Energising business – Shopper marketing goes strategic

The relationship between attracting consumers and winning shopper decisions in-store has always been one fraught with uncertainty. Marketers constantly wrestle with unfulfilled expectations, despite believing that all elements of the marketing mix have been executed to near perfection by a group of several competent practitioners. With the ever increasing fragmentation of communications
into specialist silos, the ability to harness a communications plan into a cohesive and holistic whole remains problematic.

The purchase of Energi by the industry-experienced duo of Louise Henderson and Lew Bentley in July 2016 may just be the answer to companies struggling with the concept of Shopper Marketing.

“Our job is to build Shopper Marketing programmes that maximise demand with shoppers,” Lew says. “Our objective is to determine the relationship between attracting consumers and winning shopper decisions in-store. It is the difference between supply chain push and demand chain pull.”

When Lew and Lou conducted due diligence on the Energi agency they were purchasing they realised they had the right ingredients to grow in the Shopping Marketing sector.

Firstly the agency DNA had roots in Marlborough House, a decades’ old leader in trade marketing and in-store execution. The agency also had a significantly impressive client base and long-term staff familiar with their needs.

Secondly, through his strategic planning and research business, Headlight, Lew had just developed Demandscope, a proprietary tool that Energi could now use for Energi clients, which would transform the agency offering from one with brilliant tactical executions to one with exceptional strategic underpinnings.

Lou and Lew signed the sale and purchase agreement, buying the assets and the employment contracts to kick the revitalised agency off with a staff of eight.

“What is done above the line can often be murdered below the line,” says Lou. “And in a millennial world, clients need the kind of experience that we can bring to bear.” 

Louise Henderson and Lew Bentley

A wealth of experience

The experience of the new owners is substantial. Lou Henderson’s advertising roots grew deep with agencies such as Darcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Mojo, FCB, and client-side with TV3 and ACP.

Lew Bentley’s CV reads like a strategic planner’s dream, from CM Research, Campaign Place and Mandala, to M&C Saatchi and Clemenger.

In his consultancy, Headlight, Lew has focused on strategic planning, business development, communications and research. This work bore the fruit of the Demandscope proprietary tool, which is now being used by Energi.

Demandscope evaluates the current situation and draws together all the driving forces to create an integrated view of the demand chain. It is a way of creating new programmes of activity. It looks at internal assumptions, capabilities and the drivers of decision-making.

The demand chain

“The demand chain is the pathway to purchase,” says Lew. “Each market is different, but all have some relationship between the consumer and the shopper. Sometimes it is the same person, sometimes it’s not. Looking at the pathway to purchase means determining what drives satisfaction and repeat purchase, and discovering the behavioural steps along the way.”

Using Demandscope, Energi looks at the behavioural economics i.e. what are the assumptions and biases that drive people through the path to purchase and what barriers are there that may cause a drop-off.

From a comprehensive analysis Energi is able to devise programmes to drive shoppers, through influencing their purchase behaviour and motivating repeat purchase, keeping people in a habitual cycle of purchase and satisfaction.

Solving problems

Strategic problem solving is at the heart of what Energi has to offer, with a focus on Shopper Marketing. The key to that is determining the relationship between attracting consumers and then winning the shopper decision in-store.

Already the revitalised agency has undertaken several significant projects to develop Shopper Marketing programmes and more specific campaigns; as well as projects designed to diagnose and solve demand-based problems.

One Shopper Marketing Manager at major multinational was reported as saying, “That was the best presentation I’ve had from any agency, ever!” And another client at a local manufacturer said, “You’ve taken the guesswork out of it. I now know exactly what to do.” 

The reaction to their work has been encouraging for Lou and Lew: “We are building best practice and a robust offering for clients, which is sorely needed, particularly in the area of Shopper Marketing. It’s not about any one tool; it is about working out a holistic solution.”

While the client work is confidential, Energi has just completed a Christmas Shopper Marketing Study, which it is making available to clients and anyone else interested in the subject. With a Christmas Shopper behavioural analysis and segmentation, the report will interest marketers in a range of diverse market sectors.

As the couple say, “We aim to Energise business.”

Contact: Louise Henderson, [email protected] 

  • This story is part of a content partnership with Energi.

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