Chapter XV – What Are The Most Effective Shopper Marketing Vehicles?

What are the most effective shopper marketing vehicles and which ones probably only waste your company’s money?

In this article shoppernewsblog summarizes insights from various studies to help our readers prioritize spending of their marketing budget in order to achieve the maximum impact along the entire path to purchase.


What Are The Most Effective Shopper Marketing Vehicles?

To answer the question we raised in the introduction, we first have to understand what marketing vehicles actually exist and how to best categorize them.

Shopper Marketing 4.0 – Building Scalable Playbooks That Drive Results (GMA and Booz&Company)

The study published in 2010 analyzes 49 single vehicles which can be classified into 7 different platforms. For the study, 2,706 shoppers, 34 manufacturers, and 28 shopper marketing experts were interviewed to determine the effectiveness of each marketing vehicle. To the right you can find a first classification according to brand objective and the stage of the path to purchase.

In exhibit 2, you find the level of adoption of different materials along various platforms. Note that mobile marketing and social media was little adopted when the study was conducted. Yet, it is likely that adoption rates have changed in the last two years.

In a final step, the study categorizes vehicles according to their brand objectives and along various platforms to provide marketers with a guideline for prioritizing investment in different marketing vehicles. In exhibit 3 you can see recommendations for Awareness and Consideration” while exhibit 4 and 5 are dedicated to  “Trial and Purchase” and “Loyalty and Advocacy“, respectively.

The advantage of the study is that it offers a clear structure and a simple classification scheme. Nevertheless, the insights were obtained from averaging results from different product categories and hence marketers still have to conduct their very own studies to determine which vehicle works best for their product. Moreover, as the study was conducted in 2010, some insights might already be outdated (i.e. effectiveness of mobile marketing).

Still, the report might offer the most exhaustive comparison of different shopper marketing vehicles along the path to purchase currently available.

For a pdf version of the study, please click here.


How To Measure The Effectiveness Of Marketing Vehicles

Digital Shopper Marketing Vehicles

Measuring the effectiveness of digital shopper marketing vehicles is often easier and straightforward. For example, a company can calculate the exact ratio of cashed-in coupons to coupons handed out at the cashier and thus, efficiently evaluate the effectiveness of that vehicle. Thus, we will not further elaborate on this here.

For more information on how to measure Digital Shopper Marketing, please visit our introductory chapter.


Traditional Shopper Marketing Vehicles

Measuring the effectiveness of traditional shopper marketing vehicles is often a more expensive and laborious process. Thus, the two remaining articles presented here will be dedicated to introducing different approaches for measuring the effectiveness of traditional marketing vehicles.

2012 Shopper Engagement Study – Media Topline Report (POPAI)

POPAI draws both attention and criticism for its famous “76% of purchase decisions are made at the point of sale“² statement. Thus, it might be best to take a look at the raw data and draw one’s own conclusion.

The study was conducted between 2011 and 2012 and is based on interviews with 2,400 shoppers and 210 shoppers using EEG/ eye-tracking devices.

According to its topline report, endcaps and free-standing displays are the most frequently recalled vehicles. Moreover, in-store displays attracted 13% of all eye-fixations and thus might positively affect sales (see Exhibit 6). Accordingly, “(m)ore than 1 in 6 purchases are made when a display with that brand is present in store“². As a consequence, marketers increasingly look for additional locations for displays and thus the number placed in secondary locations (away from actual aisle) has constantly grown from 47% in 1995 to 60% in 2012.

The full study is only available if your company is registered with POPAI. To access the topline report, please click here.

Inside The Mind Of The Shopper – The Science Of Retailing (Herb Sorensen)

Herb Sorensen presents in his book “inside the mind of the shopper” results from a case study during which his team analyzed shoppers’ exposure to different in-store visual media (see Exhibit 7).

Although the insights can not be generalized without further analysis, the sample case study also points to end-aisle displays and free- standing product display racks as to be the most efficient shopper marketing vehicle at the point of sale while interactive displays score rather poorly.



The studies presented in this article should not be considered the ultimate guide to shopper marketing vehicles for various reasons:

  • First, the above-mentioned studies were conducted in the US and thus might be applicable to other countries only on a limited basis.
  • Second, especially information on fast evolving media and technology (i.e. social media or mobile marketing) already might be outdated the day it is published.
  • Third, the effectiveness of marketing vehicles presented in the studies above is based on averages across product categories. Hence, we can not conclude with certainty which materials work best for a specific category as for example pet food.

In consequence, retailers, brand managers, and marketers will still need to conduct their very own analysis to arrive at the ideal spending mix of their marketing budget. Nevertheless, this article is intended to provide our readers with an (almost) exhaustive list of marketing vehicles available and to provide a general guide on how to best categorize and analyze them to ultimately arrive at a more successful execution at the point of sale.

Nevertheless, chances are high that you are better off opting for the old-fashioned endcap when promoting a new dog food brand instead of spending your entire marketing budget on a fancy interactive kiosk. But maybe you can prove us all wrong.


Find below our form for defining and measuring the effectiveness of marketing vehicles which will allow you to keep track of the results of each single vehicle and hence, help you to optimize the spending of your marketing budget.


Click here for the complete table of content.


Did you find this chapter helpful? Please share your opinion with us by commenting on this post below.





³ Sorensen, H. (2011). Inside the mind of the shopper – The science of retailing, Eighth Edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

This entry was posted in Essentials and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Chapter XV – What Are The Most Effective Shopper Marketing Vehicles?

  1. Mike Anthony says:

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for this – I love the way you pull together lots of different sources and thoughts into one piece – lots of food for thought here.
    I guess the big question is what do we mean by effective; and that is all about setting (and then measuring against) meaningful objectives.
    Unfortunately there are too many marketers who do not even set the most basic fundamental objectives (e.g. sales uplift) let alone measure them – until this happens most will still end up doing either what they did last year, or what the retailer tells them to do.
    Thanks for a thought provoking post!


    • Dear Mike,

      Thank you for your comment and I certainly agree with you on how critical measurement is. As you mentioned, many marketers just keep on doing the same year after year but actually don’t have any idea of how effective the actual materials are.

      I recently read your post Shopper Insight – The balance between retail and research data, and what your instinct tells you ( in which you argue for a wise approach to retrieving and interpreting data. And as you argue in your post, marketers have more access than ever to data but also seem overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available.

      Maybe that’s why we still see shopper marketing vehicles which wouldn’t pass any rigorous testing at the POS.

      Thank you for commenting and keep up the good work @!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s