Consumer oriented sales promotion


Broad objectives of any sales promotion program are to induce trial and purchase of the product. As we consider several promotions programs of different organizations, we can conclude that their objectives are any of all of the following:

1. Generate consumer interest, which should lead to trial.
2. Generate inquiries from the target customer group.
3. Build traffic for a brand at the retail outlet; which should help generate additional sales of product;
4. Motivate customers to repeat their choice.
5. Increase the rate of purchase.

Generate Consumer Interest Leading to Trial

This is one of the most sacrosanct objectives in marketing, particularly in the case of new products and those products which are mature and hence don’t excite the interest of the consumer. Several sales promotions are designed to create an excitement in the target market which should help in generating trial purchase. Free samples and coupons are some of the consumer promotion schemes commonly used by firms. Offering gifts is another way. Free trials are very common in the industry, particularly in the cosmetics and premium range of toilet soaps and shampoos. Dove, a premium brand of toilet soap from Hindustan Levers, urges consumers to try the 7-Day test to convince themselves of the claims being made by the company. Citibank’s gifts offer to their existing credit card members on introducing new members is yet another example creating interest and generating trial sales.

Free samples and coupons have generally been found useful in stimulating trial for low involvement products because they generate a low cost usage experience that may create favorable attitudes much faster than advertising. In the case of more complex and high involvement products, in-store demonstration seems to deliver better results. This may be attributed to the customer’s search for expert advice and information. An in most of the high involvement products, generally the dealer or store sales person is looked up to as an expert.

In the context of multi-product firms like a men’s toiletries firm, an organization may use vehicles like coupons with a discount for reputed consumer products, to build trial for these products. Thus a packet of Wiltech twin edged blades may have a discount coupon for Wilman’s shaving cream. Alternatively, Old Spice after-shave lotion pack may have a coupon for deodorant. In all these promotion activities generally the firm’s objective is also to piggy ride a new product on its existing products which already command loyalty and hence market leadership.

Enquiry Generation

Another objective of consumer promotion is to generate inquiries from the target consumers. This is done through mail-in coupons, free catalogue and prizes. Since the incentive to be offered is generally in the context of an advertising message designed to introduce product benefits, these vehicles should be developed in coordination with

The advertising programs

This objective is particularly useful in the following situations:
1. When the firm has to identify and attract prospective customers, who are difficult to be identified because of the product concept.
2. When the customers have to be frequently replenished, like in the context of educational institutions whose stationary stocks have to be periodically replenished ;here the supplier may offer mail-in coupons or even special prices or gifts on festivals and
3. When a new model or another version of a product or service has been planned / introduced.

Build Consumer Traffic

A leading garment and accessories store in the Western suburbs of Mumbai, recently had a tie festival. Earlier it had several similar events either all by itself or in collaboration with leading brands that it stocks. Such kind of special sales or festival sales or even entertainment events like Awards Function are designed to build consumer traffic at retail outlets or for a brand.

Motivate Customers to Repeat Their Purchase

Several companies use promotion like first citizen’s club and cumulative card which promises the customer a free shirts or any garment on the purchase of a specific number of garments. Likewise, Citibank Diners Club offer its members redeemable points for every purchase made on the Diners Club credit card. These tools are aimed at creating brand loyalty. Likewise, a firm may offer continuity promotions like contests that run over several days and weeks or gifts distributed in increments overtime. Frequent flyers programs of airline is another form of continuity promotion.

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