What is sales promotion?
Sales promotion is as old as the hills. Who can forget the
creation of the first ever sales promotion when God offered Adam a
'Free woman for one rib' deal? With the second ever promotion (on
apples), God created promotional terms and conditions which quickly
resulted in the first case of mal-redemption when Adam
Sales promotion generates sales by using specific strategies
which influence the consumer when they are just about to make their
purchase decision. Something that advertising (or above the line as
it loftily calls itself) can only dream of. At worst these are
short term tactical sales drivers, at best they engage the
consumer, encourage product trial and influence future behaviour
for a long-lasting relationship with the brand. Cool.
Through the use of the right offering, communication and
brand-positioning, sales promotion can underpin or enhance the
message of ATL and literally bring the personality of a brand to
Techniques to choose from
Each method is designed to achieve different things, but they can
broadly be categorised as follows:
● Reduce the risk of product trial
● Incentivise product purchase
● Reward repeat purchase
Which one you choose depends, to a greater or lesser degree, on
where your product is in it's life cycle.
This is illustrated more succinctly using the career of a D-List
● Who is Kerry Katona?
● Get me Karry Katona!
● I want the same as Kerry Katona but cheaper
● Who was Kerry Katona?
Clearly at product launch, you are more likely to want to
encourage product trial, whilst appearing to reduce the risk to the
Reduce the risk of Product Trial
● Free samples
● Satisfaction Guarantee / Comparison / Money back
● Couponing and introductory discounts
Incentivise product purchase
● Multibuy discount, extra free or straight discount (big yawn and
● Third party discount partners
● Competition prizes
● Gift with purchase
● Self-liquidating promotion*
* It's like a gift with purchase, only the consumer has to pay a
contribution which, in theory, covers the cost of the premium if
enough are redeemed.
Reward repeat purchase
● Collector scheme
Collect tokens, codes, wrappers etc off pack and redeem on-line,
by post or direct to receive a reward. This would take the form of
third party offers or cleverly themed premiums.
See the following examples of live collector schemes:
Legal and above board
The last thing you want to do if you are spending a small fortune
on your promotion is to go live and find out that you're on the
wrong side of sales promotion law. That's where our good friends at
the Institute of Sales
Promotion come in. For a modest outlay, they will scour your
terms and conditions to cover the UK and beyond, to ensure that
your promotion is watertight.
Measure of success
It's all very well launching a promotional campaign, but how are
you going to know if it has worked? From the outset you need to
decide what you are trying to achieve, how you are going to measure
the achievement and what level of achievement would constitute a
success. Typically this takes a two-pronged approach - did it
achieve it's sales / marketing objective and how many customers did
we engage with.
Support the campaign
Coincidentally in these ever more environmentally conscious times,
sales promotion is rife with recycled ideas. No offence meant to
any creatives out there, but there are very few, if any, new sales
promotion ideas. The cleverness lies in how the campaign is themed,
the content, the creative, the execution, the experience. This,
happily, leaves us with an infinite range of possibilities when we
next have a
thought shower or brainstorm in good old-fashioned
Which brings me onto the final point. No-one is claiming that
Sales Promotion can reinvent the wheel and prevent everyone's sales
curves from heading south. Yes, even we at Sales Promotion Blog,
acknowledge that Advertising provides valuable support to sales
promotion and vice-versa. A straight sales promotion may well
produce results, but a strongly supported campaign with a
compelling proposition, will really get you noticed.
For advice, suggestions or to discuss your next sales promotion
campaign, contact our sister site at Mosaic Marketing &