Choosing Mechanics to Effect Shopper Behavior

How do you currently select the mechanic you use in an activity. If you are like most shopper marketers this decision is often driven by the retailer, or the sales team, or by what we did last year. All of these need to be considered in our planning (if our mechanic isn’t acceptable to the retailer it won’t fly: if it doesn’t deliver the budgeted sales or profit, likewise it won’t work). But if we are to ensure our shopper marketing activity is truly effective, we need to consider one additional dimension. If the goal is to enable consumption growth by changing shopper behavior, then the choice of mechanic will depend significantly on what impact we want to have on shopper behavior (and on consumption beyond that).

How do we know which activities impact shopper behavior in which ways?

The best answer to this lies in effective activity evaluation: only by measuring the impact of an activity on our target shopper (and if possible on the consumer) can we really understand what will happen. Different activities will impact different shoppers in different ways. One shopper might find a sample irresistible: another might be far more interested in a discount. And it might vary by category too. But measuring all of this could be time consuming, expensive, and therefore restrictive. Fortunately there are some general rules that we can apply to get us started: some activities typically lend themselves to certain behavioral changes. We’ve prepared a list below: but please don’t use this as a replacement for brainstorming mechanics, nor as an excuse to skip evaluations!

Typically, there are three broad changes in shopping behavior we seek: driving penetration (of a category, brand or segment), driving frequency, or building transaction size (either in terms of buying more product, or more expensive, product). The table below looks at each of these and makes suggestions as to which mechanics are usually useful against such objectives.

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