What is sales promotion?
Sales promotion is any initiative undertaken by an organisation to promote an increase in sales, usage or trial of a product or service (i.e. initiatives that are not covered by the other elements of the marketing communications or promotions mix). Sales promotions are varied.
Often they are original and creative, and hence a comprehensive list of all available techniques is virtually impossible (since original sales promotions are launched daily!). Here are some examples of popular sales promotions activities:
(a) Buy-One-Get-One-Free (BOGOF) - which is an example of a self-liquidating promotion. For example if a loaf of bread is priced at $1, and cost 10 cents to manufacture, if you sell two for $1, you are still in profit - especially if there is a corresponding increase in sales. This is known as a PREMIUM sales promotion tactic.
(b) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) incentives such as bonus points or money off coupons. There are many examples of CRM, from banks to supermarkets.
(c) New media - Websites and mobile phones that support a sales promotion. For example, in the United Kingdom, Nestle printed individual codes on KIT-KAT packaging, whereby a consumer would enter the code into a dynamic website to see if they had won a prize. Consumers could also text codes via their mobile phones to the same effect.
(d) Merchandising additions such as dump bins, point-of-sale materials and product demonstrations.
(e) Free gifts e.g. Subway gave away a card with six spaces for stickers with each sandwich purchase. Once the card was full the consumer was given a free sandwich.
(f) Discounted prices e.g. Budget airline such as EasyJet and Ryanair, e-mail their customers with the latest low-price deals once new flights are released, or additional destinations are announced.
(g) Joint promotions between brands owned by a company, or with another company's brands. For example fast food restaurants often run sales promotions where toys, relating to a specific movie release, are given away with promoted meals.
(h) Free samples (aka. sampling) e.g. tasting of food and drink at sampling points in supermarkets. For example Red Bull (a caffeinated fizzy drink) was given away to potential consumers at supermarkets, in high streets and at petrol stations (by a promotions team).
(i) Vouchers and coupons, often seen in newspapers and magazines, on packs.
(j) Competitions and prize draws, in newspapers, magazines, on the TV and radio, on The Internet, and on packs.
(k) Cause-related and fair-trade products that raise money for charities, and the less well off farmers and producers, are becoming more popular.
(l) Finance deals - for example, 0% finance over 3 years on selected vehicles.
Many of the examples above are focused upon consumers. Don't forget that promotions can be aimed at wholesales and distributors as well. These are known as Trade Sales Promotions. Examples here might include joint promotions between a manufacturer and a distributor, sales promotion leaflets and other materials (such as T-shirts), and incentives for distributor sales people and their retail clients.