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  • Writer's pictureLobster

Shopper Hacks – Timing is everything

We are increasingly seeing retailers enforce their implementation deadlines with a hard-line approach. For many shopper teams this is a huge challenge to navigate since ‘their’ booking and artwork deadlines typically fall much further out than those being managed by their colleagues in brand. What this means is that when investment choices need to be confirmed in shopper, an aligned campaign approach may not be even be agreed internally, creative assets may not be created and promotion plans may not be confirmed. These challenges will remain, so the question is how can shopper teams effectively navigate them? Below are some thoughts from the Lobster team.

#1 Be an advocate for internal collaboration

It is important for the shopper team to ensure that colleagues across the business (and particularly within brand and sales) are aware of these challenges. This awareness can help bolster support for longer planning cycles internally. Through planning further in advance, shopper teams can also ensure their marketing investment works hard for them as the ‘best’ performing touch-points or stores become booked up as the activation date approaches.

It is important for the shopper team to have a presence and voice at the start of each and every campaign planning process. It is particularly important that shopper marketers are involved in cross-agency meetings to help build awareness of the tighter lead-times required in shopper media and to ensure they are accounted for when considering the timelines for creative development.

#2 Innovate

It is true that many shopper touch-points have lengthy implementation lead times. However it is also true that the touch-points which do tend too, are managed by the retailers or their assigned media agencies. If we ‘look outside the toolkit’ there is a wealth of shopper opportunities which can be turned around in a matter of weeks or even days. Such channels include: digital 6 sheet posters, ATMs, mobile applications, geo-targeted mobile programmatic and so on. So don’t fret there will always be opportunities to represent your brand in-store at short notice. The big piece of advice hereis to ensure investment in these types of touch-points is possible. Don’t, for example, commit the totality of your shopper investment to touch-points which are ‘owned’ by the retailers themselves or negotiate with your buyer to ensure any investment which can be specifically linked to a store within their estate contributes to JBP or JMP agreements. With this approach, not only will your shopper teams have more breathing space to plan best in class activations, but your media choices will dramatically expand allowing more interesting, innovative and effective executions over-time.


In a nutshell, to ensure the broadest possible media choices within your campaign, plan as far in advance as possible with the support of your wider colleagues. However, don’t worry even if investment is confirmed a little close to the wire, there are always execution options in shopper.

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