The path-through-purchase and social

Leo Burnett is pioneering a new approach to shopper marketing that pays attention to extending the shopper journey both pre- and post-purchase. This idea has been doing the rounds at large multinational corporations as they look for better ways to find new audiences beyond 'interruption' marketing; Leo Burnett and Arc Worldwide are starting to systematically and rigorously map out consumers in a social shopping space. This article is a quick summary of some of the innovative thinking coming from the Leo Burnett strategic function.

Platform scramble

In 2011 marketers spent US$2.4 billion on social media; this figure is going to triple by 2014 according to Zenith Optimedia. This proliferation of new marketing techniques and channels has all but overwhelmed many brand managers, as they scramble to stay up-to-the-minute with the newest social networking start-up. Pinterest has been a major success as a social start-up, but that doesn't mean I'm going to start recommending all my brands jump on the bandwagon, so to speak.

Social media brand planning has become reactive and not premeditated. What the industry needs is a system to determine what exactly the brand is looking to achieve with its online social brand.

"Look what you are trying to do and look which platform does it best. Don't just stamp Facebook / Twitter everywhere." - Masha Sajdeh

The shopper/social journey

Some key questions:

  1. What are some of the reasons shopping socially is becoming the norm?
  2. What are the variations in online social shopping behaviour across different product categories?


Retail marketing strategy has become so efficient that, as consumers, we generally embrace the convenience that comes with high-level marketing plans e.g. Impulse purchases are laid out by the checkout lines to entice shoppers to indulge. (Cadbury Bubbly anyone..?) The same sense of planning and thought needs to be laid out by social retail marketers too.

Consumers rely on past experiences, reviews and advice of others; brands have not fully realised and developed this fundamental facet of the consumer mindset. This is especially important on this topic of social shopping.

"Turning shoppers into buyers and then turning those buyers into advocates who refer the brand to others." - Masha Sajdeh

Finding and nurturing relationships

Internationally, we can see great examples of this kind of mentality in e-commerce sites like eBay where merchants are evaluated via a user-generated rating system. Locally, brands like Samsung are leading the charge in finding and nurturing relationships with existing brand champions within the social media space. The next step is to start systematically building architecture to allow more consumers to navigate and find what is relevant to them.

The third moment of truth: do people decide to share socially after they have bought into and experienced your brand? This is the new way brand managers need to start approaching their digital involvement socially and in the retail space - paying attention to the path-through-purchase not just path-to-purchase.

Consumers now use combination approaches of search, social media and location-based services. What excites me is brands that have started archiving and aggregating brand reviews; keeping things current and relevant is the honest kind of brand communication that consumers can really trust.

About Matt Rose

Matt Rose, avid trend watcher passionate about SA's people, is a senior strategic planner with Promise Brand Specialists (JHB) , specializing in market research, shopper marketing, behavioral psychology. He brings a grounded, often controversial approach to uncovering consumer insights. Honours include 2010 Loeries finalist (Digital) and 2011 Cannes Lions shortlisting (Digital). Email, follow him on @mlwrose Twitter, connect LinkedIn.
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