Consumer Sales Promotion: Definition and Purpose

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  • 0:08 Sales Promotion
  • 2:07 Consumers and Sales Promotion
  • 3:01 Objective of Sales Promotion
  • 5:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kelly Roach

Kelly earned her Master of Mass Communication from Arizona State and has taught consumer behavior and communication courses at the undergraduate level.

Manufacturers offer many kinds of incentives to encourage consumers to buy their products once they reach a retailer. Watch this video to learn more about how consumer sales promotion entices customers to buy.

Sales Promotion

Ahh, Valentine's Day - a consumer sales promotion dream. The potential for cross-promotions, limited-time discounts, point-of-purchase displays, and premiums abound.

You may be asking yourself, 'what's the big deal about sales promotion? Does it really work? And what is it, exactly?' In this case, sales promotion is any type of promotional incentive used to encourage immediate sales. In general, sales promotion activities can be targeted toward end consumers or intermediaries, but in this case, we'll just focus on the end consumer.

So, what's the big deal about sales promotion? It turns out that, compared to advertising, marketers spend twice as much on sales promotion, so they must be on to something. Let's look at Valentine's Day to see an example of how sales promotion can be used and why it's so effective.

Grandma Belle always loves to buy valentines for her two grandchildren. She doesn't see them often, so she feels that sending them cards for different holidays helps her grandkids know she's always thinking of them.

As she walks into Inkblot, her local card store, she sees Cupidog, a singing, dancing dog dressed like Cupid, in an adorable point-of-purchase display. She's already loving the dog and thinks her youngest grandchild would go crazy for it. Even better, she looks up to see a sign, '$15.95 with the purchase of three Inkblot cards, regularly $32.95.' Grandma Belle was only planning to buy two cards, but she can't resist Cupidog and decides to get one for her friend Fran to get the discounted Cupidog for her youngest grandchild. Because of sales promotion, not only did Inkblot persuade Grandma Belle to come out of pocket for another card, they roped her in for a $16 stuffed dog using cross-promotion.

Valentine's Day (or any holiday) is great for sales promotion because of its limited-time nature. You may recall that sales promotions are most often used to stimulate short-term increases in sales. Run a discount promotion too long or too often and customers come to expect it all the time.

Consumers and Sales Promotion

The four Ps of marketing and the goals of promotion
Four Marketing Ps Diagram

But, that's not to say sales promotions only work around the holidays. As the lifestyles of consumers in general become more hurried, they spend less and less time going through the consumer decision process. Often, consumers get set in a routine and don't want to venture out and try new products because they don't have time to invest in product search, evaluation, and trial. They're satisfied with their current purchase patterns and don't look beyond their current needs. This is when a sales promotion can wake the consumer up to a new product or revitalize their interest in an existing product. In a way, the sales promotion jumps out and says, 'Hey, try me! Buy me!'

Besides this, there are some sales promotions that consumers simply enjoy participating in. From annual sweepstakes to contests and even coupons, some consumers find discount-hunting and games entertaining and enjoy sales promotions for the amusement almost as much as the discount.

Objectives of Sales Promotion

Of the four Ps of marketing - product, price, promotion, and place - the three goals of promotion are to inform, persuade, and remind consumers of products. Let's look at how sales promotion can be combined with these objectives to produce results.

When Doc's Tomato Sauce came out with a resealable package, they wanted to let consumers know. For ages, consumers had been frustrated when they had to open a can of tomato sauce, use a small amount, then rummage for a container to store the rest. Doc's needed to inform consumers of the new packaging.

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