Prior to joining Active in 2003, Anat Gilad worked in production, procurement, and sales at Display Technologies and was made Sales Manager in 1999. Her experience includes brand product launches, retail execution, and managing the merchandising supply chain for consumer packaged goods companies.

How are Active International’s retail marketing programs continuing to evolve?

Retail marketing helps brands generate consumer engagement and action across all retail touch points. We offer our clients everything that is in the merchandising arena, such as POS, displays, fixtures, promotions, gift with purchase, in-store signage, sampling, packaging, and fulfillment.

We also provide experiential marketing and event activations. This ranges from trade show booth and exhibit build outs to showrooms, and has now expanded into the emerging area of experiential marketing with pop-up stores, events, and activations.

How broad is your client portfolio?

We have clients from many categories, including within the consumer electronics space, health and beauty, food and beverage, fashion and apparel, do-it-yourself home improvement, and packaged good clients.

How has the department evolved?

Six years ago, we were solely focused on fixtures and displays. We were able to expand the retail marketing portfolio of products and services to beyond just merchandising. Our clients view us as an extension of their procurement department for all of their in-store expenditures.

What kind of impact have pop-up shops had?

It’s grown beyond a trend, because of the power of social media. Consumers go to an event, take a picture, and post it on their Facebook pages. This makes the process more organic as opposed to the in-your-face traditional advertising. Individuals become brand ambassadors by experiencing the product first-hand in an environment such as a pop-up store or an activation.

Are you surprised by what you’ve been able to create?

No, because it’s been a deliberate and strategic process to cultivate relationships with best-in-class partners. Part of what I do is to go out into the marketplace and find unique vendors/agencies and create leveraged positions with them so that our clients can utilize their trade credits to offset a portion of the cost.

Outside of the financial model, it’s also about the talent and the expertise.

We have a partner who did a luncheon event for a cosmetics brand and he did the centerpieces of the tables with floral arrangements made out of lipstick and lip glosses.

It’s about having best-in-class suppliers on the merchandising side, which means they are approved by the customer’s customer or the retailer.

When I pitch to consumer electronics companies, and I know they’re going to implement a program in Walmart, I have to have a supplier that is Walmart approved.

We look for what our client is going to need and what their client or retailer is going to demand. This is how we vet our suppliers.

Is it about those trading partnerships at day’s end?

It’s about delivering value to our clients through those trading partnerships and also about creating new opportunities through what our clients need. Many times, new areas are developed because clients asked us for help.

A clothing manufacturer came to us years ago. They asked us to work with one of their vendors to build an exhibit on a trade basis. We were not in the trade show space and didn’t have an exhibit company, but because the client made this request, I was able to negotiate a trade with the company, which then became part of our vendor matrix and had an opportunity to build exhibits for Active’s other high-profile clients. They got new incremental business from partnering with Active.