Questioning the value of point-of-sales panels

Maiden is offering a money-back guarantee on point-of-sale posters, but more data is needed to determine their true value.

Maiden could not have chosen a more timely moment to launch its money-back guarantee – July and August tend to be weaker months in outdoor because of the holiday season. If no sales uplift materialises, advertisers using Maiden’s point-of-sale six sheets will receive a full refund. This is a welcome initiative.

Since the launch of point-of-sale panels five years ago, but more importantly with the recent explosion in the market – enter JC Decaux and More Group – there has been little knowledge or proof of actual panel value.

There are huge price variances between JC Decaux and More Group with their panels at Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and Maiden products at Asda and Safeway, undoubtedly fuelled by the large costs of tender for the top contracts.

By ensuring target audiences are reached effectively and cost efficiently, our job, as with all media planner/buyers, is to deliver the best value for money possible to our clients. While cash-back guarantees are a great comfort factor, they do not solve the riddle of the actual value of a point-of-sale impact.

If all the contractors involved are so sure of the worth of their product, why is it that just Maiden and trolley poster contractor The Media Vehicle are taking the initiative?

And why is it that Maiden is not looking to incorporate this within its standard point of-sale sales policy – instead choosing to restrict it to the outdoor silly season, while The Media Vehicle is confining itself to new advertisers?

Our strategic planning unit Quantum, sought to answer some of the more fundamental questions about point-of-sales panels. Quantum devised a formula that places a POS Impact value on each point-of-sale six-sheet. Our field force graded every single point-of-sale panel in the UK using strict criteria.

This now enables us to analyse panels on an individual basis, by store group, or indeed by contractor packages.

While money-back guarantees are a hugen step forward in the point-of-sale market, and a welcome sales pitch that acts as serious encouragement, our view is that these do not go far enough.

The industry as a whole needs to lobby media owners, and in turn store groups, to provide more robust audience data on a panel-by-panel basis in a similar vein to Postar, the audience research system for the outdoor industry. Only when this is done will advertisers have an industry-wide picture of the real value of point-of-sale panels.

Satisfaction or your money back has some value, and should be encouraged, but how much is the product actually worth? Media owners should never lose sight of that distant goal.

Lara Salem is director of Concord and head of Quantum

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