The Path-to-Purchase Institute’s Shopper Marketing Expo was held October 21-23, 2014 in Minneapolis. I had a chance to attend and hear the latest on what’s going on at Walmart from Andy Murray, SVP Creative, who gave a keynote address. In summary, he spoke about Walmart’s definition of shopper marketing, the principles for success, how Walmart is defining their path-to-purchase and how they are thinking about content marketing. It sounded as though the information he was sharing was just now being rolled out to the vendor community.

Andy talked in-depth about a big gap in our industry where the retailer path-to-purchase mindset is not aligned with the CPG shopper marketing path-to-purchase and mindset. He went on to clearly articulate that shopper marketing at Walmart is all about Driving Trips and Building Baskets. So this does not sound like anything new in terms of retailer success criteria.

What is new is Walmart’s call to action to look at the path-to-purchase through the retailer’s lens. Walmart has identified 17 retail moments of truth (or RMOT’s). These RMOT’s are the critical areas where Walmart will win or lose based on the shopper’s objective for that specific moment. Andy challenged all of us to look at the path-to-purchase by category and total box to increase trips and in-store conversion.

Moments of truth are not a new concept at Brandtrust. Being the social scientists that we are, one of our core capabilities is our expertise using social psychology and behavioral economics to figure out the emotional drivers around customer experience and the moments of truth that matter most. One of the most powerful approaches we utilize is the Peak-End Rule, a behavioral economics principle developed by Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Laureate and author of Thinking Fast and Slow. It is based on the following truths of human behavior and decision-making: We remember past experiences based on their emotional peaks (highs and lows) and how the peaks ended or were resolved. Peak experiences that break through a positive threshold encourage brand loyalty. Peak experiences that break through a negative threshold discourage brand use. Once our research methods identify the emotional peaks—most often nonconscious moments—we help our clients engineer experiences to optimize the peak moments that drive brand and business goals.

If you want to learn more about Peak-End Theory, here’s a link to download Brandtrust®’s white paper. And I’m happy to share my notes from Andy Murray’s Walmart keynote address with anyone who was not able to attend the Shopper Marketing Expo.

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