Shopper marketing is going digital, providing shopper marketers with a plethora of new high-buzz technologies, devices, and platforms to communicate messaging, promotions, or content to their shoppers along their path to purchase. But with limited budgets, and such a wealth of options, which ones should they choose? To help shopper marketers prioritize their technology investments in 2012 and beyond, my colleague Cory Madigan and I evaluated 17 digital tools for using Forrester’s TechRadar™ methodology. The highlight trends reveal that:

  • Cool isn’t necessarily critical . . . yet. Social networking pages, interactive displays, and QR codes get a lot of attention in the marketing world, but we found that in terms of shopper marketing utility, real shoppers aren’t quite as smitten. The opportunity is there, but lack of scale, measurement, and clear value for the consumer has limited the traction of many of the more talked-about technologies in the digital shopper marketing arsenal.
  • The digital oldies are still the ROI goodies. When it comes to shopper utility, consumers and marketers still rely most on brand websites, content that brands create for specific retailers, and email to deliver the value they seek. Rather than being replaced by new technology, watch for these platforms to become better optimized for mobile. With mobile optimization, shopper marketers will be able to tie shoppers’ online activities at home — on a PC or tablet — to their smartphone activities while on-the-go.
  • Mobile email and texting trump much-hyped apps. Even on mobile, some of the more traditional activities like email and texting represent the best opportunity for shopper marketers to connect with their consumers. Recent research shows that the primary activity smartphone users do on those devices is email. And among all adult mobile phone users, text messaging is still the second highest activity after voice. The time for location-based apps, code scanning, and social shopping will come, but in 2012, the greatest return in mobile requires setting sights a bit lower on the hype scale.

Check out the report, "TechRadar™ For CMO & Marketing Leadership Professionals: Shopper Marketing, Q2 2012" (client access required) to get a more in-depth look into our evaluations. Then let us know what tools you’re using for shopper marketing here or in the Forrester Community For CMO & Marketing Leadership Professionals.