It is true that none of these options is inherently good or bad, as that would have to depend on the organization’s priorities, scale, and available resources.
There is no right or wrong; in addition to the archetypes described here, hybrid options may work well, depending on what the company is trying to achieve.
Plenty of case studies of success from each model exist, but integration of shopper marketing into the existing marketing team is the preferred option. The appeal of fully integrated insights and strategies across consumers and shoppers is far too strong, as is the appeal of knowing that all marketing efforts are aligned and that campaigns work in harmony. Chris Hoyt of Hoyt & Co. suggests that economics support this, too.
Chris states that housing shopper marketing in the marketing department delivers, on average, a better ROI. While a sales-based shopper marketing team can lift ROIs to around 1.1–1.0; teams housed in marketing can deliver a significantly better performance of 2.5–3.1.92
Large organizations can overcome the retail collaboration/alignment issue by having shopper experts embedded in customer teams, having dedicated resources for key retailers within the shopper team, or creating matrix organizations.
Some maintain category management approaches within sales and separate only shopper insights and marketing. We strongly support the creation of a “commercial head” role in some cases, sitting above sales and marketing heads, ensuring that the two functions are aligned. Either way, it appears that there are routes to mitigate this situation, and the returns can be significant.
Even once the decision of where to house shopper marketing is made, there are many permutations.
We think the integration card trumps all. It is critical to bring together consumer and shopper insights to create a clear understanding of what opportunities exist to drive consumption and which shopper segments are important to enabling consumption.
The manufacturer must be clear on which channels are important to it before a retailer’s strategy is considered. While the five-step process is not supposed to be truly linear in that it is an integrated model—nothing is complete until the customer-investment piece is complete—it does run from consumer to customer.
Manufacturers should own their own brand strategy. This structure creates the possibility of marketing teams that truly manage brands rather than just managing the relationship between a brand and its consumers.
This blog found in Course 36: Where Shopper Marketing Fits.