3 Keys to an Effective Consumer Promotion

When Cliffedge first started in 2001, driving incremental sales through a consumer promotion was pretty straightforward. All you needed was a shelf-talker, an entry pad, a giveaway, a radio buy, and voilà, incremental sales!

Fast-forward to today; however, and things have changed. A lot. The number of touchpoints and purchase options available to consumers has exploded, making the process of engaging your target audience much more complicated.

The good news is, there’s also a lot more opportunity for creative-minded brands.

But before you start brainstorming your next consumer promotion, there are three guiding principles that need to be understood to ensure success:

1. Know your Audience

The first, and arguably most important step, is understanding how to establish relevance with your target audience. The best way to do this is to create a buyer persona, which will give you insight into your audience’s behaviors, interests and motivations. The more detailed you are, the better.

This process can eliminate a lot of guesswork and ensure you get the right message, to the right person, on the right platform. In other words, it will save you time and money.

Keep in mind, your buyer persona can vary between products in your portfolio. For example, consider Lay’s Potato Chips and Doritos Tortilla Chips. Both are snack foods, sold in the same aisle, and owned by the same company: Frito-Lay. However, the end consumer and the messaging needed to engage that end consumer, will likely be different.

2. Use Multiple Points of Engagement

Today’s consumers are able to find, engage, and purchase products anytime, anywhere, on any number of platforms. According to a Harvard Business Review survey, 73% of shoppers use multiple channels during their shopping journey.

Understanding how to engage your audience across these touchpoints, aka Omnichannel, is crucial to your next promotion (and your brand). That’s why creating a buyer persona can be a big help.

To illustrate, let’s turn to Doritos again as an example. Let’s pretend their target shopper is male, 18-25 years of age, physically active, and who enjoys playing video games. Based on this limited information, we can reasonably infer the following insights:

  • He will be more active on younger-skewing social platforms like Snapchat or Tik Tok
  • A video game console would be a very enticing prize to use as a giveaway
  • He’ll make multiple shopping trips each week for things like frozen pizza, snacks, beer, etc.

Using these simple insights alone, you have the makings of an effective campaign. You know where to promote, what will capture his attention, and potential co-marketing partners to align with.

Regardless of the tactics, what’s important is to ensure a quality user experience at all points of engagement. Since CPG brands have a relatively low price point, there are usually fewer touchpoints needed to make a positive impact.

3. The Red Thread

Simply put, this metaphor we often use at Cliffedge means, “follow a theme.” The underlying idea is that no matter how many touchpoints there are, you’re using a central message or theme to funnel consumers to a specific action.

Think of it like giving someone directions to your house (pre-Google maps). You need to get that person from point A to point B with clear, concise instructions.

As it relates to your next promotion, there are 3 phases of a campaign that need continuity:

  • Awareness: Make your audience aware of the promotion, including how, when, and where they can participate.
  • Call-to-Action: Incentivize consumer action with a relevant, thematic offer or call-to-action.
  • Retargeting: Reward participants with a follow up message or special offer post-engagement (i.e. 50% off your next order).

With so many new and unique ways to engage consumers, it’s a fun time to be in retail! But because it’s such a complicated ecosystem, take a strategy-first approach. But don’t get overwhelmed; put yourself in the mind of your target buyer and ask: what would motivate you?

If you need some help building your next consumer promotion, our Consulting Program might be a good fit for your business.

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