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    THE DO’S & DONT’S OF SALES PROMOTIONS–Sales promotions are the lifeblood of brands around the globe  driving excitement around product launches, raising awareness of products USPs, and providing an edge over competitor brands.

    Whilst they aren’t to be shied away from, it is worth noting that a badly thought out promotion can cause as many issues as they are designed to solve.

    Take the Hoover free flights fiasco for example – a catastrophe that saw customers buying £120 machines to receive two free flights to America or Europe. It doesn’t take a genius to work out this would be a popular promotion. It was simple, the reward value was high, and the product was accessible. What the top bods at Hoover didn’t take in to account was ensuring the promotion also worked in their favour. By the time the promotion came to a close, they had racked up costs of over £50million, much higher than the product sales of £30million.

    So what does it take to create a well thought out promotion? Let’s look at a few do’s and don’ts to get you going.

    As the Hoover disaster highlights, a failed promotion impacts not just the bottom line but the brand reputation and ultimately its success – soon after the promotion, the European leg of Hoover was bought out by Candy.

    If you can’t afford to cover all eventualities, promotional insurance or fixed fee mechanisms are available to fix your costs end to end.

    Do… keep it simple

    An overly complex sales promotion with a long route to redemption will leave consumers confused and irritated. Keeping it simple ensures satisfied consumers and increases the likelihood of retention. If you launch an overly complicated promotion, you may find yourself the subject of negative word-of-mouth marketing!

    Don’t… be too generous

    This doesn’t mean you can’t offer the headline prizes – just ensure you have calculated what you can afford to offer.

    Tricks such as one large headline prize with lots of smaller prizes, or requiring consumers to collect tokens worth different values – such as the McDonalds Monopoly mechanism – allow you to make publicity waves whilst engaging as many consumers as possible and also manage your budget.

    Don’t… confuse your customer

    Keep the promotion in keeping with your brand, and with your values. To do this, you need to not just know your own organisation but also your target customers likes and dislikes.

    Use this information to choose your prizes wisely, partnering with brands that share the same values as your own. Confusing couplings can end up deterring customers from purchasing your product and getting involved with your promotion.

    Don’t… gamble on something you can’t control

    Long story short, McDonalds’s promised customers a free Big Mac, fries, or Coca Cola for every gold, silver or bronze medal that America won within the 1984 Olympics. America excelled themselves, coming home with 174 medals in total – 83 gold, 61 silver and 30 bronze. McDonalds watched their costs sky rocket as the games continued, without any ability to control factors such as the performance of either home or foreign athletes.

    Moral of the story is simple for this one – don’t gamble on something you can’t control. Keep your promotional control in house and easy to track.

    See sales promotions done right here.

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