More than P-O-P

Darn! If I had only known that we could have done all that with a couple of sexy posters!
As the former marketing manager at Bose, I was the client, over 10 years ago, for the P-O-P referred to in Jeffrey Gottheil's article 'Bose P-O-P pops sales,' (Strategy, Aug. 12/02, p. 10). I was surprised by Mr. Gottheil's remark 'using only P-O-P initiatives, the campaign increased Bose Canada's sales by 66%....' Many marketing initiatives contributed to long term gain.

Darn! If I had only known that we could have done all that with a couple of sexy posters!

As the former marketing manager at Bose, I was the client, over 10 years ago, for the P-O-P referred to in Jeffrey Gottheil’s article ‘Bose P-O-P pops sales,’ (Strategy, Aug. 12/02, p. 10). I was surprised by Mr. Gottheil’s remark ‘using only P-O-P initiatives, the campaign increased Bose Canada’s sales by 66%….’ Many marketing initiatives contributed to long term gain.

A successful manufacturer-lead retail promotion, in my experience, is about covering all the bases. The bases? The consumer offer, the retailer return-on-investment, the store merchandising (fixtures), the retail salesperson’s incentive, the national ads, the retail ads, the training, the internal motivational program (salespeople and others), the in-store experience for the consumer, and any other potential roadblocks that might prevent success.

Bose has a proven track record executing against all of these elements, to the extent that it’s been a company blueprint for years before Mr. Gottheil’s involvement with Bose.

In this scenario, P-O-P can create a rallying point, display the promotional theme and call to action. At the time of this promo, the average purchase decision for Bose took nine months. This isn’t a screwdriver or a pair of shoes, it’s a big-ticket item in an industry full of hard-to-decipher specifications. P-O-P was to help encourage an in-store demonstration, or show that this store carries Bose products. Compendium Design was hired to develop the P-O-P and one ad and they met these goals quite nicely.

The real objective of this promotion was to sell a lot of product and that meant executing the tough stuff like retail negotiations, training and store events. Our retailers cared about sell-through and bottom line, whereas P-O-P had to be cool enough that they’d agree to put it up.

When I worked for Bose, we had dramatic sales increases, but that was from old-fashioned hard work. Salespeople did countless retail trainings, weekend store events, and wired Bose displays across vast sales territories. We ran themed internal contests teaming salespeople with admin staff to conduct weekly ‘wacky’ rallies. We ran a retailer loyalty program rewarding sales and product demonstrations.

Bottom line? We worked it! And just like virtually all success stories, there were many people doing the right things at the right time to make it work. Was it the most successful promotion ever? For about three months until we bettered it with our next program.

Alison Fraser

Owner, The Better Idea

Toronto, Ont.