Shopper marketing is the fastest growing marketing discipline globally, attracting more of a share of marketer’s budgets than ever before . Inline with this growing trend, Y&R South Africa appointed Michelle van Trotsenburg as the Business Unit Director: Shopper Conversion Marketing late last year to lead the Shopper Marketing offering within the agency.
Van Trotsenburg is a qualified marketer with over 15 years’ experience. During her career she has had the opportunity to develop her skill set across multiple disciplines namely, above-the-line advertising, brand management, product innovation, consumer and shopper insights, retail, below-the-line, CRM, shopper marketing, experiential marketing, activation and digital.
When commenting on her new role and her understanding of the competitive landscape, van Trotsenburg says, “In South Africa, there is a lot of confusion about shopper marketing – what it is, where it lives and what it can do. There’s an educational element that needs to be rolled out in order for the discipline to be easily adopted into the communication mix. I see shopper marketing in the same place digital marketing was, all those years ago”.
A common misconception is that shopper is below-the-line advertising limited to FMCG brands. Van Trotsenburg says, “The best way to describe what shopper marketing is, is to outline what it isn’t. It is not only communication within the store or retail environment. It is not only point-of-sale material, nor is it restricted to consumer promotions and it’s not only retail or digital programmes”.
Ultimately, a shopper marketer’s role is to accompany the shopper through the purchase journey or simply put, through all the touch points that lead the shopper into the store. Shoppers can switch into shopping mode at any time and more often, so shopper marketing aims to accompany the shopper through the entire path to purchase with the right message, at the right place, at the right time to the right person.
Prior to moving over to agency life, Van Trotsenburg spent her years building up a successful career on the client side. Working at Reckitt Benckiser, she successfully set up the Customer Category Development Department to develop category management and strategic business shopper marketing activation plans with key retailers, plus building expert knowledge in key categories. She grew rapidly from one senior role to the next and in 2005 was named “Marketer of the Year.” She also won “Best Copy” (TV commercial) of the year 2006 and “Best Product Gross Margin Improvement” in 2007.
Furthermore, when heading up the marketing department at the Walt Disney Company in Johannesburg she effectively managed, owned, earned and bought media, developing marketing campaigns that spanned across multiple touch points from on-line, mobile and on-air to third party partner promotions.
Van Trotsenburg’s experience in and understanding of the client environment is without a doubt a great advantage for her new challenge at Y&R. She believes that her knowledge combined with Y&R’s comprehensive network resources will allow her to create a win-win-win situation for the retailer, the shopper and the brand.
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