There’s been considerable conversation in the imaging community about whether print is dead, Spieckerman says. But when the entirety of content marketing is considered, it’s obvious that instead of any one element dying off, there are shifts taking place across that broad content marketing spectrum.
The key for imaging companies is to track the shift, and be able to articulate how its solutions address those shifts, “rather than getting into a lot of hand wringing about what’s becoming obsolete,” Spieckerman says.
“They also must customize their positioning, the ways they position their offerings, to retail and brand prospects and customers, based on those unique content marketing strategies, because no two are the same.”
For instance, she says, one retailer may be very involved in print, while another may be entirely phasing out print. Others may be involved in a mix.
For visionary companies among print service providers, there may be an opportunity to play a coordinating role. This is where it becomes vitally important to understand the other media and the total content platform, Spieckerman says.
“Once you do that, you have the chance to coordinate other players, and really transcend what you do and play a more consultative role,” she reports. “That’s where the expertise really comes in. Retailers are no longer challenging themselves to learn everything, they’re embracing outside expertise.”
POPAI, the global association for marketing at retail, comes at the issue from a different point of view. Understanding the shopper’s decision process, the complex interplay of factors that determine how, where and when shoppers make their decisions, is emerging as a priority for product manufacturers, retailers and brand marketers, asserts POPAI president Richard Winter.
POPAI’s series of shopper behavior research, dating back nearly 50 years, has helped educate marketing and retail professionals about where the ultimate purchase decision lies. That locale is at the point of purchase.
While it’s true that shoppers’ decisions are no longer limited to in-store, POPAI’s 2012 Shopper Engagement Study found that now more than ever, shoppers are making an overwhelming number of purchasing decisions in store.
In fact, the in-store decision rate has climbed from 70 percent in 1995 to 76 percent in 2012. With today’s shopper increasingly mobile, social and in control, what’s changed to push that in-store decision rate to all-time highs?
Todays’ shopper’s behavior is very different from that of shoppers years ago. The advent of smart phones, shopping applications, mobile coupons and other developments has made it very different, Winters asserts.
“Yet, when we look at the data from POPAI’s series of long-running shopper research projects aimed at providing new information on how shoppers behave when they are in different types of stores deciding which categories and brands to buy, we see that it all comes down to one thing—in-store marketing.”
Three key components comprise the in-store decision rate measuring the true number of decisions made at the shelf, an indicator POPAI has long measured. Those three are generally planned purchases, brand substitution and unplanned purchases. The data show an important part of the marketing mix is the use of materials and devices that stimulate sales “where the action is,” at the point of purchase. Often, the decision-making process of shoppers does not take place until a product is actually seen on the shelf, Winters says.
“Therefore, the ways a product is displayed in a store, and is supported by in-store marketing materials can often be instrumental in leveraging sales,” he says. “The 2012 Shopper Engagement Study provides compelling evidence about the importance of having, in addition to a strong and integrated pre-store advertising campaign, a robust in-store marketing plan in place to support the ongoing dynamic sales cycle feeding back into the shopper’s discovery journey.“
While fewer shoppers than in 1995 are reporting visiting stores without a list of some sort, more than half of shoppers operate without a physical list, making them more susceptible to the temptation of impulse buying.