Point-of-purchase displays can give dealers presence in retail outlets. Attractive design, special o

Now did you really need that bag of fattening potato chips, that cheap multipurpose screwdriver or that trashy tabloid? Probably not, but your impulses triumphed over your better judgment and you succumbed to point-of-purchase (POP) marketing.

Don’t take it too hard. After all, the same tactics that work so well on checkout lines at the supermarket, home-improvement warehouse and convenience store can also be used to your advantage as an alarm dealer. And, in this scenario, impulsiveness is a good thing because you are helping people protect their homes and families.

Typically constructed of cardboard and/or plastic, an eye-catching POP display placed near the cash register of a retail outlet is sure to draw attention to your business. And, depending upon the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, it will also incite action in the form of prospects filling out information cards or making follow-up phone calls to your office.

Surprisingly, the majority of security dealers are missing out on the benefits of POP displays, sometimes referred to as point-of-sale (POS) displays. According to Security Sales’ 1999 Sales and Marketing Survey, dealers generated just 3 percent of their sales leads via POP displays. However, the study also found that POP displays generated the greatest return on investment (a 30-to-1 ratio) of any marketing technique.

Becoming involved with POP marketing requires the consideration of several key issues. Some of the questions you must answer are: Will POP displays work in my market? What type should I use? What should they look like? How will they be developed, designed, manufactured and distributed? How much will they cost? Where should they be placed?

Test Your Market for POP Display Viability

Whether you decide to go with POP displays or decide against using them, the first step is identifying your market. This type of marketing is best suited for residential customers residing in regions covered by your company.

Another point to remember is that within your target market there may exist specific segments that you may want to address independently of the others.

Tabletop Design Has Proven Track Record

The two main types of POP displays are the standalone design or the tabletop design. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Mary Lynn Moriarity, director of marketing for Pittsburgh’s Guardian Protection Services Inc. – winner of Security Sales’ 1999 Sales and Marketing Award (SAMMY) for Best Overall Marketing Program (Large-Sized Dealer) – says the company has tried several different models, ranging from simple countertop displays to freestanding kiosks staffed with sales representatives.

She says the smaller displays are more economical and easily adaptable to many types of establishments. However, she adds that they are difficult to secure and, therefore, necessitate frequent servicing. On the other hand, according to Moriarity, the larger displays are undeniable attention-getters and can be built with security features to protect leads. However, she says that they are more costly and difficult to place.

Draw Prospects In, Spur Them to Take Action

Once you have selected the style that is right for you, aesthetics comes into play as the POP display’s appearance must be determined. If the project’s development and design is to be done in-house, research what attracts prospects in your market. If the process is being farmed out, ensure a unified vision by promoting clear communication. Companies that design POPs can often manufacture them for you as well.

Getting attention is only half the battle, however. A display’s appearance may lure a prospect, but it’s the content that reels them in. The display must induce people to act.

You must also decide how your POP displays will be distributed. Many dealers have found having their sales representatives personally deliver the displays helps keep the company connected to the retail community.

POPs Prove Relatively Inexpensive, Profitable

Regardless of how appealing a particular marketing tact be, the overriding question is how much is it going to cost and will the return make it worthwhile? There are four factors to consider: 1) direct costs (for producing the displays); 2) indirect costs (for following up); 3) number of leads; and 4) number of sales.

Deploy Displays in Highly Trafficked Spots

Apart from the design, what’s the most decisive component contributing to the success of a POP campaign? Location, location, location. Your display must be seen to create a response. That means finding a suitable retail outlet and placing the display in its most highly trafficked area.

Partnering is a key strategy for getting your displays into desirable locations. Striking a mutually beneficial relationship with a major retail chain can be a coup.

Displays Hold Their Own vs. Alternatives

In today’s mass-media world, dealers are faced with a multitude of marketing avenues. Hence, wisely allocating your marketing dollars is a greater challenge than ever before. The bottom line is that POP displays are an alternative that warrant a serious look, but should not be the focal point of your overall marketing scheme.

Even as electronic media explodes at the dawn of the new millennium, POP displays appear destined to survive and thrive as viable sales tools.

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