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Leveraging POP

Making Point-of-Purchase Work to the Fullest

by Thomas Franklin

Part 4 of a 4-part exclusive online series

Ask marketers and brand builders why they use point-of-purchase displays and you get a very simple answer—it works.

POP is a proven sales driver, confronting the customer at a crucial moment when they reach for their wallet or purse. No other marketing can touch a consumer at such a vital moment, when they’re deliberating and poised to finish the sale.

"There are a lot of studies that show that most purchase decisions are made at the point of sale," says Karen Koslow, managing partner and co-founder of Think 360, Inc. Koslow, who has worked in marketing for over 20 years for such brands as Kellogg’s, Nabisco, and M&M/Mars, believes POP remains relevant in a world of increasing message clutter.

"People don’t remember things and in many cases your ad at the point of sale will be our only opportunity to reach them," Koslow states.

Not only that, but retailers expect that the products they stock will be accompanied with aggressive efforts to spur sales, says Mary Pugh, president, The SoNo Group, Inc. "Retailers want a complete promotional plan when they pick up a product and you have to be ready to show them what you can do to promote your product," she continues. Promotional materials—tear sheets, floor graphics, menu cards, etc.—are sprinkled liberally throughout a store and not simply alongside the product being merchandized.

In her 25 years of experience promoting brands like Polo/Ralph Lauren and Estée Lauder, Pugh developed an understanding of how to leverage POP for maximum effect. "POP won’t help a company or product land distribution but once they’re in a store, it’s essential, especially for companies with limited ad budgets," Pugh says.

Like all forms of marketing, POP is evolving.

"We’re seeing greater regionalization because manufacturers are clamoring for creative ways to get the customer’s attention," Pugh adds. Retailers are also demanding greater specificity in the marketing materials they use in-store. For instance, a national campaign might swap out local celebrities in a die cut display and change the verbiage to reflect special local events.

Despite the growing variety, a brand’s essence and the campaign’s messaging shouldn’t change, Koslow says. "You need to speak with one voice," despite the regionalization, she adds. Translating brand consistency down to the retail level requires, in part, that POP materials stay faithful to corporate logos and colors.

POP still plays a very prominent role in marketing campaigns despite the rise of e-commerce and online advertising, according to Koslow and Pugh.

"The Internet is just another medium to get your message across," and POP will continue to be relevant, Koslow adds.

What is intriguing marketers, however, is digital signage, particularly wireless signage with interactive content that can be updated remotely. While still expensive and years away, interactivity is increasingly on marketers minds, Pugh says.

"There’s still a role for print here, because you have to house that wireless display in something," Pugh concludes.

Look for a full feature article on POP Signage in the January 2007 issue of Digital Output.

Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Make it POP
Click here to read Part 2 of this exclusive online series, Still POPular
Click here to read Part 3 of this exclusive online series, POP Shops

Jan2007, Digital Output

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