Sales promotion happens at the tail-end of the overall marketing plan. Creating an affective sales promotion campaign requires that you begin with a marketing plan to establish your product or brand’s market segments, competitive set and industry trends. Using this information as a guide, the Four P’s of the marketing mix, which include product, pricing, place (sales channel) and promotion, are used to drive your marketing strategy. Drilling down to the purchase decision process, sales promotion generally supports the other promotional elements to create purchase action. Sales promotion can be used as a free-standing offer or in conjunction with other promotional programs. The sales promotional element you choose should always relate back to the overall marketing plan, have its own return on investment analysis and achieve a specific marketing objective.
Walking This Dog Requires Pushing and Pulling
Depending on your marketing objective, relative to the Four P’s, there are different sales promotion techniques used for consumer and for distributors of your product. Consumer sales promotions include coupons, sampling, rebate offers, contests, sweepstakes, Logo’d promotional items, continuity and loyalty programs. These tactics are referred to as pull strategies as they pull consumers toward your product and encourage them to search for, purchase and use your product. Trade or distribution channel sales promotion techniques are generally referred to as push strategies because they depend on the distributor to push the product out to the consumer. Point of sale displays, sales contest, dealer incentives and trade show displays are examples of popular trade or sales channel strategies. If you distribute through a sales channel, often times a push-pull strategy is used to get the consumer looking for your product and the distributor becomes your partner to market your product at the point of purchase.
Knock Them Over, Rover
Have you ever almost knocked over one of those obtrusive supermarket end-aisle displays? Well those displays have been known to significantly increase purchases, without even offering a special price deal! That’s sales promotion at work, actively influencing buying behavior. While the other elements of the promotional mix are intended to communicate the value of your product and build a relationship with the brand, sales promotion techniques activate the area of our brain that makes us impulsive and competitive. Verbs like FREE, WIN, and SAVE, typically used in sales promotion headlines, attract immediate attention and create the emotional response needed to motivate your target consumers to purchase action. People consider purchasing your product for the anticipated value it will deliver. Sales promotion provides the additional value-added incentive or reward that provides the impulse to try something new and form new buying habits.