every year.

John Danrow, Founder & CEO of SmartRevenue started the day off with opening remarks including the challenge for companies to consider why they spend so many dollars on marketing pre-store when so many decisions are actually made in-store.

The jury is still out on the impact of shopper marketing on marketing mix allocations but experts like Darren Marshall, VP Shopper Development at Coca Cola, are doing what they can to give shopper marketing a voice at the table. Darren shared how Coke is challenging themselves to become “shelf-savvy marketers”. They have begun by putting processes in place to bridge their knowledge gap, they’ve created a disciplined marketing framework, figured out how to scale internally, begun sharing best practices globally and put the measures in place to sustain the effort.

I point this out because it seems like CPG companies have not only put internal organizations in place to find new opportunities with shoppers, they also seem to be deepening their understanding and capabilities. And they seem to be doing it fast. Maybe not Moore’s Law speed, but then again, maybe so.

This is partly due to the dramatic impact of macroeconomic trends. Andrew Duguay, senior economist at ITR, went through several of the leading economic indicators (I particularly appreciated his list of three indicators to “politely ignore”: consumer expectations, unemployment, and core inflation, and his rationale for ignoring them). I’ll now be following ITR because of the quality of Andrew’s presentation. But I was struck by the volatility of many of the indices. Things can change relatively quickly and affect consumer behaviors.

Richard Winter, POPAI and Michelle Adams, VP Strategic Insights at Pepsico shared “What Makes Shoppers Stop”. Highlighting 4 consumer segments – Time Stressed, Explorer, Trip Planner and Bargain Hunter -, they shared in-store shopper behavior for each group based on retinal scan videos. The videos and technology used were impressive, the data collected was massive and the insights were astounding. Back in 1995, data indicated 70% of buying decisions were made in-store. And with all the discussion around new paths to purchase and winning the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), you might think that number had gone down… considerably. But POPAI’s research on these four shopper segments indicated that the number has actually gone up! 76%! Seems counterintuitive (especially when you see studies like this one from IRI in 2009 that says 83% of decisions are made in the home).

That’s the kind of information and data that this group of CPG leaders are reconciling at the conference. There’s a lot going on, it’s changing rapidly and these leaders are bringing unifying principles to the topic. All this continues to point to the rapidly developing body of knowledge around shopper marketing in response to the rapidly changing consumer environment. I’m looking forward to the remaining Shopper Insights in Action presentations. Moore’s Law may not exactly apply, but then again, maybe it does.