Sales promotions are ubiquitous, all-inclusive and ever present. Your customers cannot escape them. Nor would they want to. Who can resist happy hour snacks, a two-for-one offer or a free gift? Such offers excite consumers. Sales promotions give them something for nothing, like a better price, a fun experience or a handsome premium. They enable consumers to win.
Sales promotions help companies attain their marketing and sales goals. Consumers simply have too many choices today. Sales promotions give them an extra sensible, economical reason for purchasing a product. Sales promotions fit perfectly in today’s mix of marketing basics, which could be called the “six Cs”: “cost, convenience, concept, communication, customer relationship and consistency.” These factors are why consumers buy. Because they add value, they can shift a purchase decision in your favor. Promotions also help you keep your all-important “brand promise.” Promotions create sales.
Creativity is not one of the “six Cs,” but it does matter. “In sales promotion, creativity does not mean free expression, exciting pictures, clever copy or off-the-wall concepts…It means generating the most effective concept possible.”
Sales promotions can be strategic as well as tactical. They enhance companies’ capabilities, and establish and build lasting relationships with consumers. They also enable companies to stay ahead of their competitors. Sales promotions take two forms: value promotions, which provide consumers with an added benefit, such as a pretty container for their coffee, and price promotions, which reduce product costs. Value promotions increase a brand’s value over the long-term. Price promotions do not. Nevertheless, companies use them widely.
Sales promotions do a lot for the companies that sponsor them. They can build sales volume, including repeat purchases. They drive interest and awareness, and can get consumers to try new products. They enhance brand loyalty and usage. They excite intermediaries, such as wholesalers and distributors. They enable companies to promote to specific consumer audiences. They also maintain brand value despite service problems and can placate customer complaints. Finally, value promotions take the focus off price.
Before your start your sales promotion, answer these first
Answer these important questions as you plan a sales promotion to boost your product:
- How do you currently position your brand?
- What is your campaign objective?
- What are your measurable goals?
- Which consumers will you target and how do you want to influence their behavior?
- How will such factors as timing, budget and logistics affect your promotion?
- Who do you want to do what?
Clear goals are paramount. Carefully consider how customers will participate: Free mail-in? Competition? In-store coupon? Cash refund? Great sales promotions are always original, but this does not necessarily pertain to their advertising copy, graphics or visual images. Concepts matter more.
What are the Steps to your Sales Program
Implementing a sales promotion program takes three basic steps:
- With a clear goal in mind, list the promotional concepts you’re considering and what each one involves. The ideas must be clever and must fit your marketing objectives.
- Flesh out your concepts, and select one, paying close attention to budget, timing, logistics, legality and so on. Remember that there are often “a lot of detailed rules to follow,” including legal requirements.
- Complete your advertising and promotional materials, nail down the details of the offer, develop a timeline, and then launch!
And if you are looking for some Sales & Marketing Promotions ideas…..
In 2005, drinks brand Snapple tried to erect the world’s largest ice pop in Times Square, New York, but it partially melted on a hot day sending waves of sticky pulp onto the streets.
Streets were closed off and firefighters called in to hose it into the gutters.
In the 1990s Hoover thought it would be a good idea to get rid of surplus stock by promising free airline tickets to Europe and the US in return for £100 spend on appliances.
So many UK customers demanded free tickets that Hoover had to pull the plug on the offer.
Legal cases lasted 6 years and cost the company almost £50m.
And finally, file another one under the “whoops” category. A recent Carl’s Jr. online promotion for a free $2.75 “Famous Star” hamburger coupon went a little too viral. 276 winning contestants were texted a passcode and a 48-hour-only URL where they could download their coupon. And as the saying goes, they told two friends…who each told two friends…and so on…and so on. A day later, hundreds of websites were posting the URL and passcode, and the company had to shut down the promotion.