AMELIA ISLAND, FL: Digital and mobile is transforming shopper marketing to the extent that shopper marketers are struggling to reach consumers across the right touchpoints at the right time, a new report has found.

It means that shopper marketing can no longer limit itself to end-of-aisle promotions or other in-store activities and instead must continue to develop an omnichannel approach.

These are among some key findings from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), which conducted a survey of 185 marketers in partnership with Gfk, the research firm.

The findings were presented at the 2016 ANA/BAA Shopper Marketing Conference in Florida, leading Bob Liodice, ANA President and CEO, to note that there has been little consistency about how shopper marketing is defined or what its best practices should be.

"Our research shows that the new goal of shopper marketing campaigns is to make brick-and-mortar visits mirror the effectiveness of the online environment while delivering a seamless shopper experience," he said.

Underlining the importance of realigning marketing practices to the digital revolution taking place in retail, an accompanying piece of research from the ANA predicted that investment in shopper marketing is likely to increase 5.8% to $18.6bn by 2020.

The ANA stated that shopper marketing has now progressed from simply driving short-term sales into motivating shoppers' behaviour.

In other words, it must now deliver a combination of short- and long-term benefits, including driving conversions and motivating behaviour through levers other than price.

And based on feedback from its survey respondents, the ANA also advised that a dedicated shopper marketing team is more likely to be seen as a competitive advantage nowadays than in the past.

Yet only 40% of respondents reported that they thought their organisations were investing adequately into shopper insights.

A final recommendation is that retailers should re-organise themselves so that shopper marketing reports directly to marketing, rather than to sales or other departments, owing to the increased need to become more strategic as digital takes root.

Data sourced from ANA; additional content from Warc staff