The 4 Ps: Promotions II: beyond advertising
- By Angelica Moreno
In this last section of the 4Ps series, we’re exploring Promotions. As discussed in the January 24 article on advertising strategy, Promotions is more than TV or magazine ads.
Promotional activities are how brands continue to engage with consumers outside of regular advertising. The goal is immediate sales lift. Think back to the last time you checked your mail and pulled out some flyers, or the last time you used a particular credit card in your wallet for “the points.” These are great examples of marketing promotions and they can work for any business.
Activities that Drive to Store
If promotions are about immediate impact, then the key is to get people to a store in order to buy a product.
Coupons and flyers are excellent ways to accomplish this when done correctly. As a small business, ensure that you directly target local consumers: work with a community newspaper, and talk to local community centers or places of worship – they may have publications in which you can purchase advertising space that you can use for coupons. Some small business associations get together and create flyers that are mailed out locally. Again, the key is to keep this as local as possible. Bigger isn’t better, it’s about making sure the right people, in the right area, sees the coupon. No one is going to drive 45 minutes out of his or her way for a special cupcake.
Coupons don’t have to just be for $0.50 or $1.00 off. They could also be for introductory trials. Many yoga studios offer unlimited classes for a week for $20. This might be an option for your business.
Maybe you have some great in-store traffic but you’d like to increase consumer’s basket size, i.e., get them to buy more (and therefore spend more) per visit. An in-store promotion could be just what your business needs.
Some options are very straightforward:
• BOGOs (Buy One, Get One Free): just like at Payless, this promotion can also work for you
• Buy 2 items and get 50% off the second item: less costly to you than a BOGO but also effective
• Gift with purchase: commonly used in cosmetics, it can be used in any business. For instance, offering customers that spend over $75 a free cupcake, a free tote bag, etc. It doesn’t need to be expensive; remember, everyone loves something that’s free!
Other in-store options to consider include:
• Special Displays: setting up a table to highlight a particular product. For instance, a particular line of clothing in a clothing store. Or a “bread of the week” section in a bakery.
• End-of-Aisle Displays: The end of an aisle is prime real estate in a store and the perfect place to display special items – maybe those that are most profitable or new.
• Out-of-Aisle Displays: this is about placing a product somewhere else in the store. If you have an independent grocery store, consider putting a couple of bags of nachos next to the avocados and add a recipe for homemade guacamole. In a clothing store, accessories tend to get grouped in a section, but why not have tights throughout the store next to skirts and dresses they might match.
• Special In-Store Events: a great example is special speakers at a pharmacy, health food store or even a clothing store. Think of a dietician speaking about healthy food options, or a fashion blogger discussing the season’s latest trends.
Partnerships & Sponsorships
• Partnerships: Look to other small businesses in your area; some of these businesses could complement yours. Could your ice cream shop supply a few area restaurants? Or partner up with a local movie theater to provide discounts to one another’s patrons. These are excellent, local opportunities to co-promote your businesses.
• Sponsorships: Get behind the local soccer team or dance school recital. Donate items to fundraisers in the area. This builds your business’ ties to the community and is a great way to raise the profile of your business. Set aside an annual budget and remember, these can often be expensed as charity. More important is the good-will investment.
These aren’t just for large retailers like Starbucks. They can work for any business. Consider a hair salon that also offers waxing and manicures; clients could be treated to a free eyebrow wax with 10 purchases of the same service. Now consumers have been exposed to other services with the potential of a freebie down the line.
• Member Clubs: Frequent customers can benefit from access to special sales or sneak peeks into new products. By encouraging consumers to join such a membership, a database with email information can be created. Special quarterly or monthly emails can be sent out promoting special events or providing special coupons.
- A local retailer in my area offers a monthly trivia question and winners receive a gift certificate for use at the store. The investment is minimal but such activities build loyalty and goodwill.
In considering promotional opportunities, any brand manager or business owner should ask themselves, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Balance the cost of the investment with the benefit you expect to garner. Remember, a small investment can yield large rewards.