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Role of Merchandising in Today's Advertising

Nov 5, 2007
What part does merchandising play in today's advertising? It is undoubtedly assuming an increased and even new importance. This is in large measure due to the self-service trend in more and more retail stores. This trend has reached the point where "take-it-off-the-rack-at-Klein's" type of selling dominates the food and variety stores and is growing in drug stores and hardware stores. Self-service increases the importance of merchandising. Why? Because now the purchaser is influenced more by point-of-sale material . . . special deals and offers . . . position of stock in store and displays. It is the job of merchandising to have all these factors in favor of your brand, and to achieve superiority to competitive brands.

One surefire piece of strategy is to make sure that the point-of-sale material is a close, direct tie-in with the basic theme and main appeal in the product's consumer advertising.

Nowadays, with the growth of shopping centers and the variety of products carried in these supermarkets, the housewife can emerge with a full line of cosmetics from the food store. Certain marketing facts are assuming a new importance. Suburbs are growing in population. As automobiles grow more common, shopping centers are luring the customer away from former sales haunts by providing ease of parking. For example, about twelve years ago, 90 per cent of proprietary articles in the drug field were sold through conventional drug outfits, i.e., retail drug stores, drug wholesalers, etc. Today, 70 per cent of many of these items are now sold through food stores, supermarkets, etc.

With this trend, the factor of merchandising in the sense of getting display for your merchandise in these supermarkets is of paramount importance. No longer is there a clerk whose loyalty to your sales appeal could assert itself to the customer in your behalf. No, the pay-off nowadays is on the rack in the supermarket; there is where appeal in behalf of your products must pay off. The case for advertising prior to the store visit is being put to the acid test.

How about scientific and technical research? Is this growing in importance? Yes, I believe it is in all areas, not only with the advertiser, but as a tool for the advertising agency as well. Scientific and technical research is the open door looking constantly to the future, years or months ahead of you. Through research, we make constant improvements in old products. Here also we have the discovery of invention of new products. Here's where stability and future growth really stem from. The best commercial bets are those companies and/or organizations which are maintaining and expanding their scientific research in both the area of fundamental research and the area of specific research addressed to specific objectives.

How about marketing research? In these dynamic, changing days, research in the marketing area is more important than ever. It can provide much to check the accuracy of your direction, as well as the accuracy of the results. Figures can be misleading, so be sure this matter of marketing research and the interpretation of its findings are entrusted to the minds of professionals and not to the amateurs.

Should one be concerned with trying to save advertising dollars? I interpret your question to mean the withholding of money from advertising. This will soon prove a false economy. Obviously, a person should make every dollar spent in advertising go further, especially he should make it go further than his competitor's dollar. But never, as long as you have a formula that is working, withhold any possible available money that is earmarked for advertising. Remember, advertising is fundamentally a spending operation, not a withholding one.
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