Promote Yourself To Success

By Eric Gilboord

In addition to or independent of regular advertising activities, there is another area of marketing known as sales promotion. This includes special promotional activities like trade programs to sell more products to your distribution system, consumer programs for sales to end users, sampling, discounts, two-for-ones, bonus packs, premiums, contests, cross-company tie-ins and coupons of all types.

Jack had a ladies wear store in a popular mall. His customers were loyal and he could always count on a steady stream of business while accepting the usual seasonal ups and downs. The mall hosted several other stores also selling ladies wear. Over the past few months, he noticed a drop in sales and less store activity, even on traditional busy days. As the frustration built up, he began to think something different was going on at the mall.

He went for a walk and noticed a lineup at competitors’ store. A big sign read, “Today only meet Judy Jay” —a popular TV soap star. He noticed some of his own customers in line and asked them what was happening. Jack learned that his competitor had been bringing in a different soap star each week and had been running this promotion for a month. He also found out they were rewarding their best customers by sending an announcement out in advance and admitting them a half hour earlier to meet
the celebrity, if they made a purchase that week. In a conversation with some of the store staff he learned they had a full year’s worth of promotions planned.

Jack knew he had to fight fire with fire by preparing his own promotional program. He developed a promotion calendar that included activities built around seasonal themes and special sales. He incorporated signs in his store, ads in the local newspaper and a direct marketing mailing to any customer who had made a purchase in the past 12 months. He made sure his customers knew that each month, a new and exciting activity was going to take place. He went one step further and doubled his marketing budget by running promotions in partnership with other retailers in the mall.

Sales promotions are developed for the following tactical reasons:

1.To build traffic at point of sale. This could be at your store, office, or a trade/consumer show.

2.To promote trial during a launch phase. If you have a new product or service you will need to create some excitement to generate special interest in this new offering.

3.To counter competitors' tactics. Your competition just started a new advertising campaign and customers are drawn to their special offer. You need to fight back and regain the attention of your customers.

4.To level seasonal sales peaks and valleys. Sales may seem to be on a roller coaster ride sometimes, and you need to have more control over cash flow and inventory management.

5.To control over-stock situations. The brand new widget you imported is turning out to be a dud and you can’t afford to carry the stock indefinitely. It’s time for a blow-out sale.

6.To gain leverage and to stretch your advertising budget. Use cooperative programs with other marketers whose products or services are complementary to your own, e.g., software and computers, swimming pools and water treatment supplies, men’s suits and shoes.

7.To complement your regular advertising program. Promotions add a different dimension as part of a multi-disciplined strategy.

8.To develop your customer/prospect database. Not every business requires customers to supply contact information. A quick way to gather names of existing customers and prospects is to run a promotion and get them to fill out a ballot.

One of the key considerations when planning a promotional event is to be absolutely clear on your target group. You want to develop a program that appeals to a specific person. Offering a mountain bike as a prize to a target group of senior citizens may not be the best choice for the majority of the audience.

Sales promotions can be announced in the marketplace via media advertising, direct mail or point of sale. Support materials include coupons, promotional packaging, scratch-and-win tickets, magic ink cards, banners, T-shirts, hats, pens, etc.

And that’s According 2 Eric

ERIC GILBOORD is a specialist in making marketing easy for business owner/operators and any staff with sales or marketing responsibility. He demystifies marketing so they can use it to generate sales today and grow their businesses faster. Eric believes in blending traditional marketing with new media/social media. ROI is a must. Eric is a popular speaker, coach, columnist and author of many articles and books on moving a business up to the next level.  The Expert Business Calls for Marketing Advice... That's Easy to Understand. For more information call 416-686-2466. To sign up for his marketing tips newsletter and to read his blog please visit:

By Adam

May 06, 2011