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Shopper Marketing 2.0

Jane Casey shares Three Ways to Fuse Experiential & Digital and Supercharge Your Shopper Marketing.

It seems that the marketing industry is moving increasingly towards a digital-first approach to engaging with customers. Still, nothing beats the live experience, especially in-store.

A real-life, meaningful and engaging in-store promotion or event allows customers to interact with a brand in a way they simply can’t do on a screen. A live brand experience stops the shopper in their tracks. It inspires, educates and adds value in a way that just isn’t possible online.

While digital and experiential campaigns are both effective in communicating with potential customers, they are not mutually exclusive. At Pluto, we continuously seek to merge these two mediums in creative ways, so as to deliver an evocative live experience that lives on newsfeeds and in online communities long after the trip to the shopping aisles has finished.

Shopper marketing can benefit hugely from a digital injection and this is an opportunity that far too few brands are seizing. By not plotting out a digital strategy that works in tandem with the live shopping experience, brands stand to lose the chance to make an ever greater impact in-store while nurturing valuable relationships with their customers afterwards.

For FMCG brands, in particular, in-store visibility remains key to boosting salience right where it counts – at the ‘moment of truth’. This tried and tested method absolutely still works, with over 20% of shoppers saying that they have been influenced by in-store media. But, what about the 70% of people who say they browse their phones while shopping? How can you make Digital and Experiential work together to amplify your in-store promotion and generate even more sales?

Bridging the Gap between Online and Offline – Pluto’s Three Steps to Success:

STEP ONE:   Have an integrated game plan for your promotion 

A well-deployed digital and social plan for before, during and after your promo will, first, increase awareness, interest, and curiosity around your campaign before the live experience. And second, reinforce your campaign messaging in customers’ minds long after they leave stores.

The key to achieving an in-store campaign that shines both on the aisles and on the screens is by creating an integrated game-plan that translates your in-store message into an online format.

STEP TWO: Know your customers and where they live online 

Central to an integrated game-plan is an effective targeting strategy, implemented on the correct digital channels to hit the right message home to the people that matter. It is crucial to pick your platforms and target messaging accordingly. One size certainly does not fit all! For example, if your audience is predominantly aged over 40, Facebook would be the perfect platform to invest budget. On the other hand, if you want to reach Gen Z, you’re better off investing in Instagram Story ads to get your message in front of the right eyes.

For McVities, Pluto brings our #GetBackToReal theme to life for shoppers at a variety of touchpoints, only some of which are in-store. Our ongoing work with McVities sees the use of well-targeted display ads on Facebook and Instagram to amplify in-store promotions. Using rich, localised content that carries the campaign message, like video, GIFs, and teasers, our campaigns engage the shopper when they’re back at home having a cup of tea and browsing their newsfeeds.

STEP THREE: Make a lasting connection 

No matter how big or small your in-store promotion, there’s always an opportunity to make customers aware of your online presence and stay connected – and these can double up as extra fun ways to grab attention longterm. A campaign hashtag is a staple for every campaign these days, but you can drum up some hashtag engagement by providing clever branded photo opportunities or ‘hashtag to win’ competition mechanisms.

Perhaps you could get a bit techier and use tablets on-site to collect email addresses in exchange for exclusive free content like e-books and discounts. Those email addresses can be used for direct email marketing, marketing research, targeting social ads… you name it. (Just make sure you ask for permission and for customers to double-opt-in – remember GDPR!).

At Pluto, we believe first and foremost in the importance of creating an authentic experience in-store that embodies and brings to life the reality and the personality of the brand. We translate that experience to digital platforms in a way that doesn’t just increase sales during the promotional period, but deepens affinity and also begins a conversation with the brand and with each other, that continues long after the promotional period is finished. That’s how to super-charge your Shopper Marketing.

Jane Casey is senior digital & social manager at Pluto the agency www.pluto.ie

First published in Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ May/June 2019)© to order back issues please call 016611660

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