Where does shopper marketing "live" in a brand organization?
If ever there were evidence of the benefits of breaking down departmental silos, it's in shopper marketing. This is totally a cross-disciplinary field. If you had to lay odds on what role a shopper marketer played before assuming that title, the safest bet would probably be trade marketing or promotions. But shopper marketing is more revolutionary than evolutionary. It is not simply a new name for promotions, but rather a new function that integrates consumer marketing, trade marketing, and consumer promotions expertise in service of multiple brand objectives.
Shopper marketing appears to attract "high fliers" -- people on the fast tracks in their companies. Perhaps this is because success is so rooted in cross training and leading multiple disciplines. My suspicion is that in the same way that "pure" consumer marketers were the "powers that be" in years past, I am convinced that shopper marketers will be playing those pivotal roles in the future.
I used LinkedIn to draw some observations about the paths that shopper marketers have taken to reach their current positions. A fairly large number of the profiles I examined showed experience in both sales and brand marketing. Often shopper marketers began their careers in sales and shifted to trade marketing or brand marketing before they assumed their new, integrated roles.