Providing Innovative, Results Driven Marketing Solutions

Match Marketing Group

Ask any consumer what shopper marketing is, and you’ll probably generate a blank stare, unless that consumer is a marketing guru. It is in fact, however, that same consumer who is the focal point of the shopper marketing objective…

A revolutionary trend in marketing today, shopper marketing is considered a relatively new science with a focus on understanding how consumers behave in different channels and retail formats and using that knowledge to create better and more effective shopping experiences for all parties involved.

This science of marketing seeks to understand the shopper, why they purchase a particular brand as opposed to other brands. A relatively new field, shopper marketing is designed to position a shopper by determining their purchasing behaviour and consequently enabling increased sales for retailers and manufacturers.

The field can be viewed as a strategic evolution in shopper analytics. It’s a concept that may have started in the 70s in the form of ‘brand promotions’, morphing in the 80s to ‘trade promotions’ and ultimately to ‘consumer marketing’ in the 90s, the forerunner of shopper marketing today.

“I’m not sure you can pick a definite time that shopper marketing emerged as a defined category,” says Brett Farren, President and CEO of Match Marketing Group. “It is safe to say that it has gotten far more sophisticated in grocery and mass merchandise stores in the past decade… The widespread adoption of smart phones by consumers means companies can reach (and track) shoppers like never before. That has really pushed things forward.”

Shopper marketing is also where the growth is. While overall marketing budgets are growing about two percent annually, according to a recent Deloitte study, spending on shopper marketing by retailers and manufacturers is growing at more than 20 percent.

With five offices in the United States and two in Canada, Match Marketing Group is a leader in the shopper marketing solutions arena. Established in 1998 with over 7000 field representatives and more than 500 employees, the agency offers full service multi-disciplined shopper focused practices that deliver results-driven campaigns for both retailers and manufacturers. Match offers end-to end solutions (from conception to completion), integrating all phases that finalize in consumer purchase.

“We work with our partners hand in hand, whether that’s helping them actually innovate on the product and the brand’s side, or refining their existing plans right through to completion,” says Brett. “[We] execute at retail where a consumer actually transacts with a brand.”

With an impressive client roster comprised of Fortune 100 companies from major industries including Adidas, Ford and Pepsi Co., to name a few, Brett relates that the agency has helped launch numerous brands both in Canada and the U.S. For the most part, “The majority of our work is on leading global brands, ensuring that they have a leading position within the marketplace in a highly competitive environment. That is where our focus is day in and day out… helping [those brands] on the innovation side with line extensions or new product offers.” Through Match, clients can also be taken from a challenger position to one of leadership.

Customizing client challenges

As a marketing partner, Match Marketing Group likes to get personal. The agency offers customized services to those clients requiring assistance in building their brand, meeting or exceeding their growth potential and staying one step ahead of the competition. Brett acknowledges that each client has unique challenges specific to their brand and that, “We don’t have any on the shelf solutions. We’ll custom create a solution that will ensure client success. That could involve one practice or all of our practices depending on the challenges that are unique to that one brand.”

It’s crucial that a competent shopper marketing agency keeps a watchful eye on consumer trends; they’re always changing, and focusing on trends dictates the future of business operations. It’s this focus that acts as a catalyst for marketing strategies and innovation, an assimilation with trends that ultimately dictates business operatives and subsequently a competitive advantage with increased sales.

“We’re continually looking at and reporting on consumer trends both on the consumer side and on the market side,” continues Brett. “We look at trends coming out of the largest retailers, new innovative retailers and some of their purchase habits… It’s really important to keep on top of trends. That is how we can formulate our strategies for our clients to win.”

Attracting and keeping clients

Brett shares that Match Marketing Group maintains long term relationships with clients by ensuring regular meetings and conducting honest, open dialogue. Such methodologies provide the validation required in comprehending their agency’s performance and that the right mix of services are being utilized for client success.

“We wake up every day loving our clients and loving the challenge that their business provides to us,” he says. “We continue to think about how we can add more value to their business day in and day out. That’s how you establish relationships and that’s how you maintain them long term.”

The precept of doing business through shopper marketing rests on the ideal of placing less emphasis on traditional above the line media and, rather, “looking at ways to affect retail sales directly,” explains Brett. The investment of business dollars needs to affect and impact consumer behaviour and consequent purchase decisions. “That ultimately is at retail, where we’re focused,” he says. “There’s lots of competition because marketers continue to shift more and more traditional dollars into the [shopper marketing] field. Many above the line agencies have evolved their businesses to serve this growing area as well.”

Growth through acquisitions

With several substantial acquisitions in the past several years, Match Marketing Group strives for continued success in order to round out its services across North America. With a focus on growing its shopper marketing portfolio through acquisitions, including recent ones in the U.S. and Canada such as Convergence Marketing, OSL Marketing Group, Action Marketing and Circle One Marketing, Brett notes that, “We’re interested in having great clients to work with… we always look for the leadership to be retained within the business, that they are aligned to the vision of what we see the market evolving to. Without that alignment there is no partnership.”

With three measures for successful acquisitions outlined for Match Marketing Group, the agency strives to work with clients with vision, courage and a desire to be leaders in their category. “We want to make sure that the clients that we are going to be working with are complementary and provide exposure to new categories or new industries… that they’re not in conflict with our existing clients that we have long term relationships with.”

Brett continues to explain that Match Marketing Group has gained both knowledge and insight from other businesses that have grown through both acquisitions and organic growth and that acquisitions and growth over the years have made Match North America’s leading shopper marketing agency in terms of experience, capability and reach.

And, like shopper marketing, Match Marketing Group will continue to evolve, offering seamless client-focused strategies from conception to completion in today’s ever changing marketplace. Speaking to Match Marketing Group’s future, Brett relates that it all comes down to the most fundamental strategy – “Listening to our clients. Clients are core architects on what our state will be.”

November 18, 2017, 10:40 AM EST