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When Does Your Consumer Become a Shopper?

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

When does your consumer become a shopper, and is that time frame changing and beginning to blur? When is the best time to strike with your marketing message? Has that timing changed? Is your organization adjusting and adapting to the new Web dynamic world we are all living in?

These questions came to mind as I watched a video a colleague passed along from Ad Age about Vail Resort’s marketing strategy and how it has changed in response to their target’s change in behavior. Click

In a nutshell, Vail learned that the window for planning a ski vacation had shifted from six months in advance to a time-crunched two-three weeks. Vacationers were no longer planning at a leisurely pace. Instead, they were condensing their time frames. The time it took from the moment they thought of taking a ski vacation, planned and booked it, to the moment they actually showed up with their skis in hand ready to tackle the mountain has gotten much shorter. That shift from six months to three weeks is now a much quicker journey through the Shopper Continuum™ from Pre-tail™ to Retail to Post-tail™.

As a result, Vail pulled a vast majority of their branding budget (mainly big, glossy magazine ads) and reallocated it to a dynamic-messaging strategy where they could use social-media outlets to craft more timely and relevant messaging to would-be vacationers. Did they shift their strategy from targeting consumers to targeting shoppers? I would argue that they did. They identified the most opportune time to hit their target with the right message at the right time – when they are in a shopper mindset. A would-be vacationer’s shopping environment is the Web; that is Vail’s storefront. Vail has appropriately shifted their marketing gears to take advantage of this change in behavior.

Will it pay off? Time will tell, but I would bet my new pair of K2s that it will.

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