In the crazy world of shopper marketing, busy professionals often wonder: what are the important, long-term trends to pay attention to vs. the fads that become a flavor of the month but quickly go back to obscurity?
On March 27-29, 2017, hundreds of shopper marketers from all over the world will convene in New York City for the annual Shopper Marketing Summit. They will discuss a wide range of topics, many of which have been on their radar for years, while others rapidly rise and fall in popularity. We have been tracking the Path to Purchase Expo and Shopper Marketing Summit agenda keywords for the last 2.5 years, building word clouds and making curious observations.
We find the Expo & Summit Brochures that are published by the Path to Purchase Institute, upload their text to a word cloud software, suppress generic, frequently used words like “shopper”, “market”, “retail”, “brand”, etc. that obscure the rest of the keywords, then we generate rankings and word clouds based on the frequency of each keyword.
Top 10 Keywords in 2017
Here are the top 10 2017 Shopper Marketing Summit keywords compared to their rankings for the same event two years ago. Green rows show any significant increases in mentions, white rows indicate little to no change and red rows indicate significant declines. The world of shopper marketing has changed dramatically in this short time span!
New Winners Emerge
“Technology,” quite a broad term, jumped to #1 spot in 2017, due to 3.5 x increase from 2015. This reflects our society’s growing obsession with new gadgets and the shift to process automation.
Other high-ranking keywords that are topping the charts for the first time are “design” and “custom.” This is not surprising, considering retailers' and brands’ focus on personalized shopper and user experiences, and the growing importance of design in all spheres of business.
Are Digital & Mobile Losing Luster?
Last year, we noticed a beginning of the decline in frequency of “Mobile” and “Digital,” as they’ve become mainstream, widely adopted tactics and are no longer hotly debated by industry leaders. This year, we continue to see the same trend, where “Mobile” didn’t even make the top 10 list, while “Digital” barely made it. Another buzzword that lost momentum is “omnichannel” — the industry seems to have gotten a good grasp of the idea and no longer has any desire to harp on it.
What We Don’t See Yet
None of the cutting edge technologies are yet part of the shopper marketers’ agenda this year, reflecting a pragmatic and relatively conservative industry attitude toward “shiny new toys.” I would be curious to see if next year any of the following keywords emerge:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Machine Learning
- Virtual Reality
- Personal Shopping Assistants
Were you surprised by any of these findings? What trends do you think are here to stay and what topics are on their way out? What hot topics would you like to see debated by the industry in 2017? Share your thoughts in the comments below!