Before we investigate what a great sales promotion is made up of, it is of course important that we ensure we’re all on the same page about what a sales promotion actually entails.

Simply, it is a marketing tool, aimed either at the end consumer or at the distribution channel, used to attract traffic, lift sales or launch a product. Not to be confused with price discounting, sales promotions can employ a number of mechanisms to add excitement and a level of uniqueness to your proposition.

So now we have cleared up any ambiguity, let’s cover the key steps needed to be taken to ensure your sales promotion stands out from the crowd:

Set your objectives

At the inception of your sales promotion, it is vital to ensure you have an end goal in sight. You need to define exactly what you want to achieve and how you plan to use your promotion to help you reach this goal.

Ensure the objectives are clear and concise. Making them overly complicated will result in you inevitably loosing focus, so ask yourself questions such as:

  • Why am I running this promotion?
  • What do we want from the sales promotion?
  • What return do we desire?
  • Can we ensure our costs will be recouped?

Set ‘Key Performance Indicators’ for measurable statistics – such as redemption rates, returning customers, upselling statistics, data capturing and NPS scores – and ensure you measure them before, during and after the promotional period to track performance. If the promotion is not close to achieving your objective during its live period, take the opportunity to investigate what is going wrong and look in to whether you can tweak the promotion to align closer to your objectives.

Work with a sales promotion specialist who can help you pin down your objectives and advise on realistic returns from their database of thousands of past promotions.

Sales Promotions need objectives

Choose your prizes

The prize should reflect your product and brand identity, whether that is to do with luxury, health, sustainability, education, or just being fun! Picking a prize partner with an obvious link can often be the safe bet – for example, sports equipment if you are a health food brand – but don’t be scared to do something a little more fun either, such as a headline prize of an environmentally friendly electric car!

Make the offer something worth having, as well as something worth taking about. Remember, the promotion and its associated prize will be seen as an extension of your brand. If you provide something cutting-edge, ‘cool’, useful or high quality, however, you will soon discover the positive power of secondary word-of-mouth marketing.

You don’t have to break the bank to provide a great prize, in fact make sure you ensure the prize you offer is realistic for your budget – it is ok to offer smaller prizes if you’re a smaller organisation, it’s much better than crippling yourself too soon!


Choose your mechanic

There’s a plethora of mechanics and their intricacies, but they can be mainly grouped in to:

  • Coupons
  • Scratch cards
  • Try Me Free
  • Cashback
  • Instant Win

These mechanisms can then be used tactically, such as with Collector or Loyalty mechanisms being employed – think of McDonalds Monopoly Instant Win codes which can then be collected in to groups to win the larger headline prizes.

The mechanism you choose to kick off the consumers journey should be chosen to fit your demographic, budget, product, and brand values.

Different sales promotion mechanics


Plan your consumer journey

A creative sales promotion team can advise not just on the best mechanism for your promotion, but also how to process the rest of the consumer journey – from advice on how to market your promotion to your audience, to how claims should be made.

From start to end, the consumer journey won’t just affect redemption rates but also your brand reputation so it’s imperative to make sure it runs smoothly with every eventuality considered. Keep the redemption process simple, with as few steps as possible, to demonstrate that your brand values their customers time and effort, and isn’t trying to get out of their promise of a prize!

Timespan on Sales Promotions


Calculate your redemption rates

Each promotion will be different, dependent on your promotional mechanism, product type, industry and marketing routes so it’s important to calculate projected redemption rates each and every time you run a promotion.

If you’ve run a similar promotion in the past, this is a great place to start. If not, get in touch with a specialist agency who have the reams of data, across all factors, to help you narrow down the anticipated take up.

Once the redemption rate is calculated, you can work out the true projected cost of the promotion and whether you can afford for it to be more popular than expected. If you can’t budget to cover all eventualities, don’t put the brakes on just yet – promotional insurance or fixed fee mechanisms are available to fix your costs end to end.

Employee incentives


For more information on how to run a successful promotion, please, take a look at this post.


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