As the year winds down, marketers and advertising agencies are probably thinking about the future, specifically, what new strategies they should focus on in 2018 to keep ahead of the competition.
Thinking up the next viral marketing campaign can be a daunting task with so many players in the market. It goes without saying that in today’s crowded market and ad space, brands must aim to be creative in their approach to stand out amongst the clutter. But this article is not about how to make creative ads (although for that, we do recommend reading Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger). This article focuses on where one should distribute a creative ad.
Now what? Well, you know what they say in advertising “Content is King, but distribution is Queen (and she wears the pants in that relationship).” Now there are hundreds of channels one can use for distribution and going through the pros and cons of each one might take more than a few pages. So to simplify, let’s focus on two broad fields: In-store Marketing vs Out-of-Store Marketing. First things first, some definitions:
In-store marketing, in a nutshell, is all forms of marketing and advertising done inside the store. Images of posters, aisle standees, and floor stickers are probably popping up in your mind right now but those are just the tip of the iceberg. In-store marketing also encompasses the store atmosphere, ambiance, and customer experience (think in-store music, scent/aroma marketing, and visual displays).
Out-of-store marketing on the other hand is, you guessed it, all marketing done outside the physical walls of the store. You have your billboards, TV Commercials, and Social Media to name a few.
So which one is better? Well, you’re not going to believe this but *drum roll*…
It depends. That’s right. As frustrating and inconclusive as that may sound it is true. A study done on the influence of in-store and out-of-store advertising on consumer attitude found out that both are reliable distribution channels, provided that they are done in a creative manner.
You should identify which part of the consumer path to purchase you’d like to focus on as your marketing strategies (both in-store and out-of-store) will greatly depend on this. In fact, the study reveals that out-of-store advertising is most effective in influencing attitudes of consumers towards the brand while in-store advertising influences attitudes of consumers towards purchase intention. What that means is out-of store-advertising is best reserved for purposes of creating brand awareness and recall. The most creative and effective out-of-store advertisements are those that grab consumers’ interest through engaging and visual story telling.
In-store marketing on the other hand is used when trying to close the sale. It has been widely claimed that the customer makes most of his purchase decisions when he is inside the store (check out this cool infographic we made on the subject). Since this is the case, marketers should focus on creating a shopping environment that sends out buying cues to customers while they are inside the stores. As mentioned earlier, store collaterals such as posters and standees are popular tools for this purpose. However, much research is also being done on Sensory Marketing, which deals with the customer experience inside the store and how marketers can use this to influence buying decisions.
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