Saturday, October 13, 2007

PRISM tries to quantify the in-store "medium"

We've heard about PRISM on-and-off for quite a while now, but for those of you not familiar with the initiative, the "Pioneering Research for an In-Store Metric," or PRISM aims to quantify shopper exposure to in-store advertising and brand messages so as to better understand shopper behavior. Born of an all-star cast including the ISMI, Nielsen (who spun out a company, Nielsen In-Store, to handle the project), major retailers like Wal-Mart and major CPG companies like P&G, PRISM has been in the works for well over a year now.

At the In-Store Marketing Expo in Chicago a few weeks ago, ISMI's Peter Hoyt shared the first findings from the group's "phase 2" research trials with a packed house. The video of his presentation can be found here. While the findings they discussed were fairly broad, the power of the data collected by PRISM is clearly starting to become better understood. For example (from this summary):

  • "In some food stores, the heaviest traffic flow is not through the carbonated beverage and snack aisles -- which might be the conventional wisdom based on sales rates -- but through the yogurt and eggs section of the store." This isn't exactly earth-shattering, but using this data we might be able to draw certain conclusions about shoppers who exhibit this behavior. For example, they might be more prone to purchase other healthy foods and veggies, and less likely to buy soft drinks, chips and cookies.
  • "There are significant numbers of shoppers who browse aisles but don't buy anything." Again, it's not a stunning revelation until you realize that it's pretty darned hard to track people who don't buy anything. There are no register receipts, no loyalty cards swiped, and no coupons redeemed. Consequently, the ability to isolate browsers, understand their behaviors and optimize in-store media and promotions to target them could have a significant impact on their conversion rates.
  • "Closure rates vary significantly by category, by channel and even by retailers within a channel. Calhoun noted that the salty snack aisle has a closure rate of 66% in supermarkets but 17% in drugstores (where closure rates for food categories are lower in general)." Again, knowing which stores are likely to follow this trend means that marketers can adjust their campaigns to work differently on different kinds of shoppers.
Amazingly, according to Nielsen's CEO David Calhoun, "the average number of marketing stimuli in a grocery store is about 3,500 and larger store formats, such as mass merchandisers, have
over 5,000 stimuli. A typical drugstore has roughly 2,300 marketing stimuli." Clearly it's no longer impossible to simply throw more stuff into the store and hope that shoppers notice and act on it. We're now at a point where optimization is the new name of the game, and PRISM's approach starts to provide us with the data we need to make our messages more relevant, more targeted, and thus theoretically more effective than before.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...
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daria said...

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Bill Gerba said...

Nice adspam there, daria. I'm going to let it slide for now because it's just *barely* relevant enough. Don't do it again on any of my blogs, though.