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  • Writer's pictureLobster

Looking outside ‘the toolkit’

Looking across the grocery landscape, each of the major grocers owns a portfolio of media channels and showcases them within a toolkit, typically managed and commercialised by an aligned agency. These channels represent a large proportion of the total FMCG shopper media landscape and can provide great opportunities to engage and convert shoppers across their path to purchase. Perhaps just as importantly, investing in these channels is also a good opportunity to build retailer relations, aligning to corporate initiatives and messaging. However, it is important to note that there are a huge number of alternative channels available which can be used to drive incremental purchasing behaviour in-store and online. Despite what you’ve heard, these can often count towards your JBP agreements if you engage your trading team. These channels are often innovative in nature and can be implemented across the grocery landscape, although, each has its own distinct capability. Below are just a few examples of where it might be a benefit to look outside the toolkit.

1. Share your own message, in your own tone of voice

It’s no secret that the grocers prefer clear and consistent messaging across their estate. On average, retailers apply strict restrictions to over 30% of media channels which appear within their portfolio. This can make it difficult to communicate a branded message, with branded toolkit options typically booking out well in advance of implementation lead times. Conversely, 100% of channels which sit outside of retailer toolkits are branded in nature. An interesting question therefore is, ‘Is it important to implement a branded message in or around store?’ Having completed a thorough investigation around the effectiveness of various creative routes, we know that it is critical for NPDs in particular to have a branded message to shoppers, which isn’t surprising given the strong barriers to trial which exist for new products. PlanVault data correct as of 23rd August 2018, 753 studies

2. Maximise your budget efficiency

Shopper media channels which lie outside of retailer toolkits are often tradeable in nature allowing for financial efficiencies to be unlocked in line with the level of investment. Implementing such opportunities (e.g. OOH media, mobile applications, mobile advertising) across the grocery landscape means the total marketing spend can be leveraged to lower the cost per store. This lower campaign cost is a key contributing factor for positively affecting shopper ROI over time.

3. Test the unknown

Brands are now in the fortunate position that a methodology exists in shopper to truly understand what works and when in this space. We can use this method (control versus exposed store testing) to understand the performance of new and innovative opportunities in market. In recent years, many traditional ATL channels including programmatic have shifted their proposition to be more shopper centric, incorporating new targeting approaches such as linking to customer loyalty data or geo-targeting activity to stores. With an evolving landscape there is a need to also evolve campaign plans, testing at all times to understand the optimum campaign make-up against a set objective.


The shopper media landscape is only going to continue to expand so don’t feel pigeon-holed into activating retailer owned channels, particularly if these have delivered a disappointing impact on sales for your brand historically. Looking ahead, be open to learning more around new opportunities in shopper, and test and learn to optimise your campaign plan.

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