No one talks about promotions very often, despite this course of action being the default for so many marketers.
Most people think price promotions attract new buyers, but in reality they mostly work on current buyers, because only they are remotely interested enough to notice them.
They produce a short term kick in sales, but after the promotion, everything snaps back to normal - there is little long term effect.
So marketers do it again, and again to get the same artificial sales hit.
Like an addiction.
Yep, price promotions are the crack cocaine of brand marketing.
While added value promotions - sponsorships, competitions etc perform in pretty much the same way.
But at least they don't cut margins, or get folks used to a lower price. It's just that they tend to only work on current buyers.
Many traditional marketers could be happy with this, because they labour under the misapprehension that they can build their brands' share through loyalty.
They can't. As Byron Sharpe shows us, brands grow through penetration, through getting more buyers, not more sales from the ones they have. Loyalty is a false God.
There is a massive saving grace for the traditonal promotion though - retailers love them. Doing promotions to keep the buyers in big retailers does make lots of sense, because penetration only comes from two areas:
Physical availability - broader distribution.
Mental availability - brand salience. Getting it noticed and though of in buying situations by more people.
Looking at promotions in a different way can do more that build distribution though. They can address Mental availability too.
The route to building salience is through being distinctive. Getting on the radar of people who just don't care.
Promotions can help with this by not 'saying at people' but 'doing with people'.
Find a credible link between what the brand and the audience cares about.
That bring the brand purpose to life.
Do something interesting and compelling that buyers can participate within, something with a story, something that's socially combustible - a story, a rich purpose for an event you can access through purchase, a physical gift with purchase or even a competition.
Then create the tools and impetus for buyers and participants to share, so it gets into the feeds and timelines of their peers.
This also creates cut through in advertising - telling the story of what you've done, rather than what you sell.
And if you've worked with the PR folks (and you should have) it should create headlines too.
Not sure if it's any good overall, and I wish I had more time to put in more of the compelling statistical evidence, but, as with so much I seem to go on about these days, just read Byron Sharpe's book. It's all in there.
You may have noticed I have an, above average, appreciation for tea. Proper tea, made in a warmed pot with decent tea bags.Tea doesn't get much more complex than that for me. I believe it tastes better in a china mug, I think you should put the milk in first and I sometimes like Earl Grey for a little frivolity.
That's it. You CAN have silverware, natty trays, ironic mugs...you can even serve it in a stately home. But if you haven't done what you SHOULD, you haven't got the basics right, no amount of embroidery can make up for substandard tea.
Just like a really good steak need not be smothered in sauce - if it's good quality and cooked well, it doesn't need it.In fact, it shouldn't have it.
Just as good pasta tastes great with nothing more than great olive oil, garlic and quality parmesan.
It's a bit like that with planning and ideas in general. If your thinking is good enough, if you've done what you should:
Where are we?
Where could we be?
How could we get there?
It doesn't need bells and whistles. It stands alone in a well crafted sentence or two.
Just as ANY creative idea, digital or not, should make folks excited with nothing more elaborate than a few sketches and a few, well crafted words.
Just any presentation should make no more than 5 well made points.
I bristled recently in a meeting when a very senior planning person told the group, 'Sorry for the planning language in this, it's more for people like me and Andrew, we'll create something simpler later".
I reacted strongly against being lumped with 'planning language' which really meant needless long words and jargon, very complex charts and slide after slide after slide. That's not planning, that's hiding the fact you haven't done any yet. That's managing to alienate everyone else by implying they're a bit thick, only big brained planners will get this.
Well I'm sorry, if you can't say it concisely, if you can't get folks excited in a few sentences, you haven't thought about it hard enough. And no amount of quotes from Wittgenstein or 'The Social Animal' will mask it.
Just as no amount of reference, wireframing, quotes from Forrester or Mashable, mood films or mac concepting can mask something that is all execution, or even technology and no idea.
We're really lucky that we live an age with lots of choice, over media, technology and making ideas come to life really quickly.
But what hasn't changed is that all that stuff builds on solid thinking and a great idea.
It doesn't make up for flaky thoughts and bad ideas.
As you might have noticed, I'm in midst of the Year of (nearly) not buying stuff. Some of this is to do with saving, lots of it is a need to notice everyday life a little more.
So I was putting together a photobook of my little boy's first two years, and the act of editing and putting together that story made all so vividly real again.
It forcibly reminded me how special it all was. There were no pictures of shopping bags, new clothes or any such things. It was all times spent together, that we barely noticed then. We were too busy looking forward to the next thing, rather than just 'being' and enjoying now.
Which is why I'll edit and play with photobooks more, they remind me to smell the flowers while I can.
On that first two years. Will won't remember any of it. Which is at once said and really great. There will be a point when he doesn't want to be with us much, he'll have his friends, his ideas, his own stuff.
But we'll have our own special time when there was just the three of us. He was all ours, we meant the entire world to him. The fact he won't remember that means we own it. It's our little secret together.
Which reminds me to focus on our one and half year old little girl that little bit more. When there's some bloke (or girl!) she'll replace me with eventually, but I'll remember this time when she was all ours, that for her never even existed. There's little more sad/wonderful than that.