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The PRISM effect: Measuring in-store marketing impact

BY DSN STAFF

In the past, brand marketing was premised upon a single premise that by the time the consumer entered the store and walked up to the aisle, she already knew exactly what brand she wanted to buy. Today, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Increasingly, buying decisions are being made at the shelf. This sea change has elevated the importance of in-store marketing and has given retailers greater control in driving manufacturer promotional dollars. The retailer holds more cards than ever before.

“We would, through jingles and special messaging, influence [the consumer] so that before we got to the store those [buying] decisions were made. But that’s hard to do now,” Peter Hoyt, executive director and founder of the In-Store Marketing Institute, told attendees of Drug Store News’ 9th Annual Industry Issues Summit held in New York in December.

Added Hoyt, “We [the shopper] decide what messages we’re going to receive. We have TiVO, we have satellite radio, we have spam blocking, we have caller ID, we are deciding which messages will get to us. We’re in control far more than ever before. And retailers have a very clear identity of their brand and are beginning, in ever greater numbers and with much more purpose, to market the identity of their brand to the marketplace.”

However, some industry sources believe there is a need for tighter relationships between manufacturers and retailers—both of whom are striving to serve the same consumer, build customer loyalty and bolster sales and profitability. Too much of the emphasis, they say, has been placed on getting on shelf and not enough on understanding what it takes to move off shelf, at, what Procter & Gamble chairman and chief executive officer A.G. Lafley calls, that “first moment of truth,” in which consumers decide which brand to reach for.

“Energy, resources and time that could be devoted to creating a delightful first-moment-of-truth shopping experience often are spent in unproductive discussions over shelf-space, pricing, discounts and terms,” Hoyt said.

Enter PRISM.

The PRISM initiative (read: Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric) is designed to establish a global metric for evaluating the in-store environment as a marketing medium. It allows in-store traffic to be measured by product category, such as in the cereal aisle of a food retailer or in the hair care aisle of a drug store.

According to the In-Store Marketing Institute, PRISM could prove to be a watershed event for the marketing industry, because it would allow the store to be compared alongside television, radio and other forms of mass media for its ability to deliver consumer reach. In effect, it could do for the store what the measurement of gross ratings points did for television, he explained.

While in-store marketing has long been an element of the consumer marketing mix, its potential value as a brand-building vehicle has never been objectively assessed, largely because there hasn’t been a way to accurately measure the total reach of a campaign conducted at retail, Hoyt noted. By establishing a common metric that can be understood by both brand marketers and retailers, this model can eliminate that obstacle.

The project, unveiled in September 2006, remains a work in progress as the PRISM Consortium, a group made up of consumer product manufacturers and retailers, continues to wade through the data.

“We think that knowledge about the number of impressions and the reach…and the closure rates, will help us evaluate in-store marketing both in terms of the lift, the immediate gratification and the long-term equity building,” Hoyt said. “Reaching and engaging shoppers in-store, we believe, will become a mutual goal in the business plans of marketers and retailers. That’s really what we’re trying to accomplish.”

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Sturken to celebrate his fifth year at Spartan by ringing NASDAQ bell

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spartan Stores’ chairman and chief executive officer Craig Sturken is slated to ring the NASDAQ opening bell on March 3 in celebration of his fifth anniversary leading Spartan, the company announced Thursday.

 “It is an honor to ring the opening NASDAQ bell in celebration of our fifth successful year since transforming into a consumer-centric organization and refocusing our business on our core distribution and retail operations,” Sturken stated. “We have been in the grocery business for more than 90 years and this is our eighth year as a public company, which is marked by our ability to develop and execute successful business strategies in a highly competitive market.”

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Unilever to reorganize company structure

BY Antoinette Alexander

LONDON Unilever, whose brands include Axe, Sunsilk and Dove, has announced that it is restructuring the company and combining its home and personal care segment and food segment into a single category structure.

Ralph Kugler, president of home and personal care, will step down in May at the Annual General Meetings after 29 years of service. The roles of president of home and personal care and president of foods will be merged under the leadership of Vindi Banga, currently president of foods.

To reflect the company’s focus on growth in developing markets, Central and Eastern Europe will be managed within an enlarged region comprised of Asia, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. Western Europe will become a standalone region.

In other moves, Kees van der Graaf will retire in May from the Unilever board and from his role as president of Europe after a 32-year career with Unilever.

Harish Manwani, currently president of Asia/Africa, will lead the new expanded region. Doug Baillie will serve as president of Western Europe, having previously served as chief executive officer of Hindustan Unilever.

“These measures build naturally on the changes of recent years and give us an organizational structure even better placed to advance our growth agenda. At the same time, I want to express my deep appreciation to Kees and Ralph for the significant contribution they have made over long and distinguished years,” stated Patrick Cescau, group chief executive.

In addition, James Lawrence, currently chief financial officer, will be proposed in May for election as an executive director of Unilever. This change will mean that the Unilever board will be comprised of two executive directors and 11 non-executives.

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