One Blog |November 17, 2011 | Point-of-Sale Marketing Management

Selling More Consumer Package Goods with Managed Trade Promotions

Mark Fullerton

Before we start this blog let me make a few assumptions as to why you may be interested in its contents.


  1. You are a user or creator of point-of-sale (POS) marketing materials (aka point-of-purchase/POP, shopper marketing, trade promotions or marketing at-retail materials)

  2. You use trade promotions because they work, and believe they turn shoppers into buyers; and if you don’t believe, you're fearful that your competitors do.

  3. Your trade promotional spending is either out of control or you’re not sure of how much sales results you’re getting in return for the investment.

  4. You work for a CPG manufacturer, a distribution company or a POS design and graphics company that produces POS materials.

Simple Wisdom

About thirty-five years ago I read the book "Small is Beautiful" by E. F. Schumacher.  

In summary Schumacher says:

  • “Give a man a fish and he has a meal”; or,
  • “Give a man a fishing pole and he can have many meals”; or,
  • “Teach a man to build a fishing pole and he can feed himself and his family forever”.

At the time, this book was considered a “from the heart” economics book with a common-sense approach to economic thinking. Many economics professors didn’t like this book — they called it “simple wisdom”.

Let’s Go Fishing

So how in the world did I make the connection between trade promotions and common sense economic thinking? Here it is:

“If you want to catch fish, you have to cast your line where you think the fish will be.”

Or, put more relevantly,

“If you want to sell your products to consumers, you have to promote your products where you think the consumers will be.”

According to studies, over 70% of CPG buying decisions are made at-retail, at the point-of-sale, in the store, or “Where the fish are”, with all due respect to consumers. So if your goal is to sell more, your efforts to market and sell should be spent where the consumers are. Put your biggest worm on your best hook and cast out into fish-filled waters.

More Simple Wisdom

At-retail marketing is the basic “block and tackle” approach to generating incremental sales. If you fail at-retail, you may fail, period. If your goal is to sell more of your products, then trade promotions management should be at the top of your marketing strategy hierarchy.

But how do you manage and optimize your trade promotions without the tools to track and measure the impact and profitability of your current trade promotions.

Apparently, we need to know not only where the fish are, but also what kind of bait will attract them when they’re most hungry.

Final Thoughts

From a marketer’s perspective, the most significant paradigm shift over the past six decades is the change from few to many choices - We’ve gone from a few products per category to many; three TV channels to over three-hundred; and from analog to digital media. Because of the nearly simultaneous arrival of these increased choices, more shoppers seem to make most of their buying decisions at the point-of-sale.

The next time you are out “in the trade”, look around at the signs, displays, product placement, and product associations (bananas in the cereal aisle). Pay attention to trade or POS promotions. It’s “your bait” that helps “Feed a man or woman, and their family for a lifetime.”

As the title above says, you can sell more consumer packaged goods with managed trade promotions!

Click here to learn more about how OnTrak Software you can help you manage trade promotions to maximum benefit.

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