The in-store sales and advertising connection

It’s an underappreciated fact that advertising drives store sales. Many marketers don’t appreciate just how critical it is. Here’s a secret: The “closer” to the store the advertising is, the more likely it is that retailers will see a direct correlation between advertising and sales.

Take the example of a pain medication with an unusual delivery system. The brand wanted to increase its sales in one particular mass drug store chain. The brand targeted its primary customer — adults, but especially women, ages 35 and older. It bought insertions in Sunday newspaper supplements in areas where its most important retailer is located. The brand has literally tracked store sales in the week after each insertion runs for almost a year, and month after month has shown a positive return on investment, comparing ad spend with how much product moved off the shelf. Next, the brand plans to add more markets to support the same retail partner.

While that particular example happens to be a daily paper, magazines, digital and out-of-home advertising are equally powerful tools to drive store sales.

When crafting a strategy to boost sales in a particular store, the first step is to know the target customer. Know who she is, where she shops and what media she consumes all day.

The next step is to focus advertising in the vehicles she consumes that also are located near specific stores where the brand or retailer wants to increase sales.

For example, ads can run near particular stores on billboards, taxi tops and buses that pass by that store. They can even appear in the form of erasable graffiti on nearby walls and sidewalks.

In the digital realm, audiences can be targeted locally by IP address, zip code or in local digital publications relevant to the brand and market.

Magazines are another opportunity. A local publication relevant to the brand or the market will drive sales. A national publication can move merchandise off the shelves if its readers are the target customer. If the publication happens to be sold in the store, even better.

As a retailer or brand plans a buy, it is useful to consider regional variations in the media markets and what is appropriate in each locale. Each region has its own variations and demands its own strategy. For example, geo-digital is a useful tactic in such sprawling areas as Los Angeles or Atlanta. Billboards, on the other hand, are most effective in areas where they are concentrated along one major artery, such as the 101 freeway in San Francisco and just south of it.

Budget is another consideration that will shape tactics and media mix. For example, brands and retailers on a budget might opt for radio over television and buses over billboards — and vice versa for those with more to spend.

Retailers and brands should keep these four principles in mind when planning advertising to boost store sales: the target customer, proximity to the store, regional appropriateness and budget. By narrowing the focus to specific store locations, the world becomes smaller, and retailers and advertisers can make the most of their advertising spend.


 Bonnie Kintzer is CEO of Women’s Marketing Inc., the authority on how women consume media. Women’s Marketing Inc. services more than 300 clients in the beauty, fashion and health space by delivering the best integrated advertising solutions in digital, print and out-of-home. Kintzer has built a distinguished career in the media world with a strong focus on revenue creation and re-engineering. She can be reached at bkintzer@womensmarketing.com.