Arming Your Sales Force With The Right Technology

They have only minutes with a customer or prospect in a face-to-face meeting. So how does your sales force make the most of that time?

The answer could be an iPad app, developed to be a dynamic sales tool that’s part informative, part persuasive, and all interactive.

That was the case with a custom app we created for Given Imaging, a medical device company, to present how its PillCam technology excelled as a tool for monitoring Crohn’s disease.

Targeted for physicians, the app was packed with clinical data, patient case studies, and plenty of “seeing is believing” images—all presented in an engaging way.

What can the sales force do with this app?

  • Navigate through content with just a touch, and customize their presentation as they go, for truly customer-driven engagement.
  • View videos full screen, then seamlessly jump right back into the product story.
  • Link to substantiating clinical studies, literature reviews, and other deeper-dive info.
  • At the end of the meeting, email pdfs of key information to the customer with just a few quick taps.

It’s not only a great tool for the sales force, but also for the physicians. Because this app provides a compelling way to view compelling information that could improve their patients’ lives.

To see this app in action, watch the short video in this case study.

More Than Meets The Eye: Tips For Creating The Right Point-Of-Purchase Display

By now, many marketers are familiar with the statistic that more than 70% of U.S. shoppers make purchase decisions in-store. More specifically, research shows that 39% of U.S. shoppers choose their brand in-store, and 29% of U.S. shoppers make unplanned, impulse purchases. However, 13% of U.S. shoppers report that they often leave a store without a purchase from a planned category. [i]

What does this mean for brands in-store and at-shelf? Capturing consumers’ attention, and ensuring that they can find what they are looking for, is key to capturing their dollars. Effectively using a point-of-purchase (POP) display can help achieve this goal.

Here are four factors to consider when selecting a POP display.

Secondary Placements: Achieving a secondary placement for items inside a store often guarantees a sales lift–and a well-executed POP display can help convince a retailer to give your brand an additional placement outside of its category. When developing your POP display, consider what additional store areas your product would sell well in, and what type of displays are suited for that area. Softlips, a Martino Flynn client, recently achieved placements outside of the traditional cough/cold aisle and inside the cosmetics section by offering retailers an engaging shelf display.

Length x width x height: An often-overlooked factor in POP displays is size. For on-shelf displays, you need to consider the height of the display, so that it easily fits onto your retailers’ shelves. And while that seems straightforward, you also need to consider the width of an on-shelf display. Will it fit inside the real estate given to your existing product facings, or will you need more space? Are you willing to give up a product facing so a bulkier/larger POP display can be put on-shelf?

For freestanding floor displays, consider what open space exists in the current retail environment. Will stores have available floor space for a display, or will this deter them from using it? If you have to use a smaller display, will it still give the impact you need, or will it be lost in the crowded aisle environment?

Small scale, but big impact: In terms of engaging POP materials, bigger isn’t always better. There are many small scale options that can have a big impact on sales. Martino Flynn has worked with a variety of clients to develop eye-catching product hang tags, offering coupons, or rebates. These are larger than traditional Instant Redeemable Coupons (IRCs), so they catch consumers’ attention, but are small enough that they can be applied directly to the product. If a hang tag does not work with a product’s packaging, we frequently recommend using at-shelf coupon pads. With POP options like these, you don’t need to give up any product facings, and they can often be applied at factory– making them easy to execute in-store. Generally, they have a lower cost of production than dimensional displays, and a shorter production period as well, making them affordable–and fast–POP option.

Breaking through the clutter: From retailer-placed signage to competing brand displays, consumers are often overwhelmed inside stores with the number of choices and marketing messages. Make sure that your POP items–displays, shelf cards, and coupons–are designed to break through the clutter that makes up today’s retail environment. Martino Flynn recently worked with leading animal health care brand Absorbine on a breakthrough shelf card for one of its horse grooming products. Unlike standard shelf cards that are flat, Martino Flynn developed a card that included a shelf-sized horse tail, which was made from real horse hair. This “out of the box” shelf card was overwhelmingly well-received at retail stores, capturing the attention of consumers in-store, and helping to drive sales for Absorbine.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s shopper marketing capabilities, contact Rose Feor at

[i] OgilvyAction. “Shopper Behavior Instore.”

Five Traits Of Great Business Leaders

The topic of leadership has been thoroughly dissected by historians, social scientists, authors, and trainers. While very little has been left unsaid, I offer here my accumulated observations over four decades in the business world.

Make no mistake; great business leaders are exceptional people. The best business leaders I have observed over the years get good to excellent marks from me on all of the following traits.

  1. Integrity. Without honesty and high moral principles, you cannot lead a business effectively. Employees’ trust and loyalty must be earned. They can’t be taken for granted.
  2. Vision. People need goals and a roadmap in order to achieve. Your vision has to be articulated and reinforced, or else your employees will feel that they are on a rudderless ship.
  3. Passion. Leaders have to have a contagious enthusiasm for their work. If a leader isn’t passionate about the organization’s mission and vision, how can we expect employees to be committed?
  4. Collaboration. The most successful teams have a motivator for a leader. Great leaders work side by side with their teams. Team players need support and encouragement, not someone breathing down their necks.
  5. Accountability. President Harry S. Truman’s sign on his desk read “The Buck Stops Here.” Leaders who shift blame to others and refuse to admit fault do not foster loyalty.

In the book, Lessons from the Top: The Search for America’s Best Business Leaders, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, made the observation:

“I think it’s very difficult to lead today when people are not really truly participating in the decisions. You won’t be able to attract and retain great people if they don’t feel like they are part of the authorship of the strategy and the authorship of the really critical issues. If you don’t give people the opportunity to really be engaged, they won’t stay.”

Schultz obviously has credibility on the subject. If we were evaluating great military or church leaders, the criteria would be different. Disloyal soldiers get court martialed. Disloyal church members get excommunicated. Unhappy employees find another job.

Great business leaders are not autocrats. They use their powers of persuasion to achieve consensus and support. Fear and intimidation are not in their vocabularies. Once great leaders have everyone on board, they make their expectations clear and then get out of the way.

Have phone, will purchase: Mobile’s impact on in-store purchasing

Nobody leaves home without his or her phone. Well, nearly nobody; in fact, according to, 65% of the global population, or approximately 4.55 billion people, carry smartphones. To give you some perspective, the global smartphone audience surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2012. Today, 7 out of 10 Americans own a smartphone. Smartphone penetration continues to grow every day, with 85% of recent acquirers picking smartphones when purchasing new mobile devices.

According to a recent Nielsen study, 87% of US smartphone/tablet owners use their phones to shop. Check this link out for the full study results:

So, just how does this translate to in-store purchases? And why is it important to retailers?

The role of the smartphone in a consumer’s path to purchase is pretty clear—while most users research items on their phones, many of their purchases are still done in person.

According to the “Mobile Path to Purchase” study done by Nielsen in May 2013, 42% of users relied exclusively on mobile devices in their pre-purchase research, spending on average about 15 hours per week. Of that group, 77% made purchases in stores.

Prior to the advent of smartphones, comparison shopping was often done in person —traveling from store A to store B—or from a laptop or printed store circulars. Now with the numerous mobile apps available, one can virtually comparison shop while on the way to a retail store. Not surprisingly, laptop use is on the decline, while phone and tablet use are on the rise.

Portability means productivity. You can keep moving while you search for the best deal. For example, you can scan your desired item and enter it in a mobile app, which then informs you of where the best deal nearest you is located. Or you may receive an e-blast from one of your favorite stores enticing you with a hot sale— maybe a BOGO (Buy-One-Get-One-Free) or 50% off everything in store. It may just be enticing enough to make you change your after-work plans and head to the store to get that “too good to pass up” deal.

No matter where they shop or how often, shoppers still want that bargain and willingly opt in to newsletters and emails waiting for retailers to deliver the deals.

According to a recent survey that Google conducted with 950 smartphone users, individuals are using their devices for shopping-related activities and tend to be on a mission to make a purchase soon; 55% of consumers want to purchase within an hour, 83% within a day. At the time of the survey, of those who used smartphones for research in the past 30 days, 93% made a purchase in that timeframe as well.

Some tactics that help drive sales:

  • Coupons via e-blasts on mobile devices—you don’t even have to print these— just show the offer code on your phone at the time of purchase and the cashier scans the code for the discount
  • Targeted mobile ads; your purchasing behavior is tracked, allowing ads that match your interests to be sent to you
  • Emails from retailers; after opting in, information regarding sales is sent to you
  • Groupon, Living Social, Deal Chicken, and other similar online marketplaces routinely offer significant discounts on products, services, food, etc.
  • Coupon and coupon code sites; these are specific sites that offer discounts on various brands and items
  • Retailer “flash” sales (limited-time sales that offer consumers the best deals if they act quickly)

Tactics aside, one of the most valuable strategies for a retailer to employ is to make sure that ads and emails are mobile responsive. Consumers want and expect this, yet many retailers ignore using this format.

In short, mobile phone use makes purchasing quicker, more efficient, and easier due to the device’s ability to pinpoint the best current sales and a product’s or service’s availability. There is no question that smartphones have had a positive effect on the in-store/retail industry. It would be wise for every retailer to make sure that all communications, whether it’s an ad, e-blast, sale, new product promotion, etc., are mobile responsive and optimized for the best viewing experience. This is where consumers are and they are not abandoning this technology any time soon.

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The Official Blog of Martino Flynn