Point-of-sale marketing has become the new ‘sexy’ channel according to a report in The Australian Online.

Companies specialising in product sampling have experienced an increase in growth as communications groups look to point-of-sale food and wine tastings and product demonstrations due to advertisers shifting their money from mainstream media.

Matt Bailey, chief executive of Photon Group and founder of the Bailey Group that houses a number of diversified field marketing companies, believes there has been a clear trend toward marketing that was able to engage consumers at point of sale.

The trend was particularly apparent in the area of liquor marketing where people were reluctant to invest $15 or $20 on a bottle of wine without tasting it first.

“It comes from the simple point of view that if I can get consumers to try to taste something in-store close to the point of sale, it is very effective. We like to say a mouthful is better than an earful. The wine category is a great example and one which is based on advocacy,” explains Bailey.

According to Bailey, the growth potential of the sector for outsourced companies was shown in the fact that about 60% of companies still ran their own field marketing sales force.

Head of the STW Group’s field marketing and experiential specialist agency Ogilvy Action Mark Rogers, indicates that the US Shoppers Decisions Made In Store (SDMIS) shopper survey found 74% of people make at least one of four purchasing decisions in store, showing the potential impact of field marketing and merchandising.

“29% [of shoppers] buy by impulse and 39% choose the brand in store. It is definitely a growth area marketers are now looking at,” asserts Rogers.

Photon Group chairman Tim Hughes believes field marketing, along with internet and public relations, now accounts for 75% of the company’s earnings before tax.

“The field marketing division grew 23% like for like in the first half of the 2009 financial year… driven by the acceleration of the trend to outsource sales forces and merchandising in tough times,” Hughes explains.