No matter what new technological invention, or innovation in promotion, the challenge of standing out in a crowded marketplace remains, says Chris Baldwin of Sodexo. PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

How to find the right promotional mechanic for your campaign


No matter what new technological invention or innovation in promotion you choose, the challenge of standing out in a crowded marketplace remains, says Chris Baldwin of Sodexo. PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

Brands risk devaluing their campaign products by discounting too frequently, and with tight margins to meet it just isn’t economical.

This is where adding value is key. Marketers would be better not lopping pennies off in store for a meagre splash but instead adding value or being creative with ‘discount’ for a big eye catching impact.

Adding value is the easy bit – promotions, prizes, trade-ins and guarantees can help brands stand out for all the right reasons. But with so many different promotional mechanics, how do marketers choose which is best for their campaign?

Looking at what they want to achieve is a pretty good start…


Promoting value

Snipping coupons is old school, right? Wrong! This mechanic’s popularity shows no sign of dwindling. The use of money-off coupons is as popular as ever. Even truly old school methods like cutting out vouchers in newspapers still draws a crowd.

Sodexo, part of the Sodexo family, worked with John Smith’s to create a coupon in the Mirror that saw readers receiving £1 off their next purchase. Creating a robust alignment between The Mirror and the brewery – and putting savings in consumers’ hands. With Sodexo covering all the possible redemptions, remaining financing liable and providing campaign analysis, John Smith’s were able to reach an offline audience and inspire a purchase.

Another ‘discount’ mechanic on the block, cashback, has the potential to increase sell out while enabling marketers to reduce the profit sacrificed by a true, flat discount. By highlighting the ‘discount’ (savings made once cashback is paid) rather than the reduced price, marketers can create a greater sense of urgency and give consumers a reason to ‘buy now’.

Plus, cashback allows marketers to sell a product at full price, increasing basket spend for the retailer, while knowing that, once the offer has finished, they’re not left with the damaging effects of price erosion.


Instant gratification

Before AR, VR, QR and the rest, scratch cards were literally the most interactive way to promotionally market to consumers en masse. Odds on scratch cards tend to be greater than in other mechanics, and the compulsion of finding out if you’re an instant winner is hard to shake.

An instant win promotion requires a relatively large prize pool which can put agencies and manufacturers off. But instant wins need not blow the budget – with the right risk management in place, marketers really can afford to reward everyone and reap all the excitement in their follow up collateral.

Gift with purchase is a great example of instant gratification. From the high tech to the cuddly, a gift with purchase rewards impulse buys as well as repeat customers. We can enlist the help of risk management agencies to help calculate levels of participation, expected reward claims and cover the promotion with a fixed-fee to protect their budget.


Inspiring confidence

Marketers that are looking to develop consumer trust through their offering need to drive forward campaigns that inspire confidence and conviction in their products and services. And there are a number of different mechanics that help build relationships in this way.

Whether inspiring consumers to switch brands or try a product for the first time, Try Me Free promotions are a great idea to help encourage confidence in potential customers and inspire repeat purchase and new-found loyalty. Brands look like they are so sure of their product that they will give it away for free, knowing that consumers won’t be able to resist a repeat purchase. And with the help of some agency expertise, brands can work work out how many product samples are likely to be claimed so they don’t spend a penny over budget.

Another confidence-inspiring mechanic with consumers is the product guarantee. How much more can a brand do to prove it has 100% faith in its product than literally give dissatisfied consumer their money back? The problem is, product guarantees can strike fear into brands who worry that a flood of claims will see them hit financial ruin. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By understanding the risk, and calculating the likely number of claims a balanced budget can be achieved.

Buy and Try de-risks the purchase process for consumers – often related to high value purchases. It removes purchase barriers for nervous or thrifty customers, as they can buy what they really want, safe in the knowledge that they have up to 90 days to return it, no questions asked!


Building anticipation

The Advertising Standards Authority describes prize draws as when ‘Prizes are only awarded to those who return the winning code or symbol to the promoter within the promotional period.’

By running a prize draw campaign, marketers can build anticipation – and brand awareness – by offering amazing prizes (think cars, holidays, one of a kind experiences) but limit the opportunity to win and avoid any substantial risk. The most important thing is offering something spectacular that’s worth entering for – and being clear in the terms and conditions.


Driving loyalty

When customers feel like they get something extra from a brand they will bring their custom back time and time again – why would they look elsewhere for less? Marketers can reap the benefits of loyal consumers by rewarding a purchase with points or offers that they can’t get anywhere else. Points and offers which drive consumers back to spend again, attracted by the idea that they’re getting something for nothing thanks to a previous purchase.

Collector schemes are another great way for brands to drive loyalty. Sales are increased as shoppers collect tokens etc. and the customer is enticed to buy more and more in order to fulfill the gift or prize requirement.  Again, a smart promotional agency can protect brands’ budgets – and ensure all consumers get the rewards they’ve been promised.


Removing barriers to purchase

In a crowded marketplace where prices fluctuate and competition is fierce, consumers hold onto their purchases for longer than ever before. No matter how loyal a consumer is to a brand, once they have a household product (for example), they just don’t need to get another similar version.

So, how do marketers get consumers interested in upgrading to the latest and greatest models when they already have the old one in full working order stacked up in their broom cupboard?  This is where trade ins come in – by offering the customer something tangible for their old product, marketers are removing the barriers to purchase.

In our latest Case Study we explore how popular cleaning brand Kärcher ran a trade in campaign to encourage existing customers to upgrade to their latest model. The July 2016 promotion was focused on current window vac owners and offered them a cash incentive to move on to a better machine – if they bought the new Kärcher WV5, with an RRP of £89.99, and traded in their old machine they could receive up to £30 in cashback.

The campaign involved a number of different parties to ensure a seamless delivery to the consumer, from the receipt validation to the cashback payment Sodexo sourced and handled every element meticulously. Sodexo also built the microsite which looked to consumers as simply an extension of the Kärcher website – the site housed the claim area, all the promotion information including contact details, where and what to buy, how to claim and the FAQs. With hundreds of stores involved and a relatively complex offer to make simple, the campaign had the potential to be challenging but was pulled off expertly and with plenty of lessons learned.

Clearly, campaign mechanics aren’t ‘one size fits all’ and each, however old or new, serves a purpose in today’s busy marketplace. The challenge for marketers is choosing the right one for their needs, measuring its success and being reflective as the embark on the next one.

Chris Baldwin is Director of Consumer Promotions and Loyalty at Sodexo. 

Sodexo has published a new eBook,  How new technology is driving the promotional marketing industry, taking a closer look at the digital revolution and how it can help marketers influence shoppers. For a free copy, click here.

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