Saturday, February 28, 2009

Synovate Aztec to Challenge AC Nielsen in Canada

Synovate Aztec have been looking at the Canadian market for some time. Their seriousness at mounting a challenge to AC Nielsen's Marketrack has been confirmed by the announcement that they have just hired Dave Mann - who was, until recently Sr. V.P. Marketing & Sales at Nielsen.

IRI looked at the Canadian market in the 1990's and succeeded in forcing Nielsen to remove exclusive contracts that prevented retailers providing transactional data to anyone else.

They eventually were unable to create an alternative to Nielsen's service in Canada. It was reported that they did force Nielsen to improve their service at the time in response to the challenge.

We'll see the result of Aztec's challenge. It comes at an interesting time as Nielsen recently recently restructured in Canada, letting go of a large number of staff.

Whatever happens it'll be fun to watch. These guys are not friends.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

British Retailers - A nation of shopkeepers

Tim Mason, Fresh & Easy's CEO, recently said that Tesco overerstimated the power of retail brands in the US when they launched. "There's less loyalty in the American market. A Brit has to hear it a few times before you accept that people make up their mind where to go each week when they check out the special offers round the kitchen table."

This doesn't surprise me. American retail brands have always been hampered by fragmentation of the market. And by the fact that their owners didn't see them as brands. Hence the surprise at the recent growth of private label brands - a development that is well advanced in Europe - where a store brand is often seen as superior to a national brand.

I have worked for French, British, Canadian and American retailers (including Tesco) and the Brits are always more likely to see their store as a brand and employ brand marketing thinking to promote it. A nation of shopkeepers indeed. Tesco were probably among the most advanced. No surprise that they misread the American market.

Tesco is now backtracking on those statements.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More head scratching over shopper marketing

Good article here from Ad Age. Same questions - what is it? Does it exist? Is the emporer naked?

This all comes from a media angle. The death of PRISM and lack of a common media metric makes it hard for traditional marketing to see shopper marketing as marketing.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Advertising Research Foundation - Shopper Insights Council

The Advertising Research Foundation has just created a Shopper Insights Council. Respect to Joel Rubinson for recognizing and promoting the importance of shopper behaviour to advertising and media planning.

Their first meeting can be accessed via free webinar. Details here.

Shopper Marketing – Pain Management

Lots of discussion these days on the difference between shoppers and consumers. In my opinion emphasis on the fact that they could be different people for the same product is misguided. They are often the same people but the key difference is their distinct states of mind.

The act of purchase, as opposed to the act of consumption, involves a degree of pain – the hip pocket nerve. Shopping involves conflict between areas of the brain associated with dopamine/reward (nucleus accumbens) and that associated with fear (insula). The reward is the promise of the product. The fear is largely the fear of loss – the payment.

So shopper marketing is addressing a different state of mind than brand marketing. The emphasis on reward – that is so strong in brand marketing – still needs to be there but there also needs to be reassurance on loss. For anyone selling anything there are many ways to do this. The classic way is via pricing and discounting. This is not always the best way for two reasons. Firstly because it is not always the most effective means of minimizing the pain. Secondly it leaves money on the table unnecessarily.

Another way is to guide and support the choice so they walk away from the purchase without the feeling of loss. This is the way to build brands in the store. That task is of course easier with a salesperson, especially one who is passionate and believes in the product. But in the grocery store the shopper is alone. The task of shopper marketing is to be the voice of the passionate salesperson, guiding and supporting the choice. If that is done correctly not only does the consumer choose the product but they feel good about that choice. And a consequence feel good about the brand.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shopper Marketing and the Path to Purchase

A new presentation attempting to add metrics to understand the path to purchase and how it relates to traditional marketing metrics like category involvement or brand equity

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We are The Oracles of the Obvious

I don't mean to denigrate the BrandSparks’ study because I think it yields valuable information but surely this is a contender for the "No Sh*t, Sherlock Award" of the year:

The vast majority of respondents (93%) said that when it comes to the drivers motivating new product purchases, providing better value for the money is either extremely important or very important, followed by offers better quality (90%), and long lasting/more durable (88%).

Next we reveal that the "vast majority" of humans value their lives and don't want to die. A similar majority find kittens cute.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Canadian Consumer Response to Recession

A very short presentation with some ponderings on consumer response to the recession. Last slide gives a model of how to understand brand performance....Not by asking "How likely are you ro reduce....?"

Put Away Childish Things

Yes, I am jumping on the Obama bandwagon. For it was he who revived this instruction from St. Paul and told us all to well, grow up.

One thing anyone who has been shopping with a child knows is that the urge to consume - and difficulty controlling that urge - is indeed very strong in children. I want it! I want it!

And you could interpret Obama's instruction as analogous to a parent telling his or her kid to shut up because 'we already have lots of treats at home' and 'it's almost dinner time'.

Unlimited choice and personal freedom, immediate gratification of needs are the driving themes of consumerism. And it was the baby boomers - the generation who swore never to get old - whose values have been so aligned to that ideology. Boomers celebrated childishness as no other generation had before. From the right to wear jeans to the day you die to Microsoft terminology (I am the only one who thinks "My Computer" and "My Pictures" sounds a little Fisher Price?).

I do not believe it is a coincidence that Obama is seen as the first Gen X president (although he is officially a boomer). I cannot help seeing him as Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties or Saffron from Absolutely Fabulous - Gen X kids trying to teach responsibility to their Boomer parents.

Too late now. Gen X is a small cohort and is now left holding the bag until the Millenials arrive. One study I read recently shows that people growing up in recessionary times tend to be more frugal in their later years. Very interesting to see how the values of this Millenial generation will evolve.