In this interview, CBD client Yasmin Mensli from agency FPP gives us a glimpse into the fascinating realm of shopper marketing and its distinctiveness from traditional marketing strategies. But what is shopper marketing? As Yasmin puts it, shopper marketing serves as the juncture where marketing investments manifest their ultimate returns. She sheds light on how FPP embraces the nuances of consumer behaviour and offers valuable advice for new brands and products venturing into this dynamic landscape. This is best represented by their tagline ‘Making Fantastic Simple’.
While traditional marketing endeavours focus on building brand awareness and desirability among target audiences, shopper marketing recognizes that this preference does not always culminate in a purchase. Shoppers can be influenced by various factors at the point of purchase, prompting them to switch brands or channels. aiming to identify, address, and overcome barriers to purchase.
Can you provide an overview of what shopper marketing entails and how it differs from traditional marketing strategies?
Shopper Marketing is where marketing investments are ultimately realised and returned.
Brands invest significant sums of money in traditional, or above-the-line, campaigns to build awareness and desire among their target audiences. However, it’s essential to recognize that this ‘preference’ doesn’t always seamlessly translate into actual purchases: the shopper can be swayed, switched, or deterred once they get to shelf for any number of reasons and shoppers in the region are increasingly switching entire shopping channels when their expectations are not met.
The essence of shopper marketing works to understand those underlying reasons, to address and overcome barriers to purchase. This can manifest through strategic investments in retailer media, the creation of captivating brand activation initiatives, and the cultivation of exceptional customer engagement experiences – but it more often than not takes the form of real brand-building initiatives. Initiatives that communicate a memorable, relevant, and believable shopper benefit that makes it easy for customers to say ‘yes’, and for our clients brands to be chosen again, and again.
How does your agency approach understanding consumer behaviour to create effective shopper marketing campaigns?
At FPP, we transform shopper marketing into a strategic advantage. While anyone can spend money in-store with retailers, our approach transcends the conventional. We cast our gaze globally to find hidden opportunities that enable us win retailers, shoppers, and consumers without sacrificing price and value. These opportunities aren’t always dramatic and cutting-edge – but once combined together are always imperative for success.
As an agency, we don’t seek a singular, universal breakthrough insight that applies uniformly to all shoppers, across all channels, and within all retailers. Instead, we recognize that the true potency of shopper marketing lies in our ability to comprehend the nuanced yet influential variations in attitudes and behaviours. It’s about integrating these subtle distinctions with a profound understanding of retail ecosystems and the intricate ways in which individuals perceive, decide, and make purchases within them.
What are some areas where you believe the UAE can benefit from focusing on shopper-marketing campaigns? How is the landscape here evolving?
The UAE is unlike anywhere else in the world. And just like everywhere else in the world.
Dramatic shifts in market dynamics, and infrastructure development mean that the region isn’t following predictable patterns of retail evolution we see elsewhere. But this ‘leap-frogging’ of shopper and retailer sophistication isn’t equally distributed: winning in the UAE means adapting and flexing to the requirements of customers with very different needs – using manufacturers’ brands to help grow their categories & stores, and manufacturer’s capabilities to help advance their market share. This unconventional trajectory of growth and sophistication in both shoppers and retailers challenges conventional norms.
Above all, winning in the UAE requires applying the fundamentals of shopper marketing to get brands into shoppers’ hands – something that is true the world over, and a core FPP competency.
What advice do you have for new brands/products setting up in the UAE market?
You only get one chance to make a first impression and that counts when introducing your brand or product to customers and shoppers.
In established Western markets we’ve seen brands become addicted to the sweet sugar of promotions, only to later grapple with re-establishing their value with customers and shoppers alike.
In light of this, we offer a crucial piece of advice: when entering new markets, approach the journey with a clear understanding of how your presence adds value. This involves enhancing retailer equity, driving footfall, increasing basket value, and, most importantly, addressing the needs and aspirations of shoppers. Use that to underpin your conversations, initiatives, and the way in which you show up to shoppers. And don’t lose sight of this!