SM2 Commission Releases Industry Playbook

The Commission to Standardize the Measurement of Shopper Marketing (SM2) has launched an Industry Playbook, which was unveiled on Sept. 14 during the Shopper Insights & Measurement Forum.

The playbook gives brands and retailers the tools they need to better plan and evaluate shopper marketing investments as part of the overall media mix. Designed to illustrate the impact shopper marketing can have beyond incremental sales lift, the Industry Playbook established the vital role that shopper marketing plays in overall consumer engagement, said Laura Nicklin, vice president of research, insights and innovation at the Path to Purchase Institute.

Additionally, three modeling pilots (still in progress) will provide the industry with further guidance around measuring effectiveness, including standards, benchmarks and best practices. Findings from those pilots will be unveiled in 2022.

Steve Tobias, an executive in the media COE practice at IRI, was a co-presenter during the session at the forum, where he shared his thoughts on the challenges both marketers and measurement providers face when trying to accurately measure shopper marketing ROI. The measurement community is working to create a more holistic, unified measurement platform, he noted. “Looking at the complete path, we want to understand how the various points combine to drive conversion or awareness,” he said. “We’re bringing those platforms together in a more complete and integrated way and coming up with one source of truth.”

Tobias went on to outline the specific considerations for effective shopper marketing measurement. First, itemize and articulate brand objectives, how they align with the shopper marketing activities and objectives, and then inventory and understand the data sets available.

“Effective measurement always starts with both accurate and the most descriptive and granular data sets,” he said. “The most important thing you can do is be transparent and make sure that the data sets you have available are consistent with the way you’ll be able to quantify those various shopper marketing effects.”

Selecting the right KPIs — and making sure to not burden your business or brand with costs that don’t necessarily align with a brand’s specific questions — is also critical. “There are a multitude of brand measurement techniques that can be more nimble and cost-effective to make sure that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach,” Tobias said. “We’re matching and aligning those measurement approaches with the objectives as well as the budget available to make that happen.” 

SM2 determined six key steps that are crucial to building a solid measurement plan, added co-presenter Bill Haveron, group director of shopper marketing at Mosaic, who helped develop the playbook. Those steps include:

1. Develop a program and evaluation process. “Regardless of how your organization defines success, it’s important that all key stakeholders are aligned in terms of the process from the start,” Haveron said.

2. Define program objectives. “Start with an objective and ensure your measurement plan is focused on determining whether you achieve your objective or not,” he said. “But don’t feel like you have to measure everything; by nature we want to have that data to make those better decisions, but it also adds complexity.”

3. Identify KPIs. “There’s a lot of data out there now and it’s very granular, so it’s important to make sure we’re looking at the most important KPIs to determine success,” Haveron said.

4. Measure long-term impact wherever possible. “Measuring only the sales of the initial intro period doesn’t factor in subsequent sales that should be attributed to your program, ultimately short-changing the impact of your shopper activity in the market,” he noted.

5. Be as granular as possible.” If you’re able to measure at the tactical and retail level as often as possible, it will give you the ability to dissect what’s working and what’s not while also looking at the overall impact of these activities on total volume,” Haveron said.

6. Identify reliable partners and data sources to feed into your measurement plans. “Make sure the data you have accessible to determine if there was success or failure is the right data that you need,” he added.

The SM2 Industry Playbook is available for download now by clicking here.