Hey Fat Head! In-Store Marketing Metric Madness

The battle to quantify the impact of in-store media rages on and now some folks are introducing “big head”/“long tail” dynamics to the discussion.  The reasoning goes that certain in-store media, everything from end caps to a shelf talkers are in shoppers’ fields of vision much more often/longer (big head) than others (long tail) and that brands/vendors should pay for exposure accordingly.


Various technologies have been, and will continue to be, developed that claim to measure the “impact” of in-store media . . . the only problem is, measuring visual exposure is not the same as measuring impact.  I can see something over and over . . . say, a political ad for a politician who doesn’t have my vote, and the fact that I’m seeing his ad more often does not change my already-established preference . . . in fact, it might reinforce my choice (timely example, no?)


There’s a real need for context when weighing long tail vs. short tail metrics. A closer look at long tail movie renters (those who routinely rent off-beat/niche movies), for example, revealed that they just have bigger appetites. Far from avoiding blockbusters, it turns out that they had rented all they could from the “big head” and were forced into the long tail through their heavy consumption!   

Back to the store…there is a reason why retailers are talking more about consumer “missions,” “life stages,” and “need states” these days; they’ve figured out that the context that consumers are placing around their shopping trip, the “why” vs. the “what,” makes all the difference. Sigh . . . it also continues to make the in-store marketing ROI equation more complex than comfortable.


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