... digital channels and gadgets are making consumers more streetwise about where, when and why to purchase goods and services.
Moreover the growing profusion of media channels is making it ever harder for manufacturers and retailers to accurately direct sales pitches to their target audiences.
In June, GFKi surveyed 300 marketing executives across various retail and manufacturing sectors. Seventy-six percent indicated that their companies are now devoting 5% or more of their total marketing budgets to shopper marketing initiatives.
"It's a remarkable shift," according to GFK Interscope evp Alison Chaltas, who points out that the data implies a radical transformation over the past five years when - with a few exceptions among the fmcg giants - there were no such POP budgets.
As a result of the current trend, manufacturers and retailers are accelerating their efforts in the shopper marketing space, with almost half (47%) of the interview sample indicating their companies will be significantly upping shopper-marketing budgets over the next two years.
According to Chaltas, most of the money now earmarked for shopper-marketing programs is cannibalized from traditional media budgets, such as TV and print. It will flow to various arenas, including research, instore channels, email marketing and mobile.
The study doesn't cite specific amounts for specific channels; each retailer exercises individual choice.
The primary driver of the upsurge, said Chaltas, is digital technology, which is making shoppers more discerning and "harder to communicate with because there are so many more touchpoints and so much clutter."
Those touchpoints include dozens of online, mobile, in-store, word-of-mouth and direct mail channels. That makes purchasing-decision behavior more challenging to understand, she added.
"Everyone is still learning about the decision-making process," she said - especially how and why shoppers form relationships with particular stores and brands.
But Chaltas hits the nail squarely on the head, noting that while the media landscape is always changing "the one constant is point of purchase."