One Blog |January 20, 2015 | POS Tracking Software

Deploying POS Marketing Programs Without Measuring Results

Mark Fullerton

I love to cook!

Over the recent holidays, I attempted to cook several dishes with which I had no previous cooking experience. Believe it or not, I had never cooked a bone-in rib-eye roast.  “What could go wrong,” I thought to myself. Well, let me tell you this — I cooked my beautiful roast by time rather than temperature, and I seriously overcooked it. I didn’t even come close to my goal of creating a medium-done roast. Perhaps not a total disaster — after all, the veggies were pretty good — but very close to a total disaster.

What Happens When You Avoid Measuring

My problem? I didn’t bother to measure the temperature of the meat until it had been in the oven for nearly 90-minutes. And, despite cooking the roast for less time than my cook book recommended, I guess I should not have been surprised and disappointed at the outcome.

Of course, a search of the Internet offered virtually no sympathy. In fact, I was pretty much told I was a fool:

"The idea that you would rely on intuition to judge something you are terrible at judging makes very little sense. . . . Why don't you blindfold yourself too? Cooking without a good digital thermometer and a good temperature guide is like driving without a speedometer.” —

At the point of intersection, between my overdone feast and the Internet site’s lecturing me, my thoughts turned to the similarities between the prospective customers we at OnTrak are striving to win over and my shortcomings as a chef.

What occurred to me, staring at nearly four pounds of overcooked meat, was that virtually all beverages sold at-retail do receive at least some point-of-sale (POS) marketing materials. These materials are typically offered, created and placed at the retail location based on the “intuition” of the supplier’s or distributor’s representatives

POS marketing initiatives, like my attempts to cook a roast, are frequently carried out like “cooking without a thermometer” or “driving without a speedometer.”

POS and the Beverage Industry

Here’s what appears to be happening with respect to POS marketing — specifically for beverages:

Suppliers and distributors are generally the most likely group to order and place POS marketing materials. At a minimum they budget certain amounts for at-retail marketing material spend. Distributors, with their own in-house graphics and printing capabilities, create local POS materials to coordinate with a brand’s national campaign images and content. However, little POS planning (beyond a budget per customer, rep or brand) actually takes place. Almost no research is carried out to determine what POS type and content has proven successful. And, there is no work done to see what is being  done at-retail by competitors

What seems to be happening all too frequently in the retailer’s aisles is that POS materials (signs) are created, delivered and placed by distributor and supplier reps. Then they are generally ignored until new or replacement POS is “due” for whatever reason.

Today, based on our market observations, virtually none of the valuable POS and sales data collected by POS tracking systems is used to evaluate the effectiveness of the POS. There is little or no correlating of the cost of POS and resulting sales impact during the period of time the POS was on display.

POS Marketing Technology Systems

These types of systems are growing rapidly in popularity as evidenced by the number of new customers we add every year. But these systems seem to be used primarily to improve the accuracy of POS materials ordering and to shorten production time which leads to improved speed to market. These benefits are quite valuable, to be sure — and they do more than pay for the cost of the systems.

But the true power of today’s POS management systems comes from the data they collect and the reporting tools they provide.

In short, the value of OnTrak's POS Marketing Technology Systems is in the information they can provide.

POS Technology Systems can help answer questions like this:

If POS Marketing really is a key driver of sales — and requires tracking, measuring and managing to get the most from it — what can we/you do to deliver improved return on investment (ROI). That is, what can we to do with our POS marketing initiatives to win at retail?

Knowing what POS marketing initiatives work best, when they work well, and how they compare with different approaches can be the key to winning or failing at retail.

Just as my relying upon “intuition” and my lack of timely temperature measurement ruined my beef roast, beverage marketers will only gain a small benefit by automating the front-end POS ordering and processes. The real benefit will come through measurement and the subsequent management of the POS Marketing Process. It is critical that beverage marketers consider the strategic value of using POS data correlated with sales data to help improve the effectiveness of at-retail marketing and achieve greater sales increases.

To learn more about our POS Marketing Technology, please click this button.

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