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About two years ago, I proposed that the ARF start a Shopper Insights council.  While some were asking what the ARF was doing with shopper stuff, I felt that path to purchase could be the new way of determining media strategy that would make more sense for advertisers.

We started the council and saw great attendance so it felt like perhaps we were onto something.  Despite this, skeptics still existed, wondering if brands could really be built at retail.  Then Procter started talking about “store back” and how if it doesn’t work at retail, it’s a miss.

However, today (Thursday), the skeptics are scratching their heads as shopper marketing took center stage.  Today, Procter announced that their whole North American advertising budget (billions of dollars) is being placed in the hands of their head of shopper marketing.  Here is the link to the Ad Age article:

And the lead-in text:

BATAVIA, Ohio ( — Procter & Gamble Co. is shaking up its media ranks as longtime North American media chief Greg Ross moves to a new global role, to be replaced by Julie Eddleman, a marketing director who has focused on shopper marketing for the past six years. Effective Nov. 1, Ms. Eddleman becomes director-North American media and marketing and shopper marketing, overseeing the largest media budget in the U.S. at $2.7 billion last year, according to Kantar Media, plus billions more in shopper marketing and other communications outlays in the U.S. and Canada.

The article continues…The move for Ms. Eddleman, 40, appears to further elevate the role of shopper marketing in P&G’s communications mix. Under Global Brand-Building Officer Mark Pritchard’s “store back” philosophy, all marketing ideas are expected to work at store level and be planned “back” through other channels.

This is store back for real.

Now, my consulting business, Rubinson Partners, Inc., finds that two of its biggest engagements are squarely centered on redefining shopper insights.

In addition, the ARF has been all over this and particularly the concept of path to purchase which extends beyond the idea of store back.  We define path to purchase as a comprehensive understanding of the main points where a purchase decision can be influenced. It includes understanding why any decisions along the path are made, how the shopper arrives at the point of purchase and the drivers and influencers along the way.

At the ARF, Industry leaders from Campbell, J&J, Pepsi, Target, Unilever, research organizations like Bovitz, GfK, Innerscope, and Smart Revenue, and shopper marketing agencies like IPG Shopper Sciences are all working together, driving towards a common goal to define path to purchase, why understanding this leads to growth, and the appropriate research protocols.

The next step in the journey will occur on October 26th at the ARF when the Shopper Insights Council will convene and we will unveil the latest thinking for your input.

Please attend this very important council meeting by clicking here.

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