Whereas marketing was once a largely creative discipline, with data used primarily as support for the viability of concepts, today's marketing leaders are increasingly turning to analytics to take the lead.

The lines between CMOs and CIOs are getting blurry as organizations are waking up to the huge potential for using data to optimize marketing strategies and advertising creative. One rising trend, although not necessarily a new concept, is the use of behavioral analytics to optimize messaging, with point-of-sale video infotainment providing a goldmine of metrics to the savvy marketer.

Indeed, working smarter with data now yields major dividends to marketers who realize that ignoring the wealth of insights available via even offline marketing channels means wasting money and opportunities for growth. As marketing data becomes more diverse and complex, success hinges on marketers' ability to derive actionable insights from the data at hand.

This immediate feedback on consumer behavior can be invaluable in an age of ad blindness, ad blockers and mobile advertising disarray. Successful marketers today understand how behavioral economics affect their customers, and they play into these theories to optimize the buying experience and increase profits. This includes data collection and analytics, plus a healthy dose of heuristics and behavioral modeling. Such factors can go a long way towards marketing campaign optimization.

Today's media buyers are "primarily looking at ways to engage the reader more with the brand," Sandy Rubinstein, CEO of DXAgency, recently told USA Today. "Yesterday's tricks don't work tomorrow. We need to keep changing, and digital offers such a unique vantage point in that it's so nimble. We can try something today and see in real time if it works."

Move over, impressions--attention is the new hot metric

The key concept behind gathering and analyzing data at point-of-sale has to do with the rise of customer attention as a more useful KPI than simple impressions. This idea has permeated into both digital and offline marketing efforts, as many publications will attest to.

More online publications--including Forbes and the Financial Times--have begun to rethink how they package and bill for advertising. They've begun moving away from the traditional model of billing by CPMs, which marketer Tinus Leroux asserts is "completely and utterly broken and sits at the foundation of possibly one of the biggest con jobs in the history of modern economics."

Instead of the CPM model's "impressions served," which Leroux reveals to include ads that aren't even seen by humans, marketers now place more weight on "audience attention," which measures how long people actively view content.

A recent survey conducted by a supermarket video ad platform called Impax Media and research consultancy Millward Brown found that 84 percent of consumers used content on digital displays to help the time pass more quickly while they wait in line for the cash registers. "A captive audience standing on a checkout line is much more likely to view a screen within their line of sight than when they are walking around the store," Impax CEO Dominick Porco recently told Business.com.

In fact, the company is busy proving that point-of-sale can yield a wealth of customer insights beyond just determining what customers buy. Impax's screens don't merely serve up advertisers' promotional content--they also gather performance metrics that allow marketers to correlate audience attention with ad creative, store location and the timing of the ad impressions.

Retailers and advertisers can use the platform to "analyze foot traffic, determine spending habits and tailor customer interactions with personalized rewards, incentives and offers," as the company's website says.

"The big unknown in the next two to three years will be the adaptability of technology and the instantaneous ability to reach the consumer through technology," explains Joe Schurtz from Perception Research Services, "and how that's going to alter the landscape, not just of the retail environment but also of the marketers and how shoppers shop."

Under the influence of consumers and marketers alike

The relationship between data and marketing at the point of sale is so new, and so subject to change, that both retailers and their target markets are still grappling with its impact. The leadership team at Impax Media, however, is confident that the game-changing transparency afforded by their solution is key to the future of advertising. The company is currently aggressively investing in growth, aiming to become the largest network of its kind within five years.

With the richness of data and insights that businesses can glean from media like point-of-sale advertising, there is still a huge opportunity for brands, marketers and other stakeholders to leverage business intelligence for their own needs.

Published on: Jun 15, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.