An overview of sales promotions
The concept of sales promotion can be best defined in terms of a strategy intended to increase the commercial appeal of a particular product to the targeted category of customers or to retailers that may be potentially interested in distributing this product. Companies most commonly consider a sales promotion as one of the foremost instruments of increasing the extent of their commercial competitiveness within a matter of comparatively short periods.
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According to Blythe (2003, p. 236), “Its (sales promotion’s) purpose is to create a temporary increase in sales by bringing purchasing decisions forward and adding some immediacy to the decision-making process.” The earlier provided definition suggests that sales promotions may be well considered an integral element of the free-market economy’s proper functioning, since it is namely the consumer’s ability to choose among a number of qualitatively similar but differently named products, which created objective preconditions for the concept of sales promotion to emerge, in the first place.
Therefore, there is nothing odd about the fact that it now became a commonplace practice among many economists to think of the sales promotion’s actual purpose as such that is being concerned with adding emotional/perceptional value to the material value of a particular product that is being advertised. As Cummins and Mullins (2008, p. 2) noted, “Of all the marketing tools available to the marketer, sales promotion can most readily be used to give that sense of fun to the customer.” The qualitative nature of sales promotions defines the nature of techniques commonly deployed to increase the commercial appeal of a particular product to potential buyers. The most commonly deployed sales promotion’s techniques can be listed as follows:
a) Price deal – buyers are being provided with the opportunity to purchase the desired product at a significantly lower price, b) Reward program – buyers are being encouraged to remain loyal to a particular brand. Most commonly, this is being accomplished by providing buyers with additional incentives to consider their brand-loyalty as such that constitutes a certain monetary value, c) Loss leader – customers are being psychologically manipulated to purchase products at the ‘spur of the moment,’ without paying much attention to the actual rationale of such their purchasing, d) Rebate – customers are being offered money-saving bonuses, in return for their willingness to provide proof of their brand-loyalty.
Since the very term ‘promotion’ implies a continual presence of informational/communicational exchanges between sellers, on the one hand, and buyers, on the other, it is also fully explainable why managers in charge of promoting a particular product are being required to pay utter attention towards ensuring the interactive integrity of ongoing advertisement campaigns. In its turn, this explains why, as of today, the potential success of a particular sales promotion is commonly discussed within the context of what accounts for the promotion’s other important elements.
These elements can be classified as such that belong to two qualitatively distinctive categories, which may be generally defined as communicational, on the one hand, and marketing-based, on the other. The sales promotion’s foremost communicational elements are public relations, advertising, exhibitions, packaging, and maintenance of a corporate identity. The main marketing elements associated with the concept of sales promotion are the identification of a proper market-niche, the implementation of appropriate value-increasing marketing techniques, and the exploration of opportunities to promote products to previously non-targeted potential buyers (Smith & Taylor, 2008).
Therefore, it will only be logical to conclude that the main prerequisite of ensuring the effectiveness of sales promotions, on the part of managers that design these promotions, is the managers’ willingness to never cease being observant of the psychological aspects of the design process, throughout its entirety.
The importance of magazine advertising
As it was mentioned earlier, one of the main features of the free-market economy’s proper function is the availability of different brand-products that nevertheless represent essentially the same de facto value, such as toothpastes, for example. What it means is that managers in charge of designing the sales promotion’s strategies must approach this task in such a manner that the advertised product’s emotional appeal would be consistent with the essence of emotionally charged purchasing anxieties on the part of the targeted buyers. In this respect, the placement of commercial ads in magazines comes in particularly handy.
The reason for this is quite apparent – the overwhelming majority of today’s popular magazines do target very specific categories of people (Blythe, 2003). Therefore, by having products advertised in magazines, companies are able to significantly expand the size of the affected audience without having to invest in altering the product’s de facto value in order to increase its commercial appeal to the different categories of potential buyers (Belch & Belch, 2009).
For example, a particular toothpaste can be well advertised in both: women’s and men’s magazines, for as long as the affiliated advertisement-message/image corresponds with the essence of readers’ emotional/cognitive inclinations. The same can be said in regards to just about any other popularly demanded product. Moreover, the advertisement of sales promotions in magazines may also be discussed within the same conceptual context.
As of today, it is commonly assumed that public relations (PR) content in magazines essentially serves the purpose of allowing readers to provide their feedback regarding the published materials. In its turn, this implies that readers are in a position to primarily benefit from being exposed to the PR content because their formal participation in magazines’ publishing-related activities allows their opinions to be taken into consideration by staff members.
Nevertheless, the utilization of a proper approach to conducting PR, on the part of publishers can benefit them financially, as well. This is because properly managed PR content in magazines does not only increase these magazines’ circulation, but it is also being capable of enhancing the efficiency of the affiliated sales promotions.
The validity of this suggestion can be illustrated with Case Study 1, found in Cummins and Mullins’s (2008) book. As it appears from this Case Study, the free samples of Listerine mouthwash, distributed among the selected American dentists by the representatives of an undisclosed free trade magazine, resulted in 3487 dentists deciding to subscribe to this magazine and to recommend Listerine products to their patients.
It is understood, of course, that this contributed rather substantially to the commercial well-being of the magazine in question. This once again points out to the fact that, while choosing a favor of a particular strategy towards placing the PR content on the magazine’s pages, managers entrusted with the task should never cease being aware of the whole scope of commercial opportunities that may potentially derive out of this content’s presence. In order for managers to be able to do that, they should be willing to work hard on increasing the extent of their professional adequacy.
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Belch, G & Belch, M 2009, Advertising and promotion: An integrated marketing communications perspective (8th ed), McGraw Hill, New York.
Blythe, J 2003, Essentials of marketing communications (2nd ed), Pearson Education, London.
Cummins, J & Mullins, R 2008, Sales promotion – How to create & implement campaigns that really work (4th ed), Kogan Page, London.
Smith, R & Taylor, J 2006, Marketing communications: An integrated approach (4th ed), Kogan Page, London.