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Marketing Tango

The Rhythm of Integrated Marketing

Creative Display Lessons SMBs Can Learn from the Retail’s Big Boys


Jun 17, 2020

SignsYou may not have the billion-dollar marketing budget that Target has, but that shouldn’t stop integrated marketers from cribbing some of the big box store’s best ideas for displays and signage.

The Teacher: Abercrombie + Fitch

One word for you: ABS-vertising.  Those shirtless models who graced the stores’ entrances in the late 2000s were a potent extension of A + F’s more traditional signage: their presence underscored the brand, helped to steer foot traffic to the store, and conveyed exactly what the retailer had on offer.

The lesson: How can you bring your signage to life (other than using shirtless models)? Can you use actual product instead of pictures? Flowers and plants can also add a touch of three-dimensional life that draws consumers in.

The Teacher: Ikea

Ikea’s legendary wayfinding signage is a thing of strategic beauty. It goes so far beyond a left or right arrow and instead creates an opportunity for branding, engagement and, most importantly, more sales. The lesson: Even small stores can benefit from this spirited approach to wayfinding. Elevating these five types of signage makes your store more visually appealing while strengthening your overall brand.


The Teacher: TJ Maxx (or Best Buy, Target or Sephora)

We’re talking about all of the impulse buys lined up on either side as you snake your way through a checkout line. This POP marketing does much more than simply boost sales of random products: it offers an opportunity for engagement. It lessens the likelihood that a customer will walk out of the store empty-handed. In a way, it is a chance to tailor the customer journey so, over time, you’ll have more loyal customers who spend more money with you.

The lesson: Use displays that make merchandise feel personalized and relevant. Keep them organized, current, and clean. Get creative about enhancing the actual, physical customer journey.

The Teacher: Target

In 2016, Target completely made over their signage and displays. One of the biggest, but most subtle, changes was how they approached lighting. Just a few simple tweaks, like ditching fluorescent bulbs for softer LED lighting, was all it took to make their POPs pop even more.

The lesson: You don’t even have to use new lighting to make your signage and displays stand out. Look at how color can make your existing displays pop. Make sure important signs and POPs are positioned in an area with less visual clutter to compete with.

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