5 Marketing Blunders to Avoid in Your Next Social Shopper Marketing Campaign

Over the past few years, shopper marketing has emerged as a key component of an integrated brand marketing strategy. In the last two years alone, the average shopper marketing budget has increased dramatically -- from 10 percent of a total marketing budget in 2012 to 15 percent in 2014. So what makes for a successful shopper marketing campaign? There are multiple factors that contribute to successful campaigns, from product type to timing. In order to ensure you keep your social shopper marketing campaigns on-track, avoid these five all-too-often mistakes:

1. Don't just keep social separate - drive other marketing initiatives.
When it comes to successful shopper marketing, a 360 degree plan is critical for success. Online and offline marketing should complement each other, not compete for attention. Social media has gone from being an afterthought to a requirement, and is now a very important part of the media mix. Tyson Foods does a great job integrating social media into its 360 degree plan, using it to amplify in-store tactics like demos, for example. While social media is necessary to reach your shopper, it shouldn't be the only strategy you implement either. Use social media as the glue to tie all shopper marketing tactics together while maximizing your existing spends.

2. Don't focus solely on impressions - think engagement.
For decades, marketers have focused on buying signals at the top of the purchase funnel, but social metrics have evolved to help us better understand purchase intent. Legacy metrics such as impressions will never help measure true shopper marketing objectives like moving product off the shelf. Shifting the focus to actual content engagement helps us move further down the purchase funnel. A share, comment or like, for example, are all indicative of actual views and shows hand-raising action versus passive listening.

3. Don't create content through a marketing lens - tell a story.
Simply creating social content is not making a significant impact anymore - the space has become too noisy. With 84 percent of people trusting recommendations from people they know, it's important to show humanity behind your content. Tell a story, use emotional appeal and help your shoppers relate to your product. Think about the #LikeAGirl campaign by Always or the #BestBuds campaign by Budweiser. Both pulled at the heartstrings and formed a true connection with consumers. No one wants to read content that feels like a long, overdrawn advertisement. Many brands also use influencers to help tell their story. Influencer marketing is exploding and for good reason - we trust people like us. Consider using influencers to help tell your story in a more relatable way, while also reaching a new audience.

4. Don't "spray and pray" - target your content to the right audience.
It's very easy to "spray and pray" social media content, but all that does is create a lot of waste. Just like traditional shopper marketing involves strategy based on shopper behavior, social shopper marketing should do the same. Take time to understand and learn how your shopper behaves on social media. What type of content do they engage with, when and on which channels? Once you understand how a given customer interacts online, you can create shareable content that is more targeted, more relevant and more engaging. Kraft calls this Agile Marketing - the use of data to reach the right consumer with the right message at the right time.

5. Don't assume shoppers know what to do with content - make it shareable.
It isn't enough to just put your hashtag on other marketing materials and assume that shoppers will know what to do with it. You must give them an action to take, especially a sharing action encouraging them to share their own experience with the brand or with friends and family. Coca-Cola did both in its Share a Coke campaign, which encouraged Millennials to purchase a Coke for a friend or family member and share their story on social media. The message was loud and clear everywhere you looked. Create shareable content like Coca-Cola's to achieve those engagement metrics we discussed earlier.

Within the next five years, social media spending is projected to represent 21 percent of the overall marketing budget. But don't just check the social media box - spend time to really understand your shopper's new path to purchase. You might be surprised and learn the audience you intended to target is totally different than the one you should target online. Once you have determined how your audience behaves online, seamlessly integrate targeted, relatable and engaging content into your overall shopper marketing campaign to see the highest return.