Are promotional offers really the incentive retailers think they are?

  • Voices
  • November 3, 2016
  • Michael Goldthorpe
Are promotional offers really the incentive retailers think they are?

Top up and win. Swipe and save. Drive and Fly. You name it, you’ll win it. Does anyone sell anything without a promo these days? Has anyone ever won? But more importantly – do customers really care?

Tactical retail promotions have long been the lifeblood of agencies and marketers everywhere. It’s an always-on marketplace of parity product. The old SMP has been replaced with Swift Marketing Promotion – and incentives give us something to shout about.

But what do they achieve? What’s the real goal? And does selling the cherry sell cake? Read on and you could win an iPad*

Don’t sell the cherry, sell the cake

I’ll never forget the first time I learned about offers and incentives. I was one half of a junior team doing some creative work for the agency chairman. We were respectfully petrified but super proud of the way we’d creatively interpreted the ‘win an iPad’ du jour. Then Uncle Bill told us we’d missed the point.

“You’re not selling the offer, you’re selling the incentive,” he said. And we didn’t understand. So he persevered. “Your promotion will get a reaction,” said Bill. “But if you don’t actually promote the product you won’t convert a sale.” It still took us a while (Matt and I are somewhat slow) but his food metaphor made the point.

In the bakery of sales, incentives aren’t even the icing on the cake, they’re the cherry on top. So if people are only buying cherries, we haven’t done our job of selling the cake.

Sales promotions will spike sales

Sales promos are the marketing equivalent of turning on the hot tap in the bath. They can warm up the water. And if you keep the tap on full for a while, they can even make it hot. But promotions are all about metrics and spikes. Every prepay phone company runs ‘Top Up and Win’. People top up. Someone wins. But do these promotions change behaviour? Is there a repeat purchase? Do people actually get on the blower and use their phones? Given the regular cycle of similar promotions to drive that same behaviour, it makes you wonder.

Another of my favourites is ‘Watch and Win’. Television stations monetise their product by selling eyeballs to advertisers. So if they need an eyeball spike to shout about, we’re all invited to text a code to XXX and win something no-one knew they wanted. But how often do they forget to talk about the ‘content’ they want us to watch?

The pointlessness of points

Loyalty programmes are similar. There’s no question that some people are engaged in some programmes and that drives some repeat behaviour. But most people choose their gas station by location, their power company by price and their mass market electronics retailer by whatever loss-leading deal on whatever widget they’re shopping for.

Don’t get me wrong, points do matter. I’m fastidious about putting every cent through my credit card to build up enough points to pay well above retail for a blender ($20,250 to earn enough FlyBuys for a NutriBullet). But when did rewards points become the sole point of our communications? When did we miss the point of selling the product?

If all else fails, go back to basics

In the old days, we would interrogate a product until we found something we could talk about that people wanted to hear about. In the old days we built products that people wanted to buy. In the old days we put the customer front and centre and ‘marketed’ to specific personas. These days we buzz about content, we quiz consumer panels about customer centricity and we bribe people over the line with promotions and points.

What if we just worked hard to make stuff people want? Like the iPhone. Like Lewis Road Chocolate Milk? Like Whittaker’s chocolate? What if we build strategies around lifetime value rather than tactics for tomorrow’s sales? What if we remembered that people aren’t interested in marketing, they just want a phone that works, a bank that makes life easy and a fair-priced product that ‘does what it says on the tin’.

And once a year on the ‘Black Friday-Super Sunday-Pre-Christmas-Grandparent’s Day’ by all means throw on a promo to shift last season’s stock. But if the only way to sell your product is to run jazz hands, add a scratch and give away an X-Box… well, that’s not really marketing, it’s sales.

That’s what I reckon, what do you think?

  • Michael Goldthorpe is managing partner of Hunch.

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

Save the date: Stoppies is returning for another year

  • The Stoppies
  • January 16, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Save the date: Stoppies is returning for another year

On 14 February 2019, the StopPress team will be showering the industry in love as we take a look back at the best of 2018 at The Stoppies brought to you by oOh!.

Read more

The Best a Brand Can Get? Michael Goldthorpe discusses that Gillette campaign

  • Voices
  • January 16, 2019
  • Michael Goldthorpe
The Best a Brand Can Get? Michael Goldthorpe discusses that Gillette campaign

When Gillette launched its latest campaign turning its traditional tagline 'The Best a Man Can Get' on its head, hoards of internet warriors rushed to condemn it as "PC gone mad". Hunch managing partner Michael Goldthorpe weighs in on the topic by looking at what marketers have to keep in mind when embracing topics like #MeToo.

Read more

StopPress noticeboard: Go Media expands into Gisborne

  • Noticeboard
  • January 15, 2019
  • StopPress Team
StopPress noticeboard: Go Media expands into Gisborne

Deals, expansions and acquisitions across the Industry.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and StopPress have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

topics
Follow The Money
Follow The Money
Follow the money. It’s an axiom that journalists have believed in for years and a ...
Regional Rundown
Regional Rundown
StopPress takes a trip down the country to see who the audiences and agencies are ...
Beyond the Page 2018
Beyond the Page 2018
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Insight Creative
Insight Creative
Insight Creative specialises in shaping business stories out the core insights that often lie under ...
Beneath the Surface
Beneath the Surface
In this series, brought to you by Microsoft, we talk to a conceptual photographer, illustrator ...
20/20 (tele)vision
20/20 (tele)vision
Media consumption is changing. But by how much?
The Hot List
The Hot List
Our rundown of the hottest shows, brands and creators in New Zealand media. 1. magazine ...
Cannes Lions 2017
Cannes Lions 2017
All the winners, the shortlists and the drama from this year's edition of advertising biggest ...
Merger Mania
Merger Mania
All our stories on the nation's two failed mergers in one place
Bauer Beyond the Page
Bauer Beyond the Page
When it comes to creating branded content, there are few better in the Kiwi market ...
The Indies
The Indies
Over the course of this series of articles, we look at how always-nimble indy agencies ...
AdRoll on automation
AdRoll on automation
Marketing automation is tipped to eventually become the only way advertising is traded in the ...
Game Changers
Game Changers
It’s all about PEOPLE. Join us as we discuss global insights, ideas and innovations from ...
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2015
Celebrating all the winners of the 2015 TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards.
Future Tense
Future Tense
In a new series, StopPress talks to a range of newsmakers currently trying to shine ...
Beyond the Page
Beyond the Page
In conjunction with the MPA, the Beyond the Page series shows how some of the ...
Up Country
Up Country
In conjunction with News Works, the Up Country series talks with some of New Zealand's ...
Sounding off
Sounding off
As part of a content partnership with MediaWorks, we've asked a few of the company's ...
StopPress Podcasts
StopPress Podcasts
We sit down for a chat with industry leaders to find out what they're up ...

Ads of the Week: 15 January

  • TVC of the Week
  • January 15, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Ads of the Week: 15 January

A round of applause for McDonald's, TAB, Lotto NZ, Air New Zealand and Warehouse Stationery.

Read more
TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2018 best not-for-profit: the Movember Foundation speaks up
news

TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2018 best not-for-profit: the Movember Foundation speaks up

The Movember Foundation gave New Zealand’s youth the power to grow a mo in the hopes of reducing youth suicide. We take a look at 2018's best not-for profit.

voices

Derek Lindsay exits OMANZ

  • Advertising
  • January 15, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Derek Lindsay exits OMANZ

The Outdoor Media Association of New Zealand (OMANZ) general manager Derek Lindsay is departing the organisation in order to focus on his own personal business.

Read more

The changing face of New Zealand and why it matters

  • Nielsen Demographics
  • January 14, 2019
  • Chris Coomer
The changing face of New Zealand and why it matters

While the 2018 census data isn’t due for release until 2019, marketers should be prepared to answer two key questions – 'are we adjusting to the changing needs of our target market?' and 'how do we acquire new customers that are gaining relevance in NZ?' With the help of Nielsen’s Consumer Media Insights (CMI) and NZ Stats population projections, marketers and brand owners can prepare for what the ‘new’ New Zealand will look like by developing products and services that cater to the needs of the changing consumer.

Read more

TAB's 'In Play' campaign launched for Australian Open via VMLY&R and MBM

  • Advertising
  • January 14, 2019
  • StopPress Team
TAB's 'In Play' campaign launched for Australian Open via VMLY&R and MBM

Released by VMLY&R and MBM ahead of the Australian Open, the TAB's latest campaign launches a new and improved betting experience.

Read more

Publicis Groupe appoints Michael Rebelo as CEO for ANZ

  • Advertising
  • January 14, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Publicis Groupe appoints Michael Rebelo as CEO for ANZ

Publicis Groupe has announced the appointment of Michael Rebelo as chief executive officer for Australia and New Zealand.

Read more

Movings/Shakings: 14 January

  • Movings/Shakings, brought to you by Marsden Inch
  • January 14, 2019
Movings/Shakings: 14 January

Industry happenings atIndustry happenings at NZME, Cigna New Zealand, Perceptive, 90 Seconds and Stan PR.

Read more

Murray Streets joins BC&F Dentsu as managing director

  • Advertising
  • January 14, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Murray Streets joins BC&F Dentsu as managing director
Luke Farmer, Murray Streets, Monica Wales

BC&F Dentsu has a new leader in Murray Streets who has been appointed managing director.

Read more

Fiji Water Lady: Marketing genius or one hit wonder?

  • Advertising
  • January 14, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Fiji Water Lady: Marketing genius or one hit wonder?
Fiji Water Girl appeared in several photos on the red carpet at the Golden Globes last night. Photo: Twitter

She's been dubbed the real winner of the Golden Globes, staring down the barrel of the camera with a wry smile behind Hollywood's elite, but was 'Fiji Water Girl' a major splash or a minor ripple in the marketing world?

Read more

Idealog's Most Innovative in Media/Marketing: Special Group

  • Advertising
  • January 14, 2019
  • Jonathan Cotton
Idealog's Most Innovative in Media/Marketing: Special Group

The winner of Idealog's Most Innovative Companies in Media/Marketing is Special Group. By anyone’s standards, the last year has been a good one for the creative agency Special Group. Named New Zealand Agency of the Year by Campaign Brief, AUS/NZ Mobile Agency of the Year by Campaign Asia and Asia Pacific’s Most Effective Independent Agency by the global Effies index – all in the last 12 months alone – it’s a great tenth year, whichever way you look at it.

Read more

Year in Review: Aimee McCammon, Augusto

  • Year in Review
  • January 11, 2019
  • Aimee McCammon
Year in Review: Aimee McCammon, Augusto

Every year, StopPress asks players in the local industry for their reflections on the marketing year that was. Here's what Aimee McCammon, managing director at Augusto, has to say.

Read more

Paul Shale to take FCB New Zealand reins as CEO

  • Advertising
  • January 10, 2019
  • StopPress Team
Paul Shale to take FCB New Zealand reins as CEO

FCB New Zealand has announced the appointment of Paul Shale as CEO.

Read more
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2019 ICG Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise

Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit