22 Feb Spotlight: Understanding In-Market
Effective shopper marketing strategies require reaching out to shoppers who are “in-market.” Let’s take a look at this confusing term.
First off, what is “in-market”? According to The Digital Marketing Glossary, in-market is “a form of online behavioral targeting that allows advertisers to target consumers who are considering buying a given product or service.” Shopper marketing insights tell us it’s a little narrower than that: it’s someone who is actively shopping for a certain product at a given time.
This is a basic definition of in-market, yet there is much more behind the concept. Defining “in-market” with greater granularity provides essential knowledge for the best use of advertising dollars. A seller’s or advertiser’s work will truly achieve potency when the organization realizes that to be effective, it must reach the right in-market segments.
In practice, five segments of consumers will see most digital ads. Only two of them are truly “in-market” for your products. Here are all five segments:
- Out-of-market non-buyers. These consumers don’t care to buy your product now and never will care—like a person allergic to fish doesn’t buy fish. Advertisers should avoid appeals to the out-of-market non-buyer.
- Formerly in-Market, Post-Purchase: This consumer has already made a purchase. Unfortunately, most ad technology can’t tell when a shopper makes a purchase, so it continues to show the ads. Re-targeting like this is a common practice that can really annoy the post-purchase consumer. Why advertise a new refrigerator to someone who just bought one three weeks ago? It’s like the proverbial sales person who keeps selling after the customer says “Yes.”
- Prospective Buyer, Not Currently In-Market: These consumers have the potential to buy but are not actively making purchase decisions. An example might be a car owner whose car runs fine now but is likely to buy a new one later and may be receptive to ads. While a seller might persuade the prospective buyer to build a preference for certain brands over time, it’s best to limit ads to this target unless you know the time to purchase.
- Seller-Initiated, Active In-Market: A person who becomes interested in a category because of ads or marketing by a seller and is actively shopping. This group can be divided into two sub-categories: active and latent. Active in-market shoppers are ready to receive new information on a product to help them make a purchase, and sellers take advantage of it. Latent in-market shoppers may have a problem the product solves but are not actively seeking solutions until they are brought to their attention by advertisers. Both groups are reasonable targets.
- Consumer-Initiated, Active In-Market: This last segment is the most opportune. The consumer-initiated, active, in-market shopper proactively ventures out to research information on products without a push from the seller. This shopper is primed to purchase and most receptive to advertising.
How can you best reach in-market shoppers?
The easiest place to find them is in the store. Active in-market shoppers take themselves to the retailer (physically or digitally). Their interest is apparent when they’re standing right in front of or clicking on a product for prospective purchase. These shoppers are the bull’s eye on the marketing target.
The question is how well are you targeting active In-market buyers?
One of the best ways for shopper marketing to reach the in-market audiences is to start optimizing your ads for the in-store experience. You may find that sweet spot that turns an in-market consumer into a buyer.