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Being the Shopper: Understanding the Buyer's Choice

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Take a Tour Through the Mind of a Shopper

"What’s my test of a book I’ve been asked to review? Pure selfishness. How intense are the underlinings? How many quotes can I add to my presentations? How often are the things I believe ‘for sure’ effectively challenged? Phil Lempert’s Being the Shopper is off the charts on all three counts. And not-so-incidentally, though Phil is a ‘supermarket guru,’ this book will inform anyone who markets anything."
–– Tom Peters, coauthor, In ...

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Overview

Take a Tour Through the Mind of a Shopper

"What’s my test of a book I’ve been asked to review? Pure selfishness. How intense are the underlinings? How many quotes can I add to my presentations? How often are the things I believe ‘for sure’ effectively challenged? Phil Lempert’s Being the Shopper is off the charts on all three counts. And not-so-incidentally, though Phil is a ‘supermarket guru,’ this book will inform anyone who markets anything."
–– Tom Peters, coauthor, In Search of Excellence

"Being the Shopper is gourmet reading . . . a delicious and healthy resource for the smart shopper and forward-thinking marketer. Set your taste buds for Lempert’s cutting-edge insights and pragmatic advice on the one experience we all share!"
–– Chip Bell, author, Customer Love and Customers as Partners

"Phil Lempert convinces me I’m something called a consumer. It seems I’m obtuse, savvy, sensual, and picky–– and that my dynamics and demographics are constantly changing. So if you want me to buy something, you ought to try and understand me. reading Being the Shopper seems (to me) a real good place to start."
–– Barry Gibbons, former Chairman/CEO of Burger King
author and entrepreneur

"Rarely do you come across a book that’s as meaningful to students and 25-year marketers alike. Being the Shopper delivers to both audiences by enlightening the reader on how to approach critical issues if you want to succeed in today’s incredibly demanding environment. It’s easy to talk about listening to the voice of your customer, but Mr. Lempert provides a refreshing guide as to how you really can do it."
–– Brian Perkins, Worldwide Chairman, Consumer Pharmaceuticals and Nutritionals Group, Johnson & Johnson

"Is there anything more American than choice? We expect it, we demand it, we revel in it. Phil Lempert understands what your customers really want, and how you can help them find it."
–– Steve Rivkin, President, Rivkin & Associates
coauthor, IdeaWise and Differentiate or Die

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
" a fantastically interesting, insightful read from a consumer perspective-and there are valuable lessons to be learnt for any retailer " (CWB ( Childrenswear buyer), November 2002)
Booknews
Drawing on years of interviewing consumers, the food trends correspondent for the television show shares methods for companies seeking to define and meet consumer desires and truthfully market health claims. Includes a 20th-century supermarket events timeline. Some references are noted in the text. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471151357
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 245
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

PHIL LEMPERT has gained wide acclaim for his marketing savvy and broad experience in the food and marketing worlds. A distinguished speaker, he has addressed more than 600,000 people in the past decade alone. Known as the Supermarket Guru, he is widely respected for his ability to predict and analyze trends. He is the food editor and correspondent for NBC News's Today show, host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Shopping Smart," and a correspondent for BBC Radio 5 Live and Public Radio's KCRW-FM. Lempert has been a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times and is currently the editor of The Lempert Report and Supermarketguru.com, one of the leading Internet resources for food, health, and trend information.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The Consumer Today

Being the Shopper is about increasing your success in selling your products and services by better understanding the way real shoppers think and act. Yesterday's marketing rules dictated that brand plans define a single target market--for example, trying to sell a particular gourmet chocolate dessert to women 18 to 34 years old, with two children, and a household income of over $75,000. As you become increasingly familiar with your shopper, you'll rely less and less on demographic information. However, in the beginning, it's important to understand the major population trends and their implications for your brands and retail environments. Consider the chart on the next page with U.S. census information. You'll notice some fascinating fluctuations as baby boomers age. The 25-to 34-year-old category is predicted to wane considerably. In this section and in the next chapter, I explore the implications of these population trends and explain how to learn about the actual individuals within these categories.

Are You Prepared to Sell to These Shoppers?

In this section, I review some of the biggest changes over the last two decades within particular demographic groups. These trends are significant because they've created new and unique potential markets. Also, the stark contrast between today and yesterday can feed into ripe marketing opportunities. For instance, many of the women who are likely to return to work shortly after giving birth were raised with traditional stay-at-home moms. This new generation of working mothers may be receptive to brands offood that are quick to assemble, but deliver the home-cooked taste and wholesome nutrition that their mothers valued.

Knowing your shoppers' ages is one thing, but appealing to how they really feel is another thing entirely. As a marketer, you'll be far better attuned to your shoppers if you can understand the difference. I empower my audiences, at every one of my speeches, to understand that the first step in being the shopper is to not form opinions of others based on their ages. Each member of the audience is asked to turn to the person next to them and tell them how old they are. After the nervous laughter, I then ask them to turn back to the same person and tell them how old they feel. Six members of the audience (three men and three women) are asked to voluntarily to share the information with the entire group.

In the thousands of times I have presented this exercise, my volunteers have always reinforced my message by proving the difference between how old someone is and how old they feel. On average, these people feel 10 years younger than they actually are.

Appealing to emotions of a consumer will always be more effective than developing a marketing campaign based on an age classification.

Changes in Motherhood

One major trend in recent years has affected women of childbearing age. In 1976, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 31 percent of mothers returned to the outside-the-home workforce within a year of giving birth. In 1998, the figure had risen to 58.7 percent. For women with a college education, statistics show that 68 percent will return to the workforce before their child celebrates his or her first birthday.

Men's Roles as Parents

In addition to trends in motherhood, men's roles in raising children have changed dramatically. Mediamark Research reports that the percentage of male homemakers (defined as the person in the household who does most of the shopping) reached 30.3 percent in 2000, up from 15 percent in 1985. Most of these male homemakers live alone, live with children, or live with other men.

Single-Person Households

Fifty years ago, single-person households made up just 10 percent of the population. According to the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, those shoppers now account for over 25 percent of households. Single-person households are increasing most rapidly of all demographic groups; that trend is expected to continue. Women are the majority (58 percent) of those who live alone, and half of those are 65 or over. In contrast, of the men who live alone, almost half (47 percent) are 25 to 44 years old. U.S. Census Bureau projections to the year 2020 show a dramatic increase in the number of middle-aged singles. Single-household women aged 45 to 64 will increase by 65 percent, and single-household men age 45 to 64 will increase by 83 percent.

Getting Married Later

The median age for marriage has increased from age 20.8 for women in 1970, to age 25.1 in 2000. Men's marrying age has increased from 23.2 in 1970 to 26.8 in 2000. Obviously, there are a multitude of reasons that people are waiting longer to marry, but there is little doubt that this trend allows individuals more time to become established in the workforce before they marry.

So far, I've outlined several different population trends. However, knowing these trends and applying them to marketing efforts are two entirely different things. Walking up and down the aisles of a supermarket with a working mom, male homemaker, single shopper, and late-marrieds will begin to shift your consumer behavior paradigm as you learn to perceive your product through their eyes, ears, and taste buds. For example, each of these individuals might have one purchase in common with the others--Coca-Cola. How they make the purchase will vary drastically--for instance, the late-married might choose a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke, while the single shopper might choose cans of caffeine-free Coca-Cola. The working mom might choose a single chilled can of Cherry Coke and hide it from her kids because soda is not allowed in her house, while the male homemaker might select Coke in vintage glass bottles, and keep the bottles for his kids' art project.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why "Being the Shopper" Is So Important.

The Consumer Today.

PART ONE: THE SHOPPER.

Selling in a Diverse Economy.

The Shopping Experience.

Defining and Meeting Your Shoppers' Priorities and Needs.

PART TWO: THE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE.

e-Revolution Becomes e-Evolution.

Identifying Your Shopper.

What Do You Do after They Buy?

Is Your Message Getting Through?

PART THREE: BRANDING TO THE SHOPPER.

Forget the 4Ps!

Getting Value to Shoppers.

Putting Nature's Gifts to Work.

PART FOUR: SHOPPERS' SENSE-ABILITIES.

What Your Shopper's Nose Knows.

What Your Shopper's Eyes See.

Lights, Music...Action.

PART FIVE: HEALTHY MARKETING.

Diet for Health or Diet for Appearance?

The Dos and Don'ts of Marketing Health Claims.

Conclusion: A Marketing Philosophy to Share.

A Marketing Time Line of Key Supermarket Events in the Twentienth Century.

Acknowledgments.

About the Author.

Index.

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