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The objective of sales promotion is to change behavior. Stimulating consumer behavior by getting people to kick their brand habits is not easy. It often takes a new stimulus to get consumers to notice the new and improved value of your product, or the stimulating value-added offer you are featuring. Both new to market and mature brands may need to use sales promotion to accomplish very different objectives. Whether you need to get noticed, get tried, get stockpiled or all of the above, here are some ways to achieve these crucial objectives.
Create Immediate Awareness to Change Behavior
Getting your ad noticed by your potential customer, despite the hundreds of media messages they are exposed to each day, is more than half the battle. The words Win and Free, commonly used in promotion headlines stimulate the brain and cause people to take notice.
Using a sweepstakes, contest, a free offer or a high-value cash reduction incentive captures attention and accomplishes the objective of getting the ad noticed. We rarely see marketers announce who won a sweepstakes prize, because, in the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the objective of breaking through the clutter of messages to get the ad read. A co-op promotion offering a free gift card from the retailer distributing your product, or free a product related to your product’s use, is also a way to get a cash reduction incentive without diluting your brand’s value.
Stimulating Trial to Create Brand Habits
I was once heading to a ski lift when I was presented with a sample of Bear Naked Granola.
I never heard about the product before, tried it, liked it and somehow associated it with skiing and the outdoors. The experience kick-stated my new habit of purchasing the product. Launching a new product to the marketplace or penetrating a new market segment, with a product that is not at all familiar to potential customers, is challenging. The best, yet most expensive, way to get a new to market or market segment product into consumer hands is sampling; giving free samples to targeted consumers. In-store demonstrations, direct mail samples and distribution at events attended by the target consumers are great delivery mechanisms. Other ways of getting your product into the hands of your target consumers are: on pack samples featured with a related product, offering to send a product with a return guarantee if the consumer is not satisfied and offering a high-value or free trial coupon in an advertising, direct mail or email campaign. The more direct the approach to getting the product sample into the target customers hands will yield the highest level of trial and conversion.
Increase Purchase Action– Stimulate Consumer Behavior
A sunscreen product may offer an island vacation sweepstakes early on in the season to have the consumer start imagining the summer days ahead. Kicking-off the seasonal ad campaign with a value-added offer stimulates a positive brand association and gets consumers into the buying mode. Often seasonal products hope to maximize profits early on in the purchase cycle and choose to feature a technique such as a sweepstakes or contest to extend or reinforce the brand’s image, without reducing the price point. Products and services that are associated with seasonal purchases have a short purchase window. If the objective is to get your customers to stock up to keep them from buying a competitor’s product, a price incentive, rewarding multiple purchases, works well. Depending on the brand’s marketing strategy and the price value relationship of your product at a given time of year, a multi-purchase offer in the form of a coupon, rebate or continuity program may motivate consumers to stock-up. Point of purchase displays are also great at getting your seasonal product noticed.
It is estimated that an end aisle display can increase purchases up to 30%, without even reducing the products price point. If your product is not seasonal, taking note of seasonal cycles (think of spring cleaning for a household product), current events or media trends to create an event around your product as a reason to get people to stock-up. Capturing attention by filling a perceived immediate need and providing a value-added incentive, will stimulate a response when relevant to your target customer.
Mission Control – Your Marketing Strategy
Sales promotion techniques can extend the brand’s image, influence brand switching, increase market share and many other marketing objectives. People are creatures of habit and are unconsciously reluctant to try new things. The value proposition of your product is important for people to understand how it will meet a specific need. The value-added sales promotion technique should motivate them to meet that need right now. Getting your product noticed, tried and repurchased are the basic tenets. Having a clear understanding of your brand’s greater marketing mission will determine the best objective for your promotional campaign, and the most effective sales promotional strategies to launch.