Free Subscription

  • Access daily briefings and unlimited news articles


Try one month for $34.95
  • Quarterly magazine and digital
  • Indepth executive interviews
  • Unlimited news and insights
  • Expert opinion and analysis

Location, location, location

dreamstime_xs_38756280In this new age of austerity, I’m increasingly asked by marketing directors and managers how they can “do more sales but with less budget” to show a return on their marketing investment.

After analysing these businesses, I’m finding a worrying trend of brands unknowingly failing in the key ‘moment of truth’ when their shopper chooses one product over another, therefore wasting their valuable investments.

When it comes to marketing spend, many FMCG and retail brands appear to put the bulk of effort and spend into above the line marketing; but once instore, these same brands can be scattergun, or at worst, silent in the very moment their shopper makes a final purchase selection.

This might be fine for some categories, but in an environment where brands are placed alongside multiple competitors, and shoppers are open to switching; making an impact at the final hurdle is not a ‘nice to have’, but rather crucial to final product selection and sales.

We’re all familiar with large spend multi-media campaigns including any number of TV, radio, press messaging, catalogue, and online messages. These may or may not be further supported by a raft of instore posters, wobblers, display stands instore, claims on product packaging, and yet more messages.

Each of these cost important dollars to create and implement, but the relative impact of each can be unclear. Which of these marketing dollars have actually been noticed and are impactful in the specific moment the shopper makes their decision?

I’ve lost count of the number of high expectation product launches or seemingly ‘loved’ brands that are falling short when they don’t influence shoppers in the right location on their journey.

Let’s take an example of a category close to this writer’s heart: wine.

I recently found myself walking into a Dan Murphy’s wanting a bottle of red wine for dinner, only to be confronted at shelf with a wall of alternative brands of Pinot Noir.

After avidly exploring the shelves and options, I ended up choosing a bottle of Giesen ‘The Brothers’ that I hadn’t even known before walking into the store. How many of us have done exactly the same thing? In this instance, would it have been better to spend money communicating to a shopper while they were still at home? Arguably, but much of that money is evidently wasted in the moment of purchase.

That’s not to say that one answer fits all, even within the same macro category. Let’s take champagne, in contrast; and imagine we’re buying for an important anniversary.

This time, how many of us would be acutely conscious of exactly what brand we wanted to select based on its inherent suitability to the occasion? We may find ourselves with a pre-meditated intent to look for our favourite Veuve Clicquot or Moet and alternatives just won’t do.

Instore, we might be relatively immune to other offers. It’s arguable here that spending an inordinate amount on impulse stands and prime visibility in store wouldn’t change the sales result too much.

The key point here is this: marketers need to understand the very location and the very moment that their shoppers make their category and brand selection. We know there are broadly six possible locations or zones of influence: at home, on the way to store, at store entrance, out of aisle, in-aisle before shelf, or at shelf.

Where the category and brand decision is made, so (some of, nay lots of) marketing spend should be allocated. And everywhere else on the path to purchase, well there are some savings to be had in those locations too!

Before embarking on your next campaign, ask yourself three questions:

  1. Do I know where the shopper decides to buy my category and brand?
  2. Do I know specifically which influence will most grab his/her attention?
  3. Am I more visible and more interesting than my competitors in this moment of truth?

If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these, you may be on the way to wasting some more of those previous dollars.

Mike Cassidy is co-founder of shopper insights agency, koji. He can be contacted at

You have 3 free articles.