AS brands continue to bombard consumers with sales promos of all shades by the day, CHARLES NNOCHIRI, Category Manager with wines and spirits marketing outfit, Grand Oak Limited, shares his thoughts on the subject and highlights who gains in this interview with BRANDXCHANGE
What Are Sales Promotions?
Sales promotion is supposed to be a marketing activity that stimulates purchase. Now, stimulation is a two-sided thing – stimulation from the point of view of getting the consumers to know more about your products in the short term, medium term or in the long run. But most often, sales promotions are usually short-term based.
I must say the art of sales promotion itself is something that must happen within a business, especially in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). You know, there are times when there are some losses in sales due to seasonal effects, government policies and the like. At that point, every marketer would want to do something to get the consumer interested in their products again. That is when sales promotions come into play.
Consumers’ Gain or Pain?
The most likely thing to assume is that it will be a consumer’s gain because firstly, the consumer wants the product. So it’s a win-win situation on both sides and that’s what a sales promotion is all about. Your ‘reason to believe’ has to be a winning point for your consumers and even yourself when you look at the bottom line because that’s the reason for being in business.
But I also know for certain that some marketers have abused sales promotions to the extent that they have almost turned into a nuisance – especially in open market promotions where you see people, in the name of creating awareness, becoming some sort of environmental nuisance. But I must also say very quickly that in the new regulatory environment we operate in, especially here in Lagos, some of those things have become next to impossible. You can imagine a promotion rig that is supposed to serve a public of 10 to 15 million people being put in an environment where only 200 people are. It becomes a nuisance to those people around there. So if from that point of view you call it a consumer nuisance, to a large extent I would say yes…some level of noise pollution and the like. But overall, consumers usually stand to gain from sales promotions.
Any Benefit for Losers?
Sales promotions come with an element of luck – especially the lottery-style promotions. Most times when there is a star prize in a lottery-style promotion there are usually opportunities for instant wins too. Of course, for the purpose of campaigning we usually end up publicising the big bank prizes such as ‘win a car, win a trip.’ But the truth of the matter is that in-between all that there are a lot of instant wins and consolation prizes. But of course, from a publicity point of view you would highlight the bigger things you are giving out.
Does Losing Affect Brand Loyalty?
The consumer is going into the promo with a clear sight of what he has in his pocket. So he’s not going to say ‘because you said I should win a car, I’ll get a loan or gamble.’ That won’t happen. All we’re just saying is that we know you need this thing. But right now, probably because of exigencies around you, you’re not thinking about us. It’s possible that some consumers might lose interest – especially when they have expended so much in trying to be part of that big win. But you should also understand that promotion is just one aspect. A brand itself has a lot of attributes. You have the physical attribute, which is the immediate functional thing the consumer gets from it. And of course, you have the emotive connect. Now, if there is a disconnection in either of these two, then it’s very likely that because of a promotion gone south, I won’t touch a product again. But if you have a brand that has connected with you on both fronts effectively, I strongly feel the likely thing is that if that sort of promotion comes up again, it will not make you increase your frequency of buying. But if that brand is your brand, I’m sure you’ll still buy your brand.