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POS Marketing - The Right Place at the Right Time


POS Marketing - The Right Place at the Right Time

The Impact of “Smart Technology”

Have you bought a new “smart” TV, or Blu Ray player recently?  Did you give or get an iPad, Kindle Fire HD, or other similar device for Christmas?  Is your mobile phone classified as a “smart phone”? How much TV (broadcast or cable) do you watch live vs. DVR’d?

Unless you’ve gone “off the grid”, you probably know that the first three questions, if answered in the affirmative, suggest your “TV viewing” habits are shifting or already have shifted. The shift to using ‘smart devices’ for content viewing has been going on for a few years, but in the last couple of years has really picked up steam. In fact, last year was TV’s worst year in a long time, perhaps ever.  

Here’s a sobering fact: with but a few exceptions, there has been nothing but negative growth on broadcast and cable TV for almost three years.  Research has shown that the decline in subscriptions to cable TV – since 2010 – has exceeded 5 million people.

We are experiencing a period where there is a shift to mobile devices and ‘digital viewing’ and away from traditional broadcast and cable TV. These digital devices (including smart TVs) allow the audiences to watch whatever they want to watch, whenever they want to watch it.  Typically, too, the on demand programming allows viewers the ability to watch 60 minute TV shows in about 45 minutes since most and sometimes all of the commercials are cut out of the on-demand versions of programs.

Other technologies such as pervasive and free Wi-Fi are also contributing to the decline of TV viewership – as almost anything can be watched anytime, anyplace and, as mentioned above, often commercial free.

The Impact on CPG Advertising

As if the declining reach of broadcast and paid TV signals isn’t enough bad news for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) suppliers and manufacturers (who have relied upon ever increasing TV viewership to promote their products), consider that studies have shown that most people prefer commercial-free content when watching “TV” programs – even if they have to pay a small fee to watch content without commercials.  Clearly this reality will impact advertisers’ willingness to pay for advertising – especially since the consumer perceives the quality of paid, commercial free content is superior to the content delivered for free but with commercials.   Finally, it should be noted that the age group that has increasingly stopped watching “commercial-TV” (free TV) in favor of Internet or Digital Content video is the most highly coveted group, the Millennials (people born since 1980).

Yet, even in the face of the facts – that traditional broadcast and cable TV are declining in both reach (audience size) and richness (impact) – advertisers are still being steered into purchasing TV commercials as if they were both the most efficient and most effective marketing approach to persuade an audience to buy manufacturers’ CPGs. Of course advertisers are encouraged to purchase TV commercials because there simply isn’t alternative media that can put advertisements in front of as many potential customers – or so it is claimed, as if potential reach alone was justification for spending what often seems like governmental sums for a handful of 30-second commercials.

The Point-of-Sale Advertising Alternative

POS Marketing AdvertisingCPGs of all stripes are anxious to find ways to reach consumers where and when the marketing message will likely have the most impact and influence on their buying habits. Despite some advertising agencies apparent vested interest in selling, producing and scheduling TV commercials, those agencies who place their clients’ interest first know that the best way to “move markets” is to place marketing messages and advertising campaigns where the customers are at their most receptive – at the point of sale (POS).

POS marketing (often simply called “POS”) is currently in the most fortunate position of being in the ideal place and time for a broad variety of brands and products. Indeed, POS is where the customers are at the time and place when they are shopping and ready (and wanting) to buy.  For somewhat obvious reasons, beverages jump to mind first as a category of CPG’s that will benefit most from POS materials. That may well be true, but many other items including electronics, food items, most household products and even autos are examples of items that are excellent candidates for POS marketing.

Increasingly suppliers, wholesalers and retailers are discovering that rather than spending large sums on traditional media buys, POS spending is proving itself to be able to attract more shoppers when they are ready to become buyers.

OnTrak’s Perspective

From our perspective, when it comes time to actually measure the impact of a marketing campaign, traditional media buys are typically limited to the metric “CPM” or cost per thousand impressions or views. Essentially this measurement assumes that what is needed to determine the impact of traditional media advertising is the reach (how many people in the market saw the advertisement) of the message. Often the time between when a TV commercial is run and any subsequent reaction is possible, let alone probable, is too great to form much, if any, correlation between the advertising event and a sales bump.

POS marketing, in contrast, can be measured much closer to the time of placement to determine the impact of the message and effectiveness of the POS type. Using software tools, POS marketing materials can be tracked, measured and managed to determine the correlation between the POS placement and sales increases and to allow for the calculation of ROI.

The decline of conventional media and ultimately the inevitable decline of traditional media marketing continue to elevate the importance of POS marketing. POS marketing management tools available today, such as those offered by OnTrak, enable CPG suppliers, distributors and retailers to optimize their marketing at-retail campaigns for maximum ROI.

For more information on OnTrak’s POS Tracking software, please click this button:

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Bibliography (URL’s)

“The Death of Television May Be Just 5 Years Away,”

“YouTube, Netflix, and the Death of Television,”

The Death of TV: 5 Reasons People Are Fleeing Traditional TV,”

“Delivering the Promise of Shopper Marketing,”

“The most important shopper marketing trends to watch,”

“Marketing in the Digital Age; Winning with Data & Analytics,”

“The Impact of Point-of-Purchase Advertising on Consumer Buying Behavior,”

Correlating an Increase In Sales to Point of Sale Promotions


Correlating an Increase In Sales to Point of Sale Promotions

POS Marketing Measurement

One of the most powerful – and under-utilized – features available to users of OnTrak’s products is the capability to measure the impact on sales of your POS promotional initiatives. Simply put, it is possible to correlate the sales increase associated with your POS campaigns and use this data to make informed decisions about the ROI or effectivness of certain kinds of POS materials. The value of this data should be self-evident, but what is confusing to me is why tracking this relatively simple correlation – and using the information generated – is rarely done, despite its obvious potential benefits.

Go to a Business Analysis Boot Camp?

As I write this, I find myself glancing at a flyer on my desk commending the benefits of taking a 4-day Business Analysis (BA) Boot Camp. 4-days and $2,500 later, I imagine my BA skills would be elevated to such an extent that I would be able to competently converse with other Business Analysts on a wide variety of subjects, using appropriate BA jargon.

Much as I’d like to immerse myself in this training, I don’t really think it would enable me help OnTrak’s customers begin to embrace using our software tools to not only track POS orders and placements but actually use our software to help them be better brand and product marketers.

The reason for my avoiding the BA Camp? 

Well, using OnTrak’s data and your own sales data to determine POS effectivity and efficiency does not require anything close to a 4-day lecture course.

What are the Tricks of the Trade?

The truth is there really are no tricks and nothing complicated required to use OnTrak’s data correlated with your order management system sales data to determine the probable increase associated with specific promotions.

The following discusses what OnTrak solutions can do and provides some insight into how we do it. Let’s make sure we’re on the same page with respect to what we will be measuring and correlating.

Beverage alcohol suppliers and distributors specifically want to know the sales differences (hopefully increases) between the promotional (POS) period and a prior or pre-promotion period. This correlation is the simplest method of measuring the impact of your at-retail marketing. POS campaign sales are easy to determine since they are the promoted item’s sales recorded during a given POS promotional campaign. 

What may be difficult is determining what data will be used to establish the pre-promotion period’s sales performance. For instance, will we include prior periods for comparison that we know or suspect have significant seasonal swings; or, will we include relatively new items where there is little sales history to compare to?

If you elect to use this straightforward Before-and-After (B&A) measurement approach, you must accept the fact that there will always be products that fall outside the realm of accuracy and believability of this method of measurement. For established, non-seasonal products, however, the B&A method will provide you with most of the answers you will need to determine what POS initiatives will most likely provide the greatest increase in sales.

Of course, college level courses in probability, statistics and operations research can suggest formulas to refine and sharpen the measurement of the accuracy of your POS campaign’s impact on sales; and, there are instances where more certainty may be required. If and when you need greater accuracy, you should consider applying more advanced formulas to the task.  However, what is often most desirable and valuable to suppliers, distributors and retailers is finding the answer to the basic questions pertaining to POS.

What POS promotions work to provide an increase in sales (and how much of an increase) and what doesn’t work?

Should you require more refinement than the B&A approach described above, you may want to consider using a method that averages all of the prior year’s months together after eliminating the promotional periods. However, if the products you are measuring are promoted over 50% of the time, you may want to directly correlate prior promotional periods to your current POS promotions to determine the impact on sales of different kinds of POS or POS placement.

Regardless of the method you deploy for measuring the impact of your POS initiatives upon sales, we’re confident you will find confirmation that retail market campaigns can and do deliver increased sales. Over time you will discover how your sales results can be improved and adapt accordingly. Your only requirement is to start measuring and stick with it.

For more information about OnTrak solutions, please click this button:

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Expert Predictions for the 2014 Beverage Alcohol Market


Expert Predictions for the 2014 Beverage Alcohol Market – Where POS Marketing Fits

Beverage Alcohol Market Predictions

This Blog post will highlight some expert beverage alcohol predictions and forecasts for 2014, and cite sources.

Given the global nature of some of the forecasts, I would lend a healthy amount of credence to the predictions – and how they will impact the US – especially with respect to the boost provided by an ever improving US economy.

  • The [global] beverage alcohol industry will exceed $1 trillion (USD) in 2014 and is expected to reach nearly $1.2 trillion by 2016 (an increase of over 15% since 2011) – Marketline -

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev will retain its leadership/dominance accounting for some 20% of the market’s volume – Global Industry Analysts, Inc. -

  • Since contracting in 2009, global beer sales will show an increase in 2014 of 8% (over the five-year period from 2009 to 2014) – Marketline -  

  • New beverage alcohol brands and labels will continue to come to market; however, in the US, the continuing trend will be for beer sales to grow only slightly (about 1%) while wine and spirits will continue to grow at double-digit rates.  – Beverage Information Group -  

  • The 'explosion' of: – US Beverage Alcohol Forum -

- Premium brands and products; Breweries, wineries & distilleries; New beverage products   

The one forecast that emerges from these expert predictions is > GROWTH.

With the preceding growth forecast as a backdrop for what’s in store for 2014, it seems that it is incumbent upon both beverage alcohol suppliers and distributors to:

  • Develop and maintain a marketing plan with quantifiable, measurable sales goals, including: Sales increases and Budget dollars sufficient to achieve the goals set by the brands and products.

  • Utilize software tools that can track, measure and manage distributor POS initiatives to facilitate retail marketing effectiveness enabling POS materials to get to market faster, be correlated to sales performance, provide placement verification and enable regular reporting throughout the supply chain.

  • Dominate in POS marketing.

How OnTrak Software Can Help

OnTrak Software’s mission is to help beverage alcohol distributors Track, Measure and Manage their investments in Point-of-Sale marketing and promotional materials. Distributors know how important high-quality custom beverage menussampling events, and permanent POS are in driving wine and spirits sales. But there are challenges!

Wholesalers confirm the following as their top 3 challenges:

  1. Their POS Costs and Time-to-Market are out of control

  2. They lack information to make better, targeted POS decisions

  3. They want to improve supplier relationships in the area of bill-back recovery

OnTrak’s software solutions allow wholesalers to:

  • Track and Lower POS Costs- A single point-of-control for POS marketing management to dramatically reduce POS ordering and production expenses

  • Speed POS Time-to-Market- A POS workflow system to improve communications, decrease delivery times and provide a competitive advantage

  • Increase Supplier Bill-back Recovery - Integrated analysis and reporting tools to deliver accurate information and improve supplier relationships.

For more information about OnTrak Software’s POS Tracking Solutions, please click the following button:

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How CPG Companies Fine-Tune Local POS Promotions 2014


How Global Consumer Goods Companies Fine-Tune Local Point-of-Sale (POS) Promotions

CPG companiesRemember the days when network television was the most effective way to get a marketing message to consumers - When companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Miller Coors had the size and scale to get the best deals for prime-time airtime on one, two or all three networks.

Today, with a cable audience divided among hundreds of channels and thousands of programming choices, prime-time network television is no longer the best or most efficient buy. Even cable choices can be far less effective today considering that DVR penetration is at nearly 40% – audiences simply fast-forward through advertising.

POS Works

On the other hand, when your targeted customer is in the aisle at the retail store where your products are purchased, they often actively seek “advertising” with point-of sale (POS) signs and displays. POS introduces them to new products, informs them of sale prices and promotions, and focuses their attention on your product and away from your competitor’s.

We all know that POS marketing works. But there are only a small number of companies that actually measure and manage their POS. The same is true whether it’s called Point-of-Purchase (POP), In-Store Marketing, Shopper Marketing or Trade Promotions (TP).

How do you know how well you are doing?

Surveys indicate that only 18% of Consumer Goods companies comprehensively assess and manage their POS initiatives. If you have the answers the following questions, then you are among the elite.

  • What amount was spent on Trade Promotions, such as signage, displays and other collateral?

  • What products were promoted, and over what period of time?

  • Where were the promotions placed and who was the targeted customer?

  • What were the results of the promotion and its effect on sales?

According to International Data Corp. (IDC) Manufacturing Insights for the typical consumer package goods manufacturer Trade Promotions (aka POS) is the second largest cost item on the P&L, behind COGS, and it's growing.

In a webinar * conducted by Consumer Goods Technology Magazine and IDC the Top Trade Promotion Management challenges for these companies include:

  • The lack of a good Trade Promotion Management Tool to measure spend effectiveness and promotion return on investment (ROI)

  • Dissatisfaction with promotional results – companies know some percentage of promotional events are unprofitable, just not which ones

  • Inability to leverage prior learning or experience

  • The lack of data accuracy and availability

Where OnTrak Fits

Here’s the good news, and hopefully you won’t keep it a secret.

Today OnTrak Software has the tools that enable you to track, measure and manage your promotional efforts and spending – all at a cost that will surprise you.

Three of our products, specifically SignTrak (for custom POS), PermaTrak (for permanent POS) and MenuTrak (for custom beverage menus) already have the ability to track what was spent; where and when the promotions were placed; and the incremental sales that were achieved as a result of the promotions.

With OnTrak, you have the ability to measure POS ROI; know what works and what doesn’t; and show you how to leverage your experiences with promotions.  OnTrak products help build a comprehensive data base that allows you to begin to optimize your promotional efforts.

To learn more about OnTrak's POS Marketing Management Tools, please click this button:

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* Reference - CGT, MindTree & IDC Presentation, “How Global Companies Fine Tune Local Promotions,” September 15, 2011

Track and Measure Your POS Marketing Investment - 2014


Are You Able to Track and Measure Your Investment in Point-of-Sale Marketing?

Do you think you’re spending too much on at-retail promotions?

Track & Measure POS

Whether you answered Yes or No - How do you know? - Unless you measure it first!

These are not meant to be trick questions!

Most of OnTrak’s customers and prospects feel they are spending too much on Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing. Some feel they are spending too little. And occasionally we find one who feels their spending is just about right.

The truth is that often times they don’t know. Or they’re just guessing.

Based on our experience in the Alcohol Beverage Distribution segment, unless you have the tools to effectively track and measure your at-retail marketing initiatives, you can’t know what you’re getting for your spending. In addition, if you can’t determine your return-on-investment, you can’t manage your POS investments.

Bottom line: If you don’t measure, you can’t manage.

The alcohol beverage industry spends at least three-quarters of a billion dollars ($750,000,000) annually on retail promotions. According to POPAI, this number has continued to grow an average of about 7% annually even through the ‘Great Recession’.

I would think if you were an alcohol beverage distributor, you would want to analyze and evaluate your retail promotions just because it represents a lot of money; and POS is known to have the greatest impact in turning a shopper into a buyer.

According to the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF), certain forms of POS are more effective than others. ARF studies have indicated that some POS “produces sales lifts twice the size of others.” 

Do you know what POS works best for your brands and products? Do you know the return on investment (ROI) your POS generates? If you don’t know the answers to these questions you may be getting a low or zero return on your retail promotions – or else you’re just very lucky.

The data comparing your POS spending to the top-line revenue changes during a specific POS campaign provides you with both information and knowledge about the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. This knowledge gives you a competitive advantage (if you have the tool) that will lead to profitable business management with an increase in market share.  

Almost immediately after deploying one of OnTrak’s POS tracking tools you can make information-based decisions (not gut-based decisions) about where to place your POS for maximum impact; determine what type or size of POS works best; and what delivers a message that results in the most sales lift.  

You will know whether your POS spending has been too much, too little, or just right, by using the information provided by OnTrak’s applications. The long-term impact is that OnTrak enables you to create POS campaigns that have a high probability of success. By tracking and measuring your POS process, you’ll know what works. No more printing a bunch of POS, placing it in the market, and hoping it works.

Who is likely to triumph: Those who really know what works OR those who are just guessing!

To learn more about OnTrak's POS Marketing Management Products, click this button:

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Point-of-Sale Marketing - Blow Up Your TV and Go to the Store 2014


Point-of-Sale Marketing - Blow Up Your TV, Throw Away Your Newspaper, and Go to the Store!

If you have been involved in the alcohol beverage industry for the last five years, either as a supplier or a wholesale distributor, you know there have been many changes in the industry that significantly impact your business.

The Importance of Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing

One of the significant changes has been the growing importance of point-of-sale marketing (aka, in-store or shopper marketing). POS marketing includes any planning for, or the measuring and managing of the promotional materials and messages which target the ‘consumer’ at the point-of-purchase (POP).  Such POS or POP marketing materials might include printed signs, displays, menus, or product samples.

The Changing Role of Mass Media Marketing

Mass media marketing, while hardly dead, has become less valuable in driving local sales. Like society for most of the last decade, mass media has become ever more fragmented, making it increasingly difficult for brands to be effectively marketed to large population segments. This one trend alone has led suppliers to restructure their marketing budgets to identify alternatives to traditional mass media. Other trends, including the explosion of brand choices and retail places, have also served to weaken mass media’s impact.

The Changing Role of Point-of-Sale Marketing

Point of Sale MarketingStarting in the early 2000’s, in response to the weakened impact of mass media, suppliers, distributors, as well as retailers, started to shift their budgets away from mass media toward point-of-sale marketing. Now in 2014, as we continue to emerge from the Great Recession, this shift has again picked up momentum.  We have seen 'at-retail' marketing activities increasing in-sync with these shifting budgets. 

The market has spoken and it certainly seems to be saying ‘at-retail’ is where the critical difference can be made with respect to influencing the consumer to buy.

The only challenge with POS and POP is that these promotional materials are provided and placed by the supplier or distributor with little or no knowledge of the impact of the marketing investment, or without a known correlation between the cost of these marketing campaigns and the resulting sales performance. Said a different way, there was no easy way to determine the profitability or the return-on-investment of point-of-sale marketing initiatives.

To confirm this all you have to do is consider the following:

Do you have the information to answer the following questions?

  • How much of a sales increase did you experience from your point-of-sale marketing initiatives?

  • What attributes of POS marketing have the most influence on sales?

  • How can the effectiveness of your promotions be improved to generate more sales within your current budgets?

  • How do multiple POS marketing programs (signs, display, menus and samples) work together for a greater impact on sales?

Until recently, tools were not available to collect this type of marketing campaign data and present it to the suppliers or distributors.  Now with products provided by OnTrak, it is possible to answer these questions quickly and accurately, to improve your point-of-sale marketing efforts.

An added benefit is that you will now be able to provide detailed information to your suppliers about what point-of-sale marketing campaigns you sponsored, how much they cost, and what their impact was on sales. You will also have the data to file timely and complete marketing co-op recovery reports immediately after a campaign has concluded.

Exciting stuff!

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Measuring the ROI of at-Retail Marketing - Does Anyone Care?


Measuring the ROI of Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing Materials

Does Anyone Care?

We Do!

Countless studies show that at-retail marketing and point-of-purchase promotion materials are critical to stimulating and increasing sales, especially in the alcohol beverage industry.

But if they’re so critical to distributors and suppliers, why don’t the companies who produce and place the marketing materials at retailers and restaurants have a system to measure and manage the impact of their marketing efforts?

marketing at retail ROIMore importantly, why don’t they have an easy way to quantify the return-on-investment (ROI) that they get from their at-retail marketing campaigns and materials? Why they are unable to answer the key question: How much of an increase in sales results was achieved by making a specific investment in point-of-sale marketing?

Alcohol beverage distributors and suppliers spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on point-of-sale signage, menus and samples. At certain times, retailers and restaurants might be able to tell distributors that more money ended up in the till, but where’s the real connection between the marketing campaign and the sales lift? Right now, alcohol distributors, suppliers and retailers are only measuring success based on the cash register - what was sold or purchased. But that’s like steering a boat by looking at the wake.

Do they know what motivated the buyer to buy? More specifically, did a marketing campaign and its associated materials that were placed at the point-of-purchase cause an increase in sales, or not? If it did then continuing the campaign might be beneficial; but if it didn’t, then perhaps the campaign should be stopped or modified, immediately. Without measurements how would you know how to manage this process?

The primary reason such measurement and management has not taken place is because the tools to perform such an activity previously didn’t exist, or required time consuming, manual effort.

There's good news.

Today, beverage distributors and perhaps suppliers, have access to new software tools that take away the guess work and precisely measure the impact of at-retail marketing campaigns and materials. These types of solutions actually correlate the effect that point-of-sale marketing or point-of-purchase promotion has on sales. They tell the beverage distributors, and ultimately their suppliers, if they are getting the maximum ROI from their point-of-sales (POS) marketing dollars for:

  • Custom and Temporary Signs - Gauge the performance of your signage, sales teams, suppliers, brands, and locations and then correlate those factors to your POS investment

  • Permanent Signs and Displays - Securely manage and control permanent POS inventory

  • Beverage Menus - Ensure full maximum performance from your sales team and compensation from suppliers

  • Beverage Samples - Total control of your sampling programs -  what beverage was sampled and where; who sampled it and the customer’s tasting response

For more information on these measurement and management tools go to:

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How To Win the Beverage Sales War With POS Marketing Data


How To Win the Beverage Sales War With POS Marketing Data

Who Are OnTrak’s Customers?

OnTrak’s customers are typically those organizations in beverage companies that are responsible for the ordering, creation and placement of brand specific point-of-sale marketing materials. Generally speaking this means our customers are not retailers. Rather our customers (and prospects) are one or two levels before the retailer in the supply chain. In short, our customers are the distributors and their suppliers who create and/or fund the production of POS promotional initiatives: Advertising placed in the retail environment, for example.

Winning the War

With this foundation, I can now suggest that our customer’s point-of-sale data bases, maintained by OnTrak software solutions, are chock full of data that can be compiled, sorted and presented in reports that provide brand and product sales management with information about ‘How to Win the Beverage Sales War With POS’ specifically by knowing when to place POS marketing materials so that they are most likely to produce the greatest likelihood of success - Success being defined as an increase in sales.

Before we get to the particulars of how OnTrak products can help beverage suppliers and distributors maintain or gain competitive advantage, let’s discuss how the information in OnTrak’s databases can be used to produce a better understanding of when POS is likely to have the most impact.

To begin, it is not just helpful, it is imperative that you think about how and when retail shoppers become buyers. We need to think B2C, not B2B – this means, for example, that we recognize that consumers shop, typically, much more frequently than businesses.

Most consumers shop at least weekly, some several times per week. Studies for years have shown that the amount spent per shopping trip supports the conclusion that more is spent at the beginning of the month than at other times. Next in the order of spending per trip is: Weekends. The higher spending periods (beginning of the month and weekends) are, hopefully, obvious.

Ask Yourself These Important Questions

If these consumer profiles are correct, then here are some questions to ask:

  • Does your POS refresh or push correspond to these times of the month?

  • Do your sales increase at the beginning of the month and on weekends?

  • Can you correlate your POS push to sales and time of the month?

  • Do you have a marketing plan in place that utilizes measurement and reporting tools enabling you to track and measure monthly, semi-weekly and weekly retail spending cycles?

  • Do you even have the data to produce reports by week, month, quarter, etc. compared to prior periods that will give your marketing and sales teams actionable information to assist them in planning and implementing at-retail marketing campaigns that are statistically proven to provide the greatest sales increase and maximum ROI?

  • Do you have the tracking, analyzing and reporting tools to allow you to filter your reports by ethnicity, store type, POS type, territory or zip code?

  • And finally, is your POS promotion spending simply defensive – suggesting that you’re just doing what your competitors do, rather than going on the marketing at-retail offensive, effectively putting the shoe on the other foot?

Do You Have The Data? - And Can You Get To It?

Only you know if you have the data required to answer the preceding questions – unless you’re already an OnTrak subscriber. Our subscribers capture dozens of data elements about their POS campaigns: They know what POS went to which customers (and they know every detail about that POS including brand and product being promoted, ethnicity, informational or promotional message, sale price, etc.), when it was ordered, produced and placed, and how much it cost and the correlation of POS marketing to sales of the promoted product.

This means OnTrak customers can actually measure what POS works best to enable them to achieve their sales objectives. Our subscribers can provide manufacturers and suppliers with visual verification of at-retail POS placement if required for compliance or marketing allowances recovery.

Of course it probably is possible to track, measure and manage your at-retail marketing without our software tools – it’s just that our customers tell us we not only make it look easy – it is as easy as 1-2-3. 

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Why POS Marketing is More Important Now Than Ever Before


Why Marketing at the Point-of-Sale is More Important Now Than Ever Before

Store Brands vs. National Brands

During the Great Recession, shoppers learned to shop for value, shop for deals, and shop for the best products at every price-point. Shoppers learned that many products – maybe even most products at least in some categories – are largely interchangeable.  In other words, shoppers quickly learned that many store brands are both less expensive than national brands but are often reported by consumers and reviewed by ‘experts' to be of equivalent quality.

When it comes to at least one store’s brand name, ‘Kirkland’, most consumers not only believe the brand represents equivalent – or higher – quality, they also believe Kirkland brands to be of substantially higher value.

The point is that shoppers have become more discriminating and more willing and able to shop and buy smarter than before the recession.  This ‘smarter shopping behavior’ seems to be sticking around even though the economy has improved since the darkest days of 2007 – 2009.

POS Marketing Makes Smarter Shoppers

POS marketing materials provide most shoppers with the most important data points – in other words, shoppers ‘get smart’; at retail by taking in the data they require to make informed buying decisions.

For a variety of reasons fewer consumers and shoppers rely on traditional media (broadcast and print) to help them with their product research. Pre-buying research (other than that carried out by POS materials) is either done on-line, at home, prior to shopping, or in the store on a smartphone.  Of course, some of the smartphone use at retail is simply to see if the product being shopped for is offered somewhere else for a better price. But many times the smartphone lookup is used to gather product information, consumer and professional reviews and comparisons to similar products available with different brand names.

In an effort to keep the shopper focused on the brand at hand, an increasing amount of POS marketing materials (signs, displays, etc.) will feature prominent QR codes inviting smartphone users to ‘scan for additional’ product information or instant offers (digital POS, that is).

Industry Research on POS Marketing

Shopper Decisions Made In-Store

We’ve been relying on two POPAI studies for several years now: One that states 70% of all decisions are made at the point-of-sale (1995) and a more recent study suggesting the current number is now 76% (2012 POPAI study).

A study by marketing giant Olgilvy & Mather - Shopper Decisions Made In-Store. (SDMIS) says the following:

“Shoppers know they're thirsty, but when it comes to buying soft drinks or beer they make more decisions inside the store than any other category we studied. Almost 60% of Shoppers decide in-store what brand and how much to buy from these categories". (For more details on this article see Note 1.)

And a recent presentation (Note 2) by OlgilvyAction, supported these finding that shoppers make the majority of their decisons in the store as follows:

  • 59% of brand selections are made in store. Shoppers typically enter the store with a set of products and brands in their ‘consideration set’ and then make their final decision at the shelf

  • 85% of shoppers perceive in-store marketing more influential than out-of-store marketing

  • 77% of shoppers enter the retail store without a shopping list

What Does This Mean For Beverage Distributors?

First, for the ‘smart supplier, distributor or retailer’ it is clear that effective POS marketing is the key to providing sales increases for virtually all consumer goods marketing sold in a retail environment.

POS marketing is a critical competitive tool in the fight for shopper’s attention and to persuade shoppers to become buyers.

Second, is that the only way to deliver effective POS is to TRACK POS orders, configuration and placement; MEASURE where, when and how much your POS cost (and to evaluate and correlate POS costs vs. sales); and, also MANAGE your POS campaigns with reporting tools that give you the capability to determine the profitability and ROI of your at-retail marketing campaigns and initiatives.

To learn more about how OnTrak product deliver these values to beverage distributors, please click the following button:

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Happy Holidays to the Beverage Alcohol Industry - OnTrak Software


Happy Holidays to the Beverage Alcohol Industry

OnTrak Software’s Crystal Ball

Anyone who works in the beverage alcohol business - suppliers, distributors and retailers - knows the end of year holidays are the time for the things that matter most:  family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and of course beer, wine & spirits!

Generally speaking, October, November and December (‘OND’) are the months that almost literally make the year for those in the beverage alcohol supply chain.

Challenging Environment

Although the above may suggest that all is rosy in the beverage alcohol universe, it bears noting that beverage alcohol suppliers and distributors continue to operate in perhaps the most challenging environment since Prohibition was enacted.


New shopping trends and behaviors, more demanding shoppers (and therefore more demanding retailers), technology disruptions and, for many, a lack of pricing power means there is ever increasing pressure to establish new market footholds and maintain and grow existing market share.

To succeed, beverage alcohol manufacturers and their distributors must step up their game and get in-synch with the forces of change defining this apparently fluid consumer goods market segment.

Impact of the Economy and Consumers

Naturally, the economy has much to do with what happens next; but many signs do seem to point toward continued, if not robust, growth (at least in the US). Economists would love to see GDP growth rise to 3.5%, but it would appear the best we can expect is perhaps 2.5% – and, overall it seems that 2.0% is almost the only safe bet. These numbers, if borne out, probably mean consumer spending (which is about 70% of total US economic activity) will not spike, but rather drift lazily upwards.

Couple our lazily growing economy with rising costs, marginal pricing power, no end in sight for new beverage products that keep coming to the market like there’s no tomorrow, ever more savvy shoppers, and you have a recipe for the coming heartburn of 2014.

Shoppers, buyers, consumers, customers – whatever you may call them – continue to demand more. Shoppers, although they are still in a hurry, are increasingly willing to research their buying options. Both before and especially during shopping, consumers are looking for the highest value possible for their dollars. Simply by virtue of owning smartphones, most consumers now have the tools to become more informed about their buying choices – shoppers have become empowered like at no other time in history.

Maximizing ROI With POS Marketing Software

All of the preceding – assuming the economy does not falter from its steady-as-she-goes upward movement – should encourage beverage alcohol suppliers and distributors to focus heavily on maximizing the ROI of at-retail marketing initiatives (aka, POP, POS, shopper marketing, and retail promotions, etc.)

Now, more than ever, improving POS initiatives effectiveness is of paramount importance.  Likewise, implementing tools that can correlate POS campaigns to sales results – down to the store and item level, when necessary – will provide improved predictability and, perhaps just as important, can provide the data to suggest when a ‘mid-course correction’ for point-of sale marketing promotion is prudent.

In short, using software tools that provide the ability to directly track, measure and verify the sales impact of current POS programs will suggest how best to invest future POS spending. If at-retail marketing is tracked and measured well, beverage alcohol suppliers and distributors will be able to be responsive to the many and constant changes in the market.

While much uncertainty still exists, one thing is clear: the beverage alcohol supply chain relies, more than ever, on at-retail marketing campaigns. Getting the most out of every dollar spent on at-retail promotion is likely to be a key determinant of success in 2014 and beyond.

If you’re a beverage alcohol company – supplier or distributor – determined to succeed in maximizing the ROI of your retail marketing budget, know that there are tools available to help you be more responsive to your market and that deploying these tools will enable you to gain a powerful competitive advantage.

For more information regarding the available point-of-sale marketing management tools available from OnTrak, please click this button:

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at OnTrak Software

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