Point-of-purchase industry develops audience gauge

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Tthe in-store marketing industry wants to join the ranks of media that provide audience data to advertisers.

Point of Purchase Advertising International is on the final leg of more than four years of research delving into the effectiveness of point-of-purchase materials in hundreds of supermarkets and convenience stores in 22 markets.

After compiling the results of the retail studies, the association is now going the extra step to combine its findings with audience measurement methodologies to give point-of-purchase-a $17 billion industry-the ability to quantify the medium in terms of cost per thousand.

The audience measurement, developed by Prime Consulting Group with the help of the Advertising Research Foundation, will be released next month pending approval from ARF's board of directors. While general at first, the measurements will be refined to provide demographic data. Coupled with research that proves sales lifts for specific POP retail locations and products, these findings will start the industry on the road to a syndicated ratings system.

"At-retail advertising has never had publicly available cost-per-thousand reach or measurement in the language of Madison Avenue," said Dick Blatt, president-CEO, POPAI. "Our goal is to make point of purchase advertising a measured medium with proof of placement, proof of cost effectiveness and proof of sales effectiveness-on par with print and broadcast."

foundations

To uncover the foundation of data needed for such a syndicated system, POPAI worked with 94 products in eight categories. Included in the study were products from companies like PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch and Procter & Gamble Co. A drug store study is planned in the next six months.

Microchips were placed in products at point-of-purchase displays to track the effect the display had on sales. In-store surveys were also conducted to question shoppers about their level of recall.

Key findings emerged from the studies that can relate the most effective way to lift sales and get noticed in the retail space. For instance, in convenience stores, product photos on displays can lift sales by 11.2%, especially in the beverage category, whereas front door signage did not contribute to sales lifts for any of the brands that used it.

For a long time, companies couldn't track its effectiveness, but marketers that used the medium believed in its relevance, said Richard Benjamin, VP-account director with WPP Group's Wunderman, New York.

But a measurement system could help those marketers "find some efficiencies that would make them feel better about putting their money into it," he said, "because now they have solid proof and some sort of tangible evidence."

Fast Facts

Key findings from the POPAI study include:

* Product photos on POP can lift sales by 11.2%, particularly in the beverage category

* Logos get quick recognition from the customer and can lift sales by 8.1%

* Custom beer POP creates sales lifts of up to 28 %

* Certain ads on cooler doors upped soft drink sales as much as 33%.

Source: POPAI and Prime Consulting Group

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