Archive for the ‘trade promotions’ Category
The product managers running the Orbit chewing gum brand got my attention this week at my favorite coffee shop with their brilliant point-of-sale campaign.
The execution (see photo) was perfect:
- Give me a free piece of gum to try
- Position it on a coffee sleeve so that I cannot miss it.
- Remind me that I have a problem (coffee breath) that I will soon need to fix if I want to circulate in polite society!
Here is why I am impressed:
- It met the classic marketing messaging need to “make ‘em sick, then make ‘em better”. I may not realize that coffee stays on the breath, and they reminded me that I could pose a risk to those with whom I may be speaking shortly. Then they provided the instant solution, for free.
- It gave me an immediate benefit, which led me to feel favorably disposed to Orbit when next confronted with a rack of gum from which to choose.
- It’s uniqueness was “breakthrough”: The gum-on-coffee-sleeve delivery was memorable. I am probably the only
person who actually took a photo of the creative, because I blog about marketing and need material. But the regular consumer will still take away a positive impression of the Orbit brand because of the creativity with which they delivered their benefit message.
- Finally, they structured a campaign that the coffee shop would be happy to support: They get to hand out free gum with little investment on their part, and look good to their customers. The memorable event rubs off on the retailer, too.
Great stuff! Well done. How can you apply this idea to your own marketing?
- Where are your prospects congregating?
- What sort of product do they buy on which you could piggyback your own trial offer?
- How can you make it valuable to your partner, your distribution channel and the consumer?
I would love to hear from an Orbit brand manager whether my own positive reaction was typical, but I would be surprised if they didn’t find the campaign a success!
After checking out at my local Safeway store yesterday, the automated coupon-spitting machine presented me with this coupon.
If I understand it correctly, if I buy a bunch of Kraft Food products on my next visit, I will receive a fresh coupon for up to $10 on my subsequent visit. Here is what I find wrong with this promotion:
- This particular slip of paper is not a coupon, but an announcement of a chance to get a coupon
- I have to take action, not to get a discount, but to get a chance at a discount two store visits from today
- I have to keep this slip, even though it is not a coupon, because it lists the eligible items
- The eligible items are tough to read, as they are printed in microtype
- I have to buy a lot of stuff to get my $10
- I have to buy MORE stuff on a second visit to actually activate the deal and get my dough
TOO MANY HOOPS! A promotion that places a great perceived value on it ($10!!!) then weighs down the response with enthusiasm-sapping hoops and delays. Fulfilling a coupon should not be work for the consumer. (Note: I have ranted about this before.)
I can see the brand manager on this actually stating in his presentation:
“Listen, we can make a splash with a big value like $10, but can count on slippage (consumers starting but not completing the process) to keep the actual price down.”
Such thinking is not consumer-friendly, and can make Kraft look bad (it did so with me.)
I think Kraft would have been better served by picking a lesser value, and making it available on the very next visit.
Do you think as I do, or are multiple hoops OK if the value is big enough? Do you think the typical consumer accounts for that?
Alliances in marketing carry risks. When you work collaboratively, you cede control, and have to trust that your partner will deliver. I received this very day (via e-mail), and excellent example of how a good collaboration can look, from a company with whom I have done business, Play-Well TEKnologies.
Play-Well is a for-profit venture with a social mission of engaging more kids to focus on science, using LEGO® products as both an enticement and their teaching tools. (Full disclosure: My two boys have both participated in more than one Play-Well camp and very much enjoyed it, so this parent is inclined to respond to their messaging!) Their target market is therefore parents of elementary school and middle school kids who have the money to invest in extra-curricular camps, and a desire to give them “productive developmental experiences.”
Swoop Bags is new to me, and a quick check of their site tells me they are new and much smaller than Play-Well, and after the same market (albeit catering to a slightly younger family.) They (actually “she”) have created a solution for controlling mounds of scattered lego pieces.
Play-Well TEKnologies therefore has the chance to offer a companion product that their parent/child customers could really use, and Swoop Bags gets access to a far wider pool of targeted prospects than it could working on its own.
I define this as a nice win for both. And their sweepstakes call-to-action engagement program is fun, easy to interact with (if you remember your log-ins…) and give you the chance to earn more sweeps entries than “the other guy,” a nice competitive twist to keep some of us (probably not me) coming back multiple times to earn more chances.
A well-thought-out program. Well done!
Even with all the lip service given over the last decade to focusing “like a laser” on fostering customer loyalty, consumer packaged goods marketing managers still struggle to generate good outcomes against that goal, for some very basic reasons.
CPG managers are told by the entire marketing industry to get serious about engagement and foster loyalty. The very day I sat down to write this I received a fresh example of this from Aberdeen Research:
“In order to truly offer a positive shopping experience, retailers must get insight into the mindshare of their customers and prospective customers. The shopping experience today goes far beyond simply walking into a store and selecting a product. Customer experience management begins with the use of customer intelligence and insights as a means for enhanced customer engagement. Engaging customers at all points in the shopping journey to better service, provide information, and ease of purchasing, is the key to customer-centricity.”
That said, here is some evidence that whatever CPG managers are trying, customer loyalty for CPG products is proving tough to hang on to.
Marketing “tenets” hold that keeping a customer is 6-10 times cheaper than finding a new one, but that might not be the case when it comes to CPGs. Boiling the challenge down to the essence: The company is not standing in the aisle with the customer at the moment of decision, when the packaging and pricing of their product is just one of a number of competitors on the shelf. Even with a coupon in hand designed to block out the competitive options, the consumer may check pricing, see specials and decide to try something else.
Plus, the CPG manager hardly ever learns who that customer is, and so cannot reach out to him or her on a personalized basis. At what point can the company ask for an opted-in e-mail address? They can promote their social media communities on their packaging, and in their mass marketing, but only a small percentage of the total customers they need will raise their electronic hands and connect.
As a result, it is still far easier for a CPG marketing manager to work on big demand-building projects that involve mass media, direct mail and other such tools than it is to forge connections with each individual buyer of their product. Social media and other community building are a growing part of the mix, but are not yet game-changing, move-the-profit-needle initiatives.
What to do? I wish I had a magic wand on this one, because the answer is “keep at it:”
- Create active online communities
- Explore e-commerce options that could lock-in customers and keep them out of the retail aisle
- Advertise all your community options on your packaging
- Make those communities about the customer in interesting and inspiring ways
- Keep building demand through mass media (targeting to a preferred profile, of course!)
- Get better at working with retailers and gaining access to all their scanned data to improve your profiling
Loyalty is a tougher nut to crack for product peddlers who are not present when consumers make up their minds, but consumers are willing to listen, and the consistent quality of product does make an impression once trial (or re-trial) is induced.
Coupons are a valuable promotional tool, but can be a waste of energy and budget if not used the right way.
And you cannot figure out which way is right unless you understand your motivation in using it, and the recipients’ motivations in responding to it.
Here is a great article with research results that show that companies with less focused strategies do not generate positive results.
Questions to ask:
What sort of customers do you seek to attract? Do your coupons actually attract that profile? Remember, coupon fans are either frugal, bargain hunters, parsimonious or some combination of the three. If that sort of person is not your preferred choice, stop couponing and try something else.
What is your goal? Are you trying to reward loyal customers? Do you seek to generate trial among likely prospects?
Do you keep it simple? The more complex the deal, the harder for the consumer to respond, and the more likely you will only attract the most driven bargain hunter. If that is your audience, fine. If not, simplify!
Measure your results beyond the immediate event. Do the responders spend more than they need to receive the coupon’s benefit? Do they come back after the coupon purchase and buy more without a coupon? If yes, you have probably generated enough business to make the coupon worthwhile. If no, you need to try something else.
Clearly understand your motivations for couponing before pulling the trigger. And structure the offer to make it profitable based on the results you seek.
The nation’s leading fast-food chicken chain, KFC, is up to their public-relation hi-jinx again, offering to upgrade fire hydrants in a handful of cities in exchange for garbing them in promotional material. This follows up on last year’s manhole cover promotion, another great PR generator that didn’t cost much.
PR coups aside, though, KFC has been struggling with lost market share for a while as they try to stay relevant in a world that seems to demand healthier food.
The critical word in that sentence is “seems”. Most of us want to eat more healthily, but are not all that thrilled with the quality of the experience:
Fatty, salty foods still taste a lot better than stuff that is good for us.
What is a marketer to do?
Not what KFC has tried. They overhauled their menu to feature grilled chicken, and generated lots of trial, but lost ground to competitors who were saying nothing about healthier foods. And their franchisees are generating lots of bad publicity by fighting the strategy very publicly.
A comparison to Chick-fil-A is instructive. While KFC struggled to define the competition as fried vs. grilled, Chick-fil-A sent its cows out into our world to relentlessly, entertainingly and simply sell us on the idea of switching from beef to chicken. And they ran these simple ads relentlessly on programming (sports events, for instance) where lots of young, male, fast-food burger-chomping prospects were watching.
Chick-fil-A’s market share has leapt 9% this year while KFC’s was plummeting 6%. Looks like the jury is in on which approach makes more sense.
We all want to eat properly. We just don’t get around to doing it.
KFC’s focus on grilled saw the world as we should be, not as we are, a big mistake for marketers.
On a recent trip to the grocery store, I received one of those annoying “coupons” that isn’t really a coupon at check-out.
The offending offer came courtesy of Bertolli pasta sauce.
Here is the offer structure:
1. Receive this coupon at check-out, after I have done my shopping.
2. On my NEXT trip to the store, buy a bunch of Bertolli sauce. If I buy two or more jars, I get a coupon for $1-3.75 (depending on whether I bought 2, 3, or 4 jars.
3. Come back to the store AGAIN, buy more sauce and finally cash the coupon.
Still with me? This is ridiculous. No consumer offer should ever have more than one hoop to jump through to earn the price discount.
It seems as if the marketing managers at Bertolli were trying to hedge their bets:
-Make a nice offer.
-Limit the financial hit by making it hard to get.
By doing so, they have also minimized the chance that new customers may try their sauce. Read the rest of this entry »