As shoppers continue to be inundated with various marketing stimuli from traditional advertising to mobile and in-store, it’s more important than ever for retailers and manufacturers to identify actionable insights and solutions to inform the execution of successful marketing campaigns at the individual household and store level. With access to the correct data, companies can directly communicate with key consumers at home, online, on-the-go or in-store. As this week’s Expert Columnist, Larry Levin, Executive Vice President and Practice Leader at Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), discusses digital and in-store strategies retailers and manufacturers can use to reach their desired consumers.

Today’s consumers typically plan prior to embarking on any shopping trip, and this trend applies to shopping for beauty products. A staggering 75% of U.S. shoppers create lists before entering a store, with 25% making the extra effort to include specific brands on their lists. Improving shopper targeting strategies are critical for beauty manufacturers eager to make it onto consumers’ lists.

The rewards for maximizing shopper targeting activities can be as bright as lip gloss, allowing manufacturers to maximize the efficiencies of their media expenditures to win that all-important trip down the aisle.

The Importance of Shopper Targeting

At All-Time High Understanding and anticipating shoppers’ habits—whether planned or spontaneous—is vital to achieve quick turnover. Not focusing on the shopper can impede manufacturers and retailers as they are likely to miss a key fact, such as Millennial spending being on par with the U.S. population, but this segment tends to buy 20% more products than the general market. Even though Millennials are more deal focused, they are more apt to enjoy the experience of shopping at retailers that engage the consumer with experiential marketing tactics, such as ULTA, Lush or Sephora, as their enjoyment of the experience is equal to their desire to save.

Among affluent shoppers, there is similar behavior in regard to deals. IRI’s EconoLink segmentation revealed that Savvy Shoppers spend the most on beauty products—$260 per year, compared to $214 across the general population. As the name implies, Savvy Shoppers come prepared with a number of coupons that drive their purchasing behavior and an affinity for products that are being promoted. Keep your eye on aging boomers. IRI research shows a couple of key groups—Conscientious and Secure—are spending disproportionately to maintain “their youthful look and image.”

Digital Tools Continue Consumers’ Education of Beauty Products

More than one-in-three consumers now use digital tools as a means to educate themselves on health and beauty, the highest usage of any online product category. Experiential marketing, demonstrations by manufacturers and self-proclaimed blogging experts like Miss Maven, Maskcara, and Cult of Pretty, have created a cult-like following of consumers eager to learn the latest trends in beauty care.

Digital orientation should depend on the age range of the target demographic. Not surprisingly, millennials are far less inclined to look through a newspaper for deals, but they are, of course, tethered to their digital devices—carrying as many as four devices at any time. Understanding which medium to most effectively reach consumers is vital in leveraging a successful ROI to drive the top of your funnel.

Reach In-Store Shoppers Through Thoughtful Promotions

It’s crucial that manufacturers “right time” their promotions as a catalyst to drive purchases. But exercise caution to avoid being seen as a product that always appears to be on sale. The perception of products that are “always a deal” can weaken a brand’s image and condition consumers to “wait a week because it’ll be $.50 less next time we go shopping!” For shoppers who do visit brick and mortar stores, in-store promotions present a huge opportunity for retailers and manufacturers. More than a third of consumers change their first choice when another equally valued brand is on sale. Many shoppers can even be swayed during their final moments of their shopping trip.

It’s critical to leverage joint business planning with retailers to maximize your knowledge of the shared consumer. A number of beauty shoppers cross channels regularly, so it’s vital to learn their preferences. For instance, the fastest growing channel segment in beauty is the dollar channel. The continued growth in dollar stores is a major growth engine for a number of CPG categories and is an attractive destination for shoppers of all demographic “make-up.”

Leveraging the momentum that is fueling the expansion of certain categories is critical to success in the beauty category. Skin care continues to be one of the fastest growing categories, but it’s critical to know which sub-categories are advancing and what products and channels are driving growth to maintain this trajectory. Connecting with the consumers responsible for driving growth can foster more rapid success. Identifying which consumers are buying what types of products provides manufacturers and retailers the strategic insights necessary to inform successful decision-making.

The market position of every health and beauty manufacturer and retailer is different, and the optimal shopper targeting strategies for each should reflect these differences. Developing these strategies begins with a detailed, comprehensive and nuanced understanding of high-value shoppers beginning with their preferences, their definition of “value,” and how they make decisions at home, online, on the go and in the store. Marketers that understand and excite their shoppers will win in today’s hypercompetitive market; those that don’t will end up like last year’s lipstick.