There could be no more fortuitous time to launch Marketing At Retail magazine. The strong market forces that have rocked the mass media, personal telecommunications, and production-through-distribution consumer goods models are still playing out, but this is clear: there is a renewed sense of urgency to at-retail campaigns. This is logical. At-retail is where the most sales are made, yet the impressions formed and the choices made in the retail space are still the least understood part of the marketing equation.
It is my goal to position Marketing At Retail magazine as a conduit for creative, seasoned professionals to bring forward their expertise in all things retail. I welcome and I am committed to giving a voice in these pages to professionals from all camps— to all the Associations working hard to promote and grow the industry; to producers of traditional and new technology platforms for marketing at-retail; to branding professionals; to retailers; to independent market researchers.
We are happy to have POPAI as an Association partner, but this publication will be an independent trade journal, a voice of and for the industry, as we all seek to grow an industry that in so many ways is still maturing.
As Bryan Thompson of RetailOne points out in his article in this issue on measurement issues, retail is as old as commerce itself but design for the purpose of increasing brand awareness within the retail environment was not discovered and pursued by most retailers until the late 1940's. And how quickly we've witnessed several earth-shaking cycles of change: the exponential proliferation of television channels and printed media; the internet revolution; consolidation in the retail world as mega-retailers leveraged economy of scale on unprecedented levels; the rise of small specialty retailers.
Add to the mix, new tools that enable at-retail electronic content messaging or electronic tracking of consumer behavior. And more accurate measurement of the effectiveness of at-retail campaigns. It is fortuitous that as we went to press, POPAI (the indus-try's non-profit association) and ISMI (a for-proift institute), reported separate at-retail measurement studies underway. We encourage both these initiatives and will report on and support their progress in the coming months (as well as in this issue).
To welcome readers to Marketing At Retail magazine is to stand at confluence of these broad currents that are reshaping consumer commerce, and say: as much as shifting trade winds seem to be changing retail, shopper engagement is and will remain key to this industry. And shopper engagement will remain part art, part science. Part measurement, and part insight based on years of experience. Tools fashioned from new technology, and tools proven through decades of experience.
As you strive to engage the consumer in the retail environment, we will strive to engage your professional drive to explore, explain, illustrate, and promote the most exciting part of marketing today.