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Point of Purchase (P.O.P) material is an extremely important and effective weapon for all the categories of companies whether in FMCG or in consumer durables or at the industrial or service products end as well as in the arena of pharmaceutical or OTC products.

Whether you market chocolates or soaps or cold drinks or you market refrigerators or home loans or financial services or bags or clothes or for that matter any branded item, P.O.P materials should be used well, it should not be abused or misused.

As per a recent study done by us at Samsika called the Samsika POP Usage study, it is estimated that POP worth approximately Rs. 200 crores goes waste annually. This is a startling discovery and needs to be understood in it entirety so that POP can be used effectively and not wasted. “POP” stands for point of purchase materials like posters, danglers, stickers, dealer boards, dispensers and many other items which enhance the visibility of the brand at the retail level which happens to be the point of purchase.

Let us look at some of the ways ‘POP’ is wasted.
1. Brand Manager designs POP, which is not market friendly.
2. Distributor misuses Posters as writing pads.
3. POP is not passed on to the retailer.
4. Posters put one on top of the other.
5. Shopkeeper not using the material.
6. Not put up in the proper place.
7. Schematic Posters are received after the scheme is over.

I would recommend for an effective ‘POP’ study the following steps should be followed.
1. There should be a set of clearly defined POP objectives.

2. The target audience must be clearly defined.

3. Define a time period for the utility of the POP. The three options could be Short term, Medium term or Long term.
The type of POP used according to their respective time frames are:
- Temporary (lasts from one hour to one day)
- Semi – Permanent (lasts for a few weeks)
- Permanent (lasts for a long time)

4. POP Utilisation Index should be there to monitor the POPs, so that they do not go waste.

5. The POP should be monitored at 4 levels:-
a) Company level/ Brand Manager level :
- A choice has to be done about the type of POP, the size of POP. For example, a mistake could be done about the size of danglers, if long danglers are chosen, they usually tend to hit the customer’s head in a shop. - While making a decision, ego should not come in the way and the brand Manager should personally go to the market to check the POPs.
b) At the Distributor level :
- In most cases if 100 posters were given to the Distributor, 30 were converted into writing pads.
c) At the Sales force level :
- The sales force should personally put up the POPs themselves.
d) At the Retailer level :
-The salesmen should help the retailer to clean up the semi-permanent and permanent POPs and put it up at the appropriate place.

6. The POP strategy for Dealer boards :
a) Have Relevant dealer boards, for the relevant outlets, in the relevant towns.
b) The strategy for Dealer Boards could be either a Bhelpuri strategy or a Single-minded strategy:-
Bhelpuri Strategy – A mix of 3 to 4 brands on the dealer boards. The products are neither noticeable nor do they create an impact.
Single minded Strategy - The single-minded strategy should be followed, where there is one dealer board for one brand. Take up the maximum number of boards of the brand having the top most priority
The cost for both the strategies would be the same, but the impact of the Single-minded strategy would be greater than the Bhelpuri Strategy. In the Bhelpuri Strategy, some brands, which are not doing well, will pull down those brands, which are doing well.
c) If at least 5% outlets with the dealer boards cannot be afforded, then do not put any dealer boards at all. Thus, a Minimum threshold level is required for POP to be effective. For example: if a city has 5000 outlets, have a minimum level of 5% and on a maximum level, 10% of outlets with a dealer board of the top priority brand.
So, there could be a minimum of 250 outlets and a maximum of 500 outlets with the top priority brand’s Dealer board in that city. For the remaining 4500 outlets, the other priority brands could be worked out beyond the minimum threshold limit.

7. There should be at least six waves of posters to create an impact. There could be 10,000 posters in each wave and with the six different waves, there would be a total of 60,000 posters. All details need to be thought of, everytime a sales person goes to the retailer, he could put up a poster of a different wave. A cello-tape does not work on walls, glue is needed for that purpose. Thus, the surface to be stuck on and the material of the poster should be thought of.

8. Permission marketing should be practised. The retailer’s permission should be taken before putting up the poster.

9. Innovative ways for the POPS should be thought of, so that they have a longer life span.

10. There should be Accountability in creating, ordering and using the POPs.
A POP Strategy should not have more than two elements.
For example the Two elements could be:- Danglers and Stickers, but in six waves.

POP is like ammunition, if all of it is fired in the first round, then there is nothing remaining for the remaining rounds of firing. Therefore there should be six rounds, that is, six waves in the POP strategy.Effective utilization of POP enhances brand appeal at the point of purchase and increasessales.
Therefore, use POP effectively, don’t waste it.

Copyright © 2005, All rights reserved with Jagdeep Kapoor – Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
No part of this document may be modified, reproduced, stored, deleted or introduced in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (Electronic, Mechanical, Photocopying, Recording or Otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner of the document.

The author is Jagdeep Kapoor, Brand Guru and Managing Director of the successful Samsika Marketing Consultancy.
Tel: (022) 28477700/7701 (022) 28470214/15
Fax:022 28477699
E-mail : jkapoor@samsika.com