CHICAGO -- Brand marketers can more efficiently target promotions and merchandising efforts when armed with a combination of store-level sales data and geo-demographic information. Stuart Schwartz, director of sales force development at Information Resources here, said with store-level sales data, vendors and their customers can identify the specific units that are driving sales of their products or categories, and which units are the poor performers. "Instead of the buyer selecting arbitrary quantities to send to A-, B- and C-level stores, if we know a certain group of stores are driving the business, he can send those units 20 cases and maybe not send any cases to the bottom 25 stores," he said. Schwartz spoke at a conference here titled, "Increase Your Profits on the Drug Store Shelf," hosted by the Marketing Institute, a division of the Institute for International Research, New York. He said that data is now available in the context of RMA, or Retailer Marketing Area, which is the retailer's own definition of his market. Having the ability to define a specific account's marketing area eliminates all sample issues, he added. Historical information regarding the stores can be used to determine correct order quantities, identify sales-driver stores or underdeveloped units. This allows for more efficient deployment of the sales force, he said. The advent of geo-demographic census data will tell vendors and retailers the truth behind market share figures, according to Schwartz. Census data will reveal the differences in dollar share performance of a particular brand among individual stores in a chain, but won't tell why the worst stores are doing poorly or the best are doing so well. That is where geo-demographic data regarding ethnic make-up, median household income, blue collar vs. white collar employment and home values can prove helpful, he explained. For example, a beer brand had a higher sales rate index in 41 stores of a chain. It was found that nearly one-third of the customer base for those stores was Hispanic. This revealed an opportunity for micromarketing to the Hispanic population, he said. A geo-demographic model is being used to take share data and predict future share. With the integration of consumer data, stores can be identified on the basis of the sales opportunity they represent, he said. "This is a new way of looking at the business. For the most part, our clients are leaning toward product driver stores, focusing on the top one or two quartiles of the chain," Schwartz said. Clusters of stores with common profiles can be grouped. Strategy and tactics can be managed by cluster, he added. "There can be a huge variance of dollar share [for brands] within a chain. The total chain market share is really not the truth behind the brand marketer's market share. You need to know census data or store-level data to tell you what is happening at store level," Schwartz said.