One Blog |October 28, 2010 | POS Tracking Software

How to use Marketing at-Retail to Increase Sales

Mark Fullerton

Our Experience

It appears that for some alcohol beverage distributors Marketing at-Retail is best characterized as an after-thought. For those distributors who believe this, Marketing at-Retail isn’t even a term that gets much air-time.  Often, distributors use the terms point-of-sale (POS) or point-of-purchase (POP), or more commonly, they just say “signs.”

When distributor executives or owners are introduced to our software tools to help them to manage, control and measure their Marketing at-Retail initiatives, they often pass us on to the distributor’s graphics department or print shop. We are told to talk to “our sign shop manager,” who handles all the printing and printing supplies requirements for the company.

Of course, once the print shop manager sees our solutions we are regularly sent back to the sales and marketing manger, the general manager or president. We may even be asked by sign shop personnel why the demonstration of a solution to a core-business problem doesn’t involve top management.  We then circle back to the executive to share the outcome of our product demonstration. Sometimes, we are again directed to submit our proposal to the print shop manager, who is typically not authorized to make the decision to move forward or even consider approving such proposals. And so it goes.

After several years of marketing to literally hundreds of alcohol beverage distributors and selling to dozens of them, including quite a few in the top 25, I think I have discovered the reason for this repeated pattern of behavior.  Some beverage distributor executives have yet to make the transition from thinking of signs, displays, menus and samples as defensive weapons, to knowing that all these at-retail marketing materials are offensive weapons.  Marketing at-Retail initiatives should be viewed and valued as a core business process, which supports sales and marketing, and provides distributors with a dominant competitive advantage.

Shopper Intimacy

According to a powerful 2010-published book, “Shopper Intimacy,” by Rick Deherder and Dick Blatt, Marketing at-Retail has become a critically important part of the marketing tool box and that we are today witnessing a dramatic shift in retail marketing from tactical to strategic. Traditional media buys (TV, radio and print) are on the decline and Marketing at-Retail promotions are on the rise. These authors — in what will no-doubt become (if it isn’t already) a college textbook — detail the results of their exhaustive retail studies.

Here are some highlights from just one of the studies compiled for “Shopper Intimacy”:

Convenience Store Study

  • Marketing at-Retail generated an overall average sales lift of 9.2%

  • Alcohol Beverages were lifted on average by 20% by Marketing at-Retail initiatives - Message location influences the amount of sales lift — e.g. Cooler Signs provide the maximum lift for beer

  • Less is more, bigger is better when it comes to Marketing at-Retail materials

  • Proof of placement, determination of impact (sales effectiveness) and cost efficiency are key factors to measure and report in order to increase retailer acceptance of Marketing at-Retail promotions - Retailers are more prone to offer a greater commitment to a brand or product if presented with Marketing at-Retail ROI analyses.

I cannot stress enough the value of this “new attitude” toward Marketing at-Retail (“offense, offense, offense”) — as Bob Dylan said, “The Times they are a Changin’.” And, although at about 250 pages, “Shopper Intimacy” is hardly a quick read, it may well be one of the most important business books you can read this year

 — Mark Fullerton


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