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How to best use in-store marketing in 2008

How to best use in-store marketing in 2008

By Mark Shaw, chief executive, the bezier group

2007 was a big year for in-store marketing with credible research beginning to help prove its effectiveness. The challenge for 2008 will be putting in-store marketing at the forefront of a campaign and using the available research to create tailored and effective messages.

One of the greatest obstacles for below the line (BTL) has always been the lack of tangible ROI results.   With the advent of the MARI (Marketing At Retail Initiative) study led by POPAI, marketers now have the ability to measure BTL activity with the same metric consistency as other advertising media.
Research also shows that more than 75 percent of purchasing decisions are made in-store but currently only five percent of advertising spend goes on PoP.  As more retailers recognise the value of the research and start acting upon its recommendations, the expectation is that New Year budgets will significantly increase BTL spend. 

The MARI study offers valuable insight into the effectiveness of different forms of PoP and this research will help to create more tailored and targeted marketing

P&G announced this year that they expect to commit more than 50 percent of their marketing budget to the retail environment within the next ten years.  Although spend is slowly starting to move from above to below the line, an integrated strategy will be vital to a make a campaign stand out. 

An advertising campaign can raise the profile of the company massively, but since most people don’t enter a store for at least two to three hours after seeing an advert, it is vital to have an integrated campaign including effective PoP to reinforce a shoppers’ purchasing decision.

The challenges faced by retailers will continue to grow in 2008.  This year online shopping reached a record £17.6bn and it is expected to hit £30bn within the next four years.   Most retailers now have online stores and it is vital that these sites continually evolve in order to be successful.

Many sites have floundered and failed including Sainsbury’s entertainment website which did not capture surfers’ interest.  Digital marketers have the challenge of coming up with sites that are innovative and engaging but equally user friendly.

The online competition also means that stores can no longer rely on the same old format.   In order to compete, successful stores will become more of a social, engaging experience, rather than just a physical opportunity to buy. In-store marketing can help by creating “brand spaces” – shopping experiences and destinations that provide an interactive forum for consumers.

As ever, compliance continued to be a problem flagged up during 2007, with PoP being left in the store room because of lack of floor space.  Since the floor space cannot change, the PoP has to.  In-store agencies have to work much harder to design PoP materials that fit the space available and still have the desired impact and effect. 

Although in-store screens fell flat again in 2007, this could be a big area of change for 2008 as retailers start to use digital technology as a PoP medium rather than simply advertising.  By using the right messaging at the shelf edge, PoP can hook shoppers in that brief three to seven second “moment of truth” that is necessary for in-store communication to be noticed. 

To move the PoP industry forward and reach its full potential, marketers must make retailers aware of the proven ROI.   Once this is recognised, more spend will move to BTL.  It is vital that when it does, marketers continue to evaluate the results to create tailored and effective campaigns.

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